Recently, Ozzy Osbourne clarified his stance on potentially releasing songs that employ artificial intelligence (AI) to replicate Randy Rhoads’ playing, stating that he is not concerned about the introduction of AI and its effects on the music industry. Even while the full effects of artificial intelligence’s growing ubiquity have not yet been fully understood, it is already evident that the technology will completely change the music industry. As the last Beatles song to be released, “Now and Then” was a major turning point in that journey.
Paul McCartney revised the song, drawing inspiration from an old tape of John Lennon, whose voice was saved from “a ropey little bit of cassette” using artificial intelligence.
During a recent episode of the “Osbournes” podcast featuring Sharon and Jack Osbourne, as well as The Prince of Darkness himself, Ozzy commented on the idea of doing something similar with unreleased Randy Rhoads material (transcribed by Blabbermouth):
“I haven’t considered it yet, but as far as me doing something like what the remaining Beatles did with the John Lennon thing… that was a partial song and they cleaned the track up. I don’t think I have anything left of Randy Rhoads.”
Asked by Jack if he’d instead be open to doing a song where AI is tasked to come up with guitar parts based on Rhoads’ existing recordings, Ozzy said:
“Well, you know what? I’m open for anything, if it was good quality. ‘Cause, let’s face it, that Beatles thing, ‘Now And Then’, wasn’t a Beatles song; it was a John Lennon song.”
“The thing with AI, you can go, ‘Make me a new album.’ … But that’s the future. The music scene’s gonna be completely different.”
Asked if that sense of impending radical changes is making him nervous, Ozzy simply said: “No.” Later on, he added:
“The cat’s out of the bag. You can’t undo it. The danger is people will misuse it. Because I’ll get like a formula for a song and I’ll put that formula in and I’ll keep on doing that.”
Circling back to “Now and Then”, Ozzy said the song was “great”, adding:
“When I first heard it, I thought, ‘What the fuck is this?’ But then I heard it again and again. I have to listen to it every day now. But the only thing about that, it made me want more. It made me go, ‘Oh, fuck.’ And what it’s done, it’s rehashed all the old Lennon stuff, The Beatles stuff.”