Artificial Intelligence: Why AI Might Be the Next Big Thing in Music
Thanks to new technology, you could soon become a song producer without any training.
An artificial intelligence (AI) system from Google can generate music in any genre, given a text description. Google isn’t yet releasing the software, but experts say it’s a sign of things to come.
“AI streamlines and could steamroll the creation of songs by handling songwriting (lyrics/melody) and its simultaneous recording, revolutionizing the publishing and recording industries through a simple yet creative prompt,” musician and AI expert Martin Clancy told Lifewire in an email interview.
Google’s software, called MusicLM, was trained on a dataset of 280,000 hours of music to learn to generate songs from descriptions. Researchers wrote about the new software in a recently published paper and acknowledged growing concerns around creativity and AI.
“We acknowledge the risk of potential misappropriation of creative content associated to the use case,” the authors of the paper wrote. “We strongly emphasize the need for more future work in tackling these risks associated to music generation.”
Clancy said that MusicLM has the potential to revolutionize song creation. “Imagine being able to select your preferred genre, adjust for your music skill level and even tailor the music to specify physical settings,” he said. “The added capability of using human humming or whistle prompts and timber settings is intriguing. These are all parameters within Google MusicLM.”
Mansoor Rahimat Khan, the CEO of Beatoven.ai, an AI-powered music startup, said in an email interview that AI can help people generate musical ideas.
“An artist is limited by their own creativity,” he added. “With the use of AI, they will be able to go beyond their imagination and integrate AI-generated music as part of their compositions and song creation process.”
Quote: There will still be plenty of music where people really want to connect with an artist who has a distinct musical personality…
But Khan said that AI has the potential to dumb down music. “Many more people will become song creators as the barrier to becoming a music creator will be diminished with simplified music-making tools that do not require deep in-depth knowledge of music theory and music production,” he added. “The positive outcome of this would be it may increase the music market size, but the negative outcome may be the amount of effort that goes into developing and mastering the skill of music composition, and production may lose its value.”
The musician known as SPLY85, a DJ and AI enthusiast, pointed out in an email interview that using AI for song creation is time-consuming. SPLY85 said that with most AI software, it is more complicated than telling a computer to make a hit song.
“I have learned that creating music with neural networks requires a strong understanding of both music theory and programming,” SPLY85 said. “One must have a deep understanding of how music works in order to create effective neural networks and train them effectively. Additionally, one must have a solid background in programming to implement these neural networks and make them work in a music production environment.”
Emilio Guarino, a music producer who uses AI for music in his work, said in an email that he’s often startled by the songs that the software outputs. “I’ll play a bit to give it some audio information to mutate, and what it gives back is always surprising, not unlike improvising with a real person,” he said. “You don’t know what’s going to happen, and you just have to react in the moment. So one legitimate way AI can enhance creativity is by providing some novel stimulus to work with and develop.”
However, Guarino and others said they don’t foresee AI completely replacing humans in the musical process.
“There will certainly be AI making some kind of music for playlists, but I think that will mostly be ‘wallpaper music’ that people put on in the background,” Guarino said. “They’re not super connected to it; it’s basically there to accompany some other activity. But there will still be plenty of music where people really want to connect with an artist who has a distinct musical personality and a point of view, not a black box that generates vibe music.”
Author: Sascha Brodsky from Livewire