AI Generated Music – The Beginning of the End?
Back in July when MidJourney dropped their text to image-based AI model, music producers around the world jumped at the opportunity to use this incredible new technology. There was an increase in AI-generated art being used on album covers much to the dismay of actual artists.
These artists make a living from their talents and would have traditionally been paid for these services. Now with the art industry’s future up in the air. It was only a matter of time before other industries would succumb to this technological advancement.
Fast forward to today and we have new artificial intelligence on the horizon. This time it’s the music industry that will be merging with our robot overlords. With AI services like Boomy that boast you can make AI-Generated Music in seconds with zero experience. They also offer options to upload and monetize your “creations”.
Needless to say, that notion rubs many people the wrong way. More so to the people who dedicated countless hours to their craft. Then just to have someone think it’s as simple as a text prompt. That being said the results yielded by Boomy’s AI aren’t game-changing by any stretch of the imagination. However, this service could be useful offering up unique samples producers could take full advantage of.
You can be anyone
An alternative AI model producers have been utilizing is UberDuck which can synthesize famous artists’ vocals through a text-to-speech prompt. This offers different styles and cadences to choose from. This technology is still in its infancy but the speed at which it’s accelerating is both amazing and alarming.
Famous voices can also be simulated without the use text to speech prompts. This was demonstrated in Roberto Nickson‘s video where he raps a verse and uses a publicly available AI model. This in turn transformed his voice into Kanye West’s. The lyrics he chose to write are in poor taste referencing Kanye’s deceased mother, but the results the AI produces are impressive.
Production YouTube channels have been using AI to create a song from scratch such as Eliminate and Bishu. Utilizing Open AI’s ChatGPT which is an AI assistant that offers clear instructions on any query you ask it.
They asked for ideas like chord progressions, lyrics, and sound selection for instruments. They were able to make a full track with the assistance of AI from start to finish. A very entertaining concept for a video but also an interesting idea in practical use. This could potentially help any new producer learn their DAW and VSTs at their own pace and with ease by asking questions.
There is an ethical question to ask here what is the moral standing on using someone’s vocal likeness without their permission? Impressions have been common practice for a long time but this is something completely different. The AI is trained on copyrighted audio files of an artist’s performance so the output is what it interpreted through this learning. Could our voice and cadence fall under copyright law in the future as a result of this technology being exploited?
Where are we heading with AI Generated Music?
Anyone can speculate on what the future holds but nothing is ever set in stone and life is rapidly evolving with innovations and advancements. These advancements are happening every day at an alarming rate. It’s safe to say AI could be a benefit to musicians in many ways. For example, they could replace sample packs completely.
Imagine for a moment, you open your DAW and have a text-to-audio prompt. You could then ask it for a sound and it generates some unique samples. Music producers would be happy to have an infinite sample bank, After all, this would be exactly what they want. Free unlimited samples, but at the same time this would destroy an industry a lot of artists and companies use to feed their selves.
On the chopping block
Sample pack companies aren’t the only ones potentially on the chopping block, ordinary people such as musicians and vocalists are. Those who make a living recording for producers will potentially find less work and this technology could deliver the same as what they can do, only on the fly. This would eliminate the need for the producers to reach use networks they usually would for these collaborations.
Another potential change that could happen is to pitch correction and autotune. These effects have been a staple in the industry for a long time. but imagine being able to sing into your microphone and AI not only corrects the pitch but changes your voice completely with organic-sounding results.
Singers could also potentially sign over the rights to their voice and have anyone come in do a verse instead. The music industry can be unethical sometimes. That being said, It wouldn’t be a surprise if deceased artists release music with this technology after passing away. A bizarre concept but not an unrealistic one. After all, in recent years we’ve seen Tupac and Michael Jackson resurrected in holographic form.
You might not like where AI Generated Music is heading but it’s here and growing fast. As a producer, you can either adapt to the technology and find creative ways to embrace it or be a traditionalist. We can see the value in this technology and welcomes anything that can offer free and unique creative tools for musicians. But we also see the harm this could cause the entertainment industry.
As a whole, it’s about to shift towards AI models that could eliminate a lot of jobs and freelance work. Less work is never a good thing. We can only hope it creates new opportunities as it grows and takes over everyday life.
Whether you are a beginner producer looking to start out or a seasoned vet, This is an uncertain time. Only time will tell what the future holds, but right now, we’re on the fence, excited, but at the same time, optimistic.