Entertainment and Media Guide to AI

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AI-generated music and sound-alikes: Shaping the future of the music industry

Advancements in AI are set to revolutionize many industries, and the world of music is no exception. Already, artists are using the technology to augment their writing processes and experiment with unconventional melodies, harmonies and rhythms. For example, French musician and composer SKYGGE, worked with Sony CSL’s Flow Machines AI program on his album Hello World. Flow Machines generated musical patterns that SKYGGE then incorporated into his compositions. Similarly, the American band YACHT used Colab Notebooks – specifically, the MusicVAE model from Google’s Magenta – to co-write and produce songs for their album “Chain Tripping.” The software responded to the band’s musical inputs, providing suggestions and improvisations that influenced the songwriting process.

These examples demonstrate how artists can use AI as a creative tool, leveraging its capabilities to inspire and enhance their songwriting process. The technology can also be used by those without musical experience or recording equipment, making it easier for everyone to explore their creativity through music. In a recent statement regarding AI, Peter Gabriel, an artist and original member of Genesis, commented:

“There are amazing creative possibilities opening up with AI that are really exciting and transformative. I felt the same sort of buzz when computers came into music, giving us samplers and rhythm machines, which, in turn, opened up new worlds of music making.”

As AI-generated music and sound-alikes become more prevalent, collaboration between musicians and AI systems will likely become the norm.

However, many artists are far less optimistic about the future involvement of AI systems in music creation. For example, in a May 2023 interview with the BBC, musician Sting commented:

“The building blocks of music belong to us, to human beings. That’s going to be a battle we all have to fight in the next couple of years: defending our human capital against AI.”

Setting aside the artistic arguments in favor of using AI systems, the recent advancements in the quality of these systems have sparked interest at the highest levels of the music industry, in particular, the accessibility of user-friendly AI apps and services for everyday users. A prime example is “Heart On My Sleeve” by Ghostwriter, an AI-generated track that featured vocals bearing an uncanny resemblance to Drake and The Weeknd. While concerns surrounding AI have likely been on the radar of major labels for some time, the level of success and engagement achieved by an AI-generated song took everyone by surprise.

AI music generation also seems likely to challenge traditional business models in the music industry. AI can accelerate the process of creating and releasing a song – some AI models can generate a song at the touch of a single button. This means that there may soon be a significant number of new AI-generated songs on the market. With the rising quality of AI-generated music, these songs may soon flood our playlists too. This could present a challenge for music labels and publishers, as it could accelerate market share loss.

Key takeaways
  • As AI-generated music and sound-alikes become more prevalent, collaboration between musicians and AI systems will likely become the norm
  • AI music generation is likely to challenge traditional business models in the music industry – the combination of quality, access and user appetite for AI-generated music will force labels to form a strategy to protect their investments
  • As AI continues to evolve, the music industry will need to develop structures that allow for innovation while respecting the rights and contributions of artists