In my last post, I started the investigation into artificial intelligence by taking a look at how the art industry is being changed by advances in AI and machine learning technologies. Today, we’re going to dig a little deeper into AI’s impact on the creative arts by seeing how it relates to music.
You’re probably already familiar with machine learning when it comes to music, even if you don’t know it. Spotify uses it to power their recommendations in the same way that Netflix uses it to suggest movies that you might like. But classifying music and making recommendations is nothing when compared to what AI itself is capable of.
It turns out that AI is already being used by Google to create algorithms that can generate melodies and even entirely new instrument sounds with no human supervision. Sony’s Computer Science Laboratories have trained an algorithm with 13,000 melodies from different genres and then used that input to create “a new Beatles song”.
Rest assured, though, that artificial intelligence isn’t coming to take jobs from our hardworking rock stars. In fact, the goal is to use AI and human creativity in tandem to create a whole that’s greater than the sum of its parts. An example of this would be a machine learning algorithm getting to know the quirks of an individual composer and creating the “blueprint” for a song that the composer can later fine-tune and put their own spin on.
No one is going to go to a concert for an algorithm or hold their lighters in the air for a section of code. We’ll always need musicians because, as human beings, we relate to music on a fundamental level. That said, there’s plenty of demand for specific types of music that artificial intelligence and machine learning could help us to cater to.
For example, one single algorithm could create enough unique, royalty free music for every YouTuber on the planet to use a different piece of background music in each of their videos without any repeats. When it comes to gaming, machine learning algorithms could generate dynamic background sound and background music that changes depending upon the gameplay and the person who’s playing it for a truly immersive experience.
The future is now
You might be asking yourself what the point of all this is. The fact is that many of these technologies are already here, and people are already using tools like Jukedeck and AI Music to create, modify and discover new music.
Many musicians feel threatened by the incoming wave of new AI technologies, but they shouldn’t. As long as teenagers are playing guitars in bedrooms or jamming on drum kits out in the garage, there’ll be a place for musicians in our society. Instead of looking at AI as a threat, we should look at it as an opportunity and find new ways to use it. It’s all about harnessing new technologies instead of trying to fight them.
Thanks as always for reading and be sure to leave a comment to let us know your thoughts on AI in the music industry. Come back soon to learn how AI is disrupting other creative industries including movies, literature and more.