ai music is putting pressure on musicians

AI is Now Writing Songs “by” Long-Dead Artists and Damn They are Good

4 min read

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AI music: The topic of artificial intelligence (AI) has well and truly infiltrated our day-to-day lives as fascinated humans explore how new tools can amplify our existence. This curiosity in AI goes back to antiquity, when humans dreamed up robotic creatures in ancient stories.

Discussions of AI are not new, but you’d be stumped to find any real use cases examples in the last few years where everyday people can find a practical use case. Fast forward to 2022 and the emergence of AI Art and instant AI chatbots have caused a stir across the world.

Some argue that the merging of AI and creative art isn’t art. Other more in-favour proponents believe that AI has simply become a tool to create even more epic art than we’ve ever had before.

Beyond the digital palettes of Midjourney and DALL-E, we’re seeing a new trend emerging in AI creations: in the music industry. And what AI is being used for is particularly fascinating. So let’s take a look at what it can do.

DIY music creation

AI is now capable of writing songs for us — anything from electronic dance music (EDM) to hard rock to country.

The AI music throws out some questions, however. If AI music becomes a superior product, will humans even need musical skills? Will we stop learning to play instruments? Will AI do it instead?

Bot music is here!

Back from the dead

In a more unsettling evolution of AI music, bots can also create “new” songs “by” long-dead artists.
Kurt Cobain died in 1994. However, this hasn’t stopped his “new songs” from emerging. An AI was fed Cobain’s back catalogue and then asked to produce a new song based on the existing materials. You can hear the new song on YouTube here.

There are others in the collection, which is named the “Lost Tapes of the 27 Club.” Tragically, club members all died at age 27. The collective also included Jimi Hendrix, Amy Winehouse, and Jim Morrison.

These “new” tunes were manufactured using Magenta, a free Google AI program.

Sony recently used the same software to create a “new” song “by” the Beatles.

It can feel quite haunting to listen to these samples by artists who have passed on. Is there an ethical line that has been crossed here? Or is this new music a way for fans to remember their favourite artist?

Futuristic music bots love classical music too

Don’t worry, AI doesn’t just love EDM. AI-generated music also comes in classical versions. AIVA is an AI that writes brand new classical songs, based on previous machine-learned data after being fed other classical music. Many people feel that the AI versions are stunning and uplifting songs. Others feel that they are too highly polished and lack a human element.

Machine-forced collabs

There are now bots that can be asked to manufacture a collaboration between two different artists. In an interesting experiment, a creator called Louyah input the back catalogues from The Kid Laroi and Post Malone. He then asked the AI to make a song that would sound like a project they both worked on.

Louyah said, “This is insane, I don’t know who’s onto this technology, but we are onto something.”

The song above is catchy, and many commenters feel that it is hard to resist its charms. Some might say that the AI version is better than any collab that these two artists could have made in real life. It’s hard not to wonder what The Kid Laroi and Post Malone would think of it.

AI music: Taking video jobs too?

AI can now also make a video clip to go with AI-generated songs. A good reference is a creator called DoodleChaos. They asked an AI to make a music video for a song called Rezonate by a band called Canvas.

The end result is clearly worth watching. The idea that an AI could produce work of this calibre is mind-blowing.

In another example, South African duo Die Antwoord recently released their latest music video, Age of Illusion, created using AI.

While this kind of AI-generated video art is in its infancy, it poses the question: Will AI eventually be able to generate whole movies? The answer must surely be yes.

AI music: Will humans be out of a job?

While the AI music and videos here are generated by AI, humans are still needed to input the original ideas. So while bot music is a thing of beauty, it is still just a tool, rather than an artist in its own right. But who knows what happens when these bots turn sentient? What if they turn on us and force us to listen to country music all day?

Either way, there’s no going back.