Will Artificial Intelligence change the future of music?

January 9, 2018
Will Artificial Intelligence change the future of music?

With the latest software and programs that use artificial intelligence, musicians could also compose computers. Will original artists become superfluous in the future? Answers from music experts.

In August of this year, YouTube star Taryn Southern celebrated the commercial launch of their debut album “I AM AI”, which they produced using artificial intelligence (AI) software for artificial intelligence. She used a program called “Amper,” open source software for composers and music producers.

In a creative process that processes the information fed into the computer – the length of the song, the tempo, and the key, Southern lets the software produce and produce the composition. Then she arranges different parts of the piece again, to finally create the finished structured song. Their debut was therefore celebrated as the “first album produced entirely with Artificial Intelligence”.

Source: Original article in German by George Sims “Verändert Künstliche Intelligenz die Zukunft der Musik?” published in DW (Deutsche Welle)

Revolutionary technology?

As exciting as it sounds, some composing experts with algorithms are anything but impressed. “People have been experimenting with computer-generated music before, basically since the ‘push button’ came out – and that was in 1956,” says Dr. Nick Collins, author of a number of books on this innovative genre of music. He co-founded “Chorch Punch,” an independent label that publishes algorithm-based music. “I AM AI” is thus “not the first AI album”, the music expert points out.


Brian Eno: He was one of the first to compose with the computer

The sound artist and musician Brian Eno, who created the term “computer-generated music”, has been working with algorithms and artificial intelligence technology since the 1990s. And very successful. But although Eno has already composed and produced a number of albums using these AI programs and a special application (scape) for this “ambient music”: the technology behind the open source software “Amper” is a different one. Part of this new wave of AI music compositions and productions on the market are startups such as “Jukedeck”, “Groov.Al” and “Humtap”. “Amper” is an on-demand program that provides inexpensive royalty free songs for everyone – from producers of music video clips to advertisers for online marketing.

Concern for creative exploitation

Like many technological revolutions, artificial intelligence is also afraid of troublesome technical innovations, repetition and piracy within every industry that comes in contact with it. For independent composers and music producers working with their original music, it seems that an app can reproduce their work as artists and musicians for less money and in much less time.


In the future, computers with artificial intelligence could also compose

John Groves, CEO of “Groves Sound Communications” and an international heavyweight in application-oriented music for advertising, is not worried about AI applications: “This will creep into the music industry like any other computer technology innovation,” he says. “But we are coping well with that when we realize that the creative possibilities that are opening up offset the negative effects.”

Writer Collins recalls the widespread fear of new technologies in the music industry: “It seems to me like the protests of the music and composer union in the 1980s that protested against the use of MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) computers “, he notes. “But look at all the creative possibilities that are musically grown from this technology.” (Pink Floyd, power station, etc., editor’s note)

Valerio Velardo, CEO of “Melodrive”, a startup company pioneering computer game music, even claims that we are virtually on the eve of the next wave of democratization within the creative industry. “Nowadays, almost everyone has a first-class digital camera in their smartphone, but that does not mean that the top professional photographers have disappeared,” he says. “It’s the same with Artificial Intelligence (AI), and I doubt that the composer’s role will be harmed by this new technology.”

“Music has its own problems,” says musicologist Steven Jan from Huddersfield University in a DW interview. “It’s one of the cognitively, mechanically and emotionally most demanding activities of humanity that makes it extremely difficult for a computer to do”

Highly creative Computers

“We are still at the stage of explorative creativity,” says Velardo of “Melodrive”. He points out that AI systems are capable of learning and able to function within the confines of a conceptual space. This could ultimately imitate any style of music. But transformable creativity or the ability to create new musical styles technically without conceptual boundaries, that is obviously still far off, says Velardo and calls this the “holy grail of computer creativity”.

Have now achieved cult status: The German band “Kraftwerk”, here 2017 at a concert What impact will the further development of AI have on the music industry? The CEO of the company “Amper”, with which also YouTube star Taryn Southern composes, recommends “lower the bar”, in order to develop further creative visions. But will that lead to more prefabricated music? The specialist in algorithms, Nick Collins, does not see it that way. Rather, he points out that there are “enough different programmers on different projects” to develop this diverse work environment.

But will artists eventually become superfluous? Pascal Pilon, CEO of startup company Landr, which uses big data and automatic learning machines for final music production, does not think that will happen. “Music is also storytelling, and we value the personality of an artist, and I do not think people want to listen to music produced exclusively by a computer.”

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