Using Artificial Intelligence to make music

An illustration of AI in music. [iStockphoto]

Viral AI-generated sounds that mimic popular artistes raised alarm in the music industry last year.

There were audios of some of the biggest stars singing or rapping along to other artistes’ lyrics. Although it was humorous to fans at first, the issue raised concerns with time.

The celebrated rapper Drake said that it was the last straw when his voice was used to rap along to Ice Spice’s track Munch, while Universal Music Group acted fast by pulling down the AI-generated song from streaming services.

Although there has been skepticism and caution when it comes to the use of AI in music, the business has slowly begun to warm up to it.

Perhaps, like many technological developments that were once alien to consumers, such as the invention of electricity, televisions and the internet; AI may become a key tool for us and our future generations.

Forbes Magazine reports on how AI is changing the music scene and what we can expect in the future- from songwriting tools to creation and synthesizing of beats and sounds, the options range.

“AI spans all aspects of the industry. From the way music is created and produced to the way it is consumed and experienced, AI-powered tools are helping musicians to write, record, and mix music more efficiently and creatively. AI is also being used to personalize the music listening experience for fans and to discover new artists and genres.”

Billboard reports that not all AI in music is ‘fake Drake’, and that there are various ways AI tools can be used in the industry.

“Not every use-case of the emerging technology involves generating computer-made songs or voices instantaneously. While some applications of AI certainly present urgent legal and ethical concerns, many applications give musicians and rights holders new creative opportunities from the way it’s created to how it’s released and beyond.”

Billboard’s report lists various ways AI will revolutionize the music business, going from transforming production, to aiding in songwriting, among other benefits.

Google recently released a report on ways their cutting-edge AI chatbot, Gemini (formerly Bard) can aid musicians, especially aspiring ones in their creative journey.

The report lists networking, finding inspiration, branding, understanding the music business and coming up with video concepts as some of the ways creatives can use the tool.

According to Google, the tool can be an ally in connecting with the right people for an artiste’s journey.

“In vibrant music communities like the ones in Lagos, Johannesburg and Nairobi, it's not just about who you know, but how you connect. Instead of just attending events, let's get strategic. Ask, ‘How do I initiate meaningful conversations with music producers online?’ or ‘Help me write an application essay for an artist mentorship program.’"

The press statement adds that the AI chatbot can be used as a ‘brainstorming partner’ to rekindle the creative spark for artistes.

“[It] can reignite your inspiration.  ‘Suggest lyrical rhymes for a song with an empowering theme.’ Need to broaden your sonic palette?  ‘I'm feeling musically adventurous! Suggest some unusual traditional African instruments I could play around with.’

Further, Gemini can be used to decode the music business by breaking it down into easy-to-understand concepts, per the report.

As machine learning continues to grow and broaden, we can use it in our day-to-day lives- but for the music industry , AI technology has been a game-changer.

Time Magazine reported that although there have been concerns about the way AI has stormed the music industry, advocates argue that these advancements will further the democratization of music, allowing anyone with an idea to create music from their bedroom.

“The push-and-pull between protecting artists, forging innovations, and determining the complementary roles for man and machine in music creation will be explored for years to come.”


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