Emerging in Music: The Future of AI in our Headphones 

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As artificial intelligence showcases itself in various industries, it has garnered success and general public appreciation. However, as AI trailblazes its way into the music industry, appreciation seems to wane and become replaced with uncertainty. 

Before we delve into the details of artificial intelligence in music, let’s go over what artificial intelligence is. Artificial Intelligence is a technology that utilizes machine learning algorithms to mimic human neural networks and problem-solve by recognizing patterns in data. Musically, this data can include chords, tracks, and past lyrics. Through a music lens, artificial intelligence grants the ability to generate music based on data from past musical compositions.

There are some positives to these developments. Christopher Wares, Assistant Chair of Music Business/Management at Berklee College of Music, expresses that despite the debate, he encourages students to embrace the new technology to enhance their pieces. AI can assist in the song-creation process by performing mixing or mastering, writing lyrics, or manipulating voices and sounds. AI can use synthesized data to generate variations of a melody or lyric, which could take a songwriter hours to accomplish. Essentially, it can decrease the time spent on songwriting and increase the creative options.

Let’s highlight some examples. BandLab SongStarter is an AI application that generates lyrics based on a user’s choice of genre and a few starting lyrics. It serves its purpose as a tool for inspiration. AIVA is an application that has analyzed data from around 30,000 music scores. Users can initiate the machine learning process after selecting the style, genre, key, and other details and watching the program compose a track. Izotope’s AI Assistants is an application that develops effects and provides suggestions for reverbing, mixing, and mastering based on user preferences.

Contrary to these progressive developments, when we delve into the legal waters of AI in music, it becomes a bit murky. The US Copyright Office initiated a project to develop copyright laws that accommodate the new technological advancements in the music industry, bringing questions regarding the level of regulation– the amount that artists should be credited for work created using artificial intelligence technologies and what legal measures to take after using AI to copy music. Beyond the legal grey area, this development, like any other industry, threatens to take over human musicians or recording technician jobs, potentially moving the human creative process into algorithms.

Some corporations, however, have taken some form of action. For example, the Universal Music Group advocated blocking AI-generated music from streaming services. In response, Spotify removed around seven percent of the AI-generated music present on its platform.

Artificial intelligence can be used as a tool to boost the creative process for musicians, but it can only be officially accepted after legal boundaries prevent the inevitable yet malicious copywriting issues that may arise.

Works Cited

“AI-Generated Music: 12 AI Music Generators to Know.” Built In, builtin.com/artificial-intelligence/ai-music-examples. Accessed 02 Jan. 2024.

“AI Music: What Musicians Need to Know.” Berklee Online Take Note, 21 Aug. 2023, online.berklee.edu/takenote/ai-music-what-musicians-need-to-know/. Accessed 02 Jan. 2024.

“The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on the Music Industry.” Musicians Institute, 30 May 2023, www.mi.edu/in-the-know/ai-music-production-enhancing-human-creativity-replacing/. Accessed 02 Jan. 2024.