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AI -Music

26. May 2023, MAXFIVE

"Heart on my sleeve" is the title of the song that has caused an uproar in the music world. The producers of the short-term hit actually did put their proverbial "Heart on their sleeve" using the AI-generated voices of megastars Drake and The Weeknd: The song was labelled as AI music and promptly removed from many streaming platforms. What does this incident mean for the music industry?

Thema:

künstliche Intelligenz
MAXFIVE HEAR
Musikindustrie
Zukunft

Artificial intelligence (AI) has entered many areas of our lives in a very short time – the music industry is no exception. ChatGPT (Chatbot Generative Pre-trained Transformer) is increasingly being used to create song lyrics. There is a stream of so-called “prompts” on the web, which are meant to help to create the next hit with the help of AI. This rapid development of artificial intelligence offers opportunities for record studios and music publishers that may become attractive for the daily business.

Useful assistants in the daily production routine

Music LM, Riffusion, Musenet … new AI tools for music production appear on the web every day, seemingly accomplishing all challenges from the songwriting to the final mastering. AI can help music producers improving the sound quality of their recordings or automatically remix existing songs. It can also filter out noise or improve the sound balance of tracks with just a few clicks. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

Especially when it comes to background music for commercials, series and similar formats, artificial intelligence delivers increasingly good results. This can not only help save time – the costs for expensive equipment could also be significantly reduced in the future.

Here to stay!

The multitude of possibilities that AI software offers for the music industry also fascinates Michael Rauch, Head of Sound Branding at MAXFIVE: “The topic is certainly here to stay – but in which way is still difficult to predict. We will keep a close eye on the progress and evaluate which tools are useful for the professional audio and music production sector. What surprises me is the speed of development that is being showcased – it’s amazing.”

Risks for creatives

That the current progress of new software solutions is actually still baby steps into a new future is also predicted by the unknown producers of “Heart on my sleeve”, who call themselves “Ghostwriter”. In a comment on YouTube, Ghostwriter promised: “This is just the beginning”.

A beginning, however, that also holds risks – first and foremost for the artists, who on the one hand can be “credited” with artificially generated songs, while on the other hand their basis of existence is endangered. If a computer is able to produce authentic-sounding music, there is less need for the services of musicians and songwriters who may not play in the same league as Drake and The Weeknd, but who still make an important contribution to the music industry.

Another problem is the tendency towards “fast-food music”. AI systems, at least currently, tend to focus on existing music styles and patterns. If music was to be created exclusively or for the most part by AI systems, chances are high that the industry would be deprived of any creativity and further development in the future and that all of us soon would be bombarded by an artificial “one-size-fits-all” sound that would only make us dream of good old elevator music.

The legal grey area of AI

Whether AI music remains harmless fun or revolutionizes the industry will ultimately also depend on how the new trend is restricted – or not. Courts and legislators are only at the beginning when it comes to property issues and copyrights. So far, protected intellectual property can only be created by humans – but what happens when musicians collaborate with machines?

 

This is a question that Tanja Tiefenböck, Head of Music Publishing at MAXFIVE, is also raising: “It’s really important that the legal components are clarified so that artists continue to be paid fairly in the future!

Despite all the gold-rush mood regarding AI, future developments will probably have to be critically questioned.” This indeed seems to be the only way to ensure that AI systems will ultimately contribute to supporting – and not replacing – the work of musicians and songwriters.

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