How Musicians Incorporate Artificial Intelligence into Their Songs

It seems as though we are hearing new stories nearly every day about how artificial intelligence use is growing and having a greater impact on our daily lives. In some instances, these changes are obvious; in others, the ways AI is impacting our lives can be subtle.

Take music, for example. Unbeknownst to many of us, the use of artificial intelligence in the music industry has grown at an exponential rate. Its use covers nearly every aspect of the music-making process to some degree.

Although many “purist” musicians claim that the use of artificial intelligence is cheating, many compare it to the introduction of the synthesizer, which became a regular and accepted part of the musical process over the years. The fact of the matter is that technology is here to stay in some form or another. The key to success is to understand how it can impact your music.

 

Growth of Artificial Intelligence

The music industry is not the only industry that has been impacted by artificial intelligence technology. In fact, artificial intelligence has made marks in numerous industries including healthcare, cybersecurity, and manufacturing. It is already a standard tool in the realm of business and marketing.

As technology continues to play a greater role in our lives, a number of major companies are scrambling to acquire private artificial intelligence businesses in order to further develop the technology to their uses. Some of these major companies include players such as Google, IBM, and Apple. It is likely that in the coming years we will see new AI developments that were previously unimaginable.

Although many people fear the rise of AI and having computers take over our lives, the technology provides a substantial benefit in most instances. These systems that are built on predictive machine learning techniques — one of the most transformative technologies in business today — that are able to quickly identify patterns that slow business or health response down. We have been able to use many of these results to rethink how certain operations take place. This can open up new opportunities for further innovation.

 

Audio Improvements

When it comes to music, perhaps the least threatening way in which artificial intelligence is playing a role is through finalization of music. Primarily, this is happening in the audio smoothing or mastering aspects of song production. Artificial intelligence is being developed to understand the cues that smoothing professionals are looking for and remove them without human interaction.

Traditionally, audio mastering takes place in a room with specialized acoustics that can help a person to hear flaws in things such as sound balance or spectral range. It is essentially quality control that helps to catch issues and improve the playback on any device that a song might be heard on. AI can be incorporated into the mastering process to remove much of the work and human error that goes into mastering an entire album to improve flow across tracks.

The use of AI for mastering has become particularly popular among newer, less established artists that are trying to get off the ground. Part of the reason it has gained so much traction is because AI mastering is quality without much expense. For instance, some AI-based mastering companies offer monthly rates that are the equivalent of $9 for four tracks.

 

Songwriting and Development

The most controversial aspects of the use of artificial intelligence in music arrive when artists use it to help develop new songs in lieu of developing their musical talents. AI offers a number of tantalizing opportunities for professional musicians as well as those of us that can hardly hold a tune. A number of AI-music development startups have made musical creation more accessible than ever.

However, this information should be taken with a grain of salt. Although AI music creation is up and coming, humans are still doing the majority of the creative heavy lifting and idea development behind albums. Much like the use of a synthesizer, its development will not completely take away musical creativity; it will simply enhance it.

Some artists are even capitalizing on AI to help them develop background instrumentals that can complement their voices. In some ways, it can be used as a tool in musical research to help producers better understand what is likely to go together well. Human creativity will always remain key in quality music creation, but AI will have a greater hand going forward.

 

The Future of Music

There is a great deal of fear surrounding how AI and other machine learning techniques are likely to take away jobs from humans that have traditionally done them. However, many experts believe this is unlikely to be the case. Rather, AI will become incorporated into the workflow — not eliminating but changing the job requirements for people in any given industry.

Artificial intelligence in songwriting is not likely to go away in the future. The number of new top 40 songs created using artificial intelligence is on the rise, and it is estimated that nearly 30 percent will be written that way in the next decade.

Many of our favorite artists may also be replicated by artificial intelligence in the future — for example, Bob Dylan. One AI bot was recently developed named Bot Dylan that, after months of processing nearly 23,000 similar songs, is now able to write its own folk music. Some of the music created is actually fairly high quality, but it does show how much more development is required for AI to be truly substantive in the music industry.

The development of AI technology has profoundly altered the way business is done in a number of industries, including music. Artificial intelligence is playing a role in things such as musical mastering, background music production, and lyrical suggestions. Although many purists believe this is a way of cheating, much of music creation is still completed by humans, and likely will continue to be into the future.

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Indiana Lee is a writer and musician from the pacific northwest who has a particular interest in covering the arts, social justice, and health. You can follow her work on Contently, or email her at indianaleewrites@gmail.com.

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