Music is evolving. What was once a very cumbersome process of making and recording music, is today done with a click of a button (if you don’t count all the time it takes to actually set up all the equipment and soundproof a room or studio). Recording can be done much quicker now, but post processing is also important and that can also be done much faster, thanks to advancements in technology. Companies are evolving as well and options for everyone in the music industry are expanding. Most notably, we have the example of the president of Geffen Records, who left to start his own music business.
But, technology always strives to make our lives easier and better. Thus, AI has made its way into the world of music and the industry is being changed, as it often happens when new technology is introduced. Here is how AI is affecting the music industry.
AI Attempts Through History
There have been several attempts to make machines write music throughout history and most of them have been mild, at best. They haven’t been complete failures, but they needed more time for the technology to arrive before actually starting to sound like humans, or rather, you wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a human and a computer. The Illiac Suite was written by ILLIAC 1, a computer program made in 1957. David Bowie used an algorithm to help him write music, called the Verbasizer. But, those are just the tip of the iceberg. There are actual breakthroughs in AI research and music.
The Jazz Continuator – Play with a Machine
AI allows for complex algorithms and processes to come to life almost instantaneously. This machine, called the Continuator, is able to continue where a musician stopped composing or playing. Basically, you would have a training partner or another musician with you if you wanted. The machine has passed the Turing test and people were not able to distinguish when the machine was playing and when the human was playing. This is a major step in the right direction, if you really like AI composing music for you.
Emily Howell – A Program Inspired by Other Music
In 2012, David Cope figured that musicians mostly heard great melodies and harmonies from other musicians and were inspired and then reorganized those same harmonies to make something great. So Emily Howell, the program, made its own music based on that of other people. It is indeed interesting to listen to.
Iamus – Original Composing
While David Cope’s idea may be correct, as well as his assumption, it is not the only approach to music composition. Iamus is a program which is used to create its own music, reminiscent of music from the classical period. Iamus was taught to think and interpret music, rather than to emulate. Thus, the Iamus’ Opus One was born, a composition made entirely by an AI.
There is a live stream on YouTube right now, and it has been online since 2017. It is an AI called Dadabots, which composes Death Metal music, live. It is good, to the point where you can clearly recognize the genre, and there are no mistakes, whether with rhythm, harmony or melody.
AI is getting better at composing music. Will it replace musicians? Most likely not, but it will definitely coexist with musicians and help them create more beautiful music. Just like other forms of art, music will benefit from artificial intelligence.