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Is AI the Music Industry's Next Rising Star?

Cover image by Joshua Woroniecki via Pixabay


 

In recent years, Artificial Intelligence (AI) has developed extensively, taking on key roles across numerous professional industries. Machines which simulate human intelligence perform tasks that may require reasoning, problem-solving, and cognition constantly, adding information to their massive databases and becoming "smarter" with every new input. This complexified and ever-evolving technology has revolutionized work in medicine, transportation, and now music. Experimentation with AI in the music industry continues to permanently alter the ways in which we create, produce, and consume music, but raises several legal and ethical questions.


AI programs like ChatGPT can be used to write entire songs, complete with complex instrumental arrangements and lyrics, mimicking the musical styles of specific artists. The computers select and analyze data from the furthest corners of the internet to generate new songs that follow patterns detected in pre-existing music. Users can emulate the works of popular artists from Taylor Swift to Led Zeppelin with just one short prompt.


AI-generated song written in ChatGPT

Beyond composing full songs, AI software is now capable of replicating the voices of famous musicians. A recent AI-generated release using Drake's voice and songwriting style without his permission sent the internet into a frenzy. The uncanny resemblance of the song to the Canadian rapper's real vocals demonstrates an eerie AI ability for internet users not only to fake their Drake, but also to recreate the sounds of any existing person. Comments flooded the YouTube-posted "heart on my sleeve" almost immediately. User Jevan Goldsmith shared, "I'm calling this. First ai song to make the billboard 100" and Garrett M. quipped, "This is better than the real drake💀".



Similarly, electronic dance titan Grimes recently launched her AI-generated lullaby and invited fans to use her voice to make digital music. One key difference, however, between the two aforementioned examples of AI, lies within the permissions and usage rights of celebrity likenesses. While Grimes utilized Artificial Intelligence to mimic her own voice, the faux Drake single copied his voice without his permission.


Cases such as Drake's bring about several legal concerns, beginning with one regarding songwriting and performance credits. Who owns the rights to the music created by AI? Should Drake get a cut? As of right now, copyright laws protect music made only by human authors, leaving a lot of grey area regarding artificial intelligence-generated work. Heated debate about whether the creator of the program, the program itself, or both entities should receive recognition has blurred legal lines and will soon set precedents for the future of the music industry. Another possibility involves attaining special AI usage clearance rights to replicate voices and likenesses.



Beyond vagueness regarding splits and permissions, discourse about whether or not AI-generated music could replace human artistry has raised tensions throughout the industry. With the ability to configure arrangements in new, previously impossible styles, AI has the potential to either help or hurt existing artists. Because Artificial Intelligence can perform any function, some professionals predict a loss of jobs in the music industry.


Digitally generated music hints at exciting evolution for music-making, however, it will likely never completely replace the emotional nuances and lived experiences of human musicians. Rather, it can be used as a valuable tool to enhance the music creation, production, and listening processes. In addition to mixing and mastering, Artificial Intelligence can analyze and categorize samples in order to make selections more efficient. From the consumer perspective, programs can examine listening habits and build a musical listening experience tailored to individual listeners, whether through custom playlists or song recommendations.


The growing presence of AI in the entertainment industry will inevitably change the way artists, entrepreneurs, and fans alike interact with songs. Challenges in maintaining ethical and authentic artistry are sure to arise, but with them comes endless possibility to expand the limits of music as we know it.


Is AI in music cool or creepy? Let us know what you think.


 

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