Will your favorite band be making an autonomous comeback?
Everyone knows this feeling – we hear a song on the radio, thinking that what we are listening to is by a particular band, only to discover it isn’t. It is these traits and musical turns-of-phrase that AI has been investigating in an attempt to generate AI composed music. Directed by Sony’s Computer Science Laboratories, Flow Machines has used AI to create several songs. Starting with an analysis of songs from the Beatles, the system was able to generate the first AI-generated song “Daddy’s Car” in their musical style.
Even taking into account the fact that the lyrics are written by humans, the track has an uncanny resemblance to songs from the Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band album. Starting from the first note, and following through every section, the music transports the listener back to the 60’s. Cleverly selected lyrics, some of which are occasionally played backwards (known as backmasking), only help to underscore how well the AI has extracted the most important features of a Beatles song.
It’s great fun to imagine our favorite bands reinvigorated, but AI-generated music has more to offer than creating yesteryear’s sounds. Jukedeck sees AI as a way of generating original, affordable music without the issues surrounding royalties. This might be for the Hotel lift, to complement a promotional video, or even for a presentation.
Others see AI as a sparring partner in the creative process. By learning about the style of a musician, some platforms can show alternative ways of developing the tune. Popgun, having been given an initial sequence of note, attempts to offer further notes that could follow on, providing musicians with melodic direction they may never have considered themselves.
Another startup, AI Music, applies AI to replace instruments in existing music or modify its tempo in order to match the context where the music is to be used. This might occur when a slow piece of music needs to match the pace and excitement of a car chase scene in a video.
Currently, musicians have nothing to fear from AI, especially when lyrics are required. It is far more likely that a musician in a creative drought might just find that touch of inspiration that turns a mediocre melody into a top-ten hit.