Photo: Yana Iskayeva via Getty Images
  /  04.14.2023

Will AI remove an entire arm of artists and producers with one click of a button? Or will it provide the tools to curate a new wave of music that the industry hasn’t seen? Well, the thought process behind AI music software is to give creatives a more efficient way to make and promote music. But what about the other side of this new technology? The one that starts taking away from our livelihoods and putting us in situations where we can be copied, erased, or even worse, replaced? That is the fear that some musicians and those adjacent to the music industry are currently facing. Thanks to the emerging AI tech, many are wondering if they’ll be replaced by simple software.

As with any new technology, there are pros and cons, so let’s dive into both.

The first example is Soundful, an AI platform that allows you to create royalty-free music with the click of a button. This is perfect for producers who are tired of sampling the same music and want to create their own sound. How does it work? Well, the program is taught by some of the best producers and sound engineers in the industry. The software is trained through one-shot samples, which means it will never replicate a song that already exists — aka no lawsuits! And the best part about it? You don’t have to wait months to get a sample cleared by a label.

AI tools aren’t just used to make music; they can provide an additional stream of income for artists as well. A program called Solaris Virtual Vocalist allows you to purchase vocals in a variety of styles. The company has hired a singer to curate the sounds used for the AI tool, and songwriters are able to buy the respective licenses. This could open a whole new stream of income for background and demo vocalists, or singers in general. They will be able to license out the use of their voice without having to go through a label or even sit in a studio session to make a song.

Another popular tool that can help with the backend of making music is LALAL.AI. The software allows you to remove the vocals from any song and just keep the instrumental track. You can also remove instruments such as the guitar, piano, and bass within minutes, making editing music a much quicker process.

Creating is the easy part for most artists and producers; it’s organization and structure that many struggle with. What’s the solution? Atlas! The AI tool organizes your beats library into sections based on the style and character of the sound. This means no more having to click through thousands of files trying to find that one sound you made back in 2017.

A downside to this technology is that it could possibly erase the creative minds behind our favorite music. There are tools like MatchTune that allow people to obtain royalty-free music to fit their uploaded videos, and Everett Music, which enables you to choose music for videos based on filters and mood without having to pay a license fee. This can essentially erase the need for beatmakers who make a living off curating music for content creators and YouTubers.

MuseNet, another popular AI software founded by OpenAI, allows you to create music that mimics other composers. The software can make songs with up to 10 different instruments and 15 different styles. MuseNet relies on data from the internet, which means the music samples generated will sound like something that is already created. For some producers, this may be exactly what they are looking for to make a specific song, while for others, it may feel like a tool that is ripping them off.

Having editing AI tools at your fingertips is great, but some tech takes the ease of creating music a little too far. On the Jukebox AI software, you can make music that is modeled after a genre or artist’s style. This can allow any person to make songs that sound like Beyoncé or Future without having to pay them. That’s where the technology gets tricky. Should people be able to curate tunes that are in line with a popular trend or musician? For an upcoming artist, this would be a great solution for having to pay a hefty bag for a feature from a major entertainer. But, the downside is artists can take your style and flow for free. We recently saw this taking place when David Guetta used Eminem’s voice for a concert without having to ask the hip hop icon or pay him.

Another example is when a creator recently used the likenesses of Kanye West and JAY-Z to curate covers of other popular artists. It was done to showcase the scope of AI technology, but I can see this completely going left with people using musicians’ likeness for monetary value.

So, what’s the verdict on AI? This is what the Twitter streets had to say. Themon3ymom stated, “I think this can be overshadowed and prevented by taking verification measures and something put in place to identify the source audio.” Another user said, “Anybody could become DJ Khaled and put together the greatest AI compilation albums of all time. ANYBODY.”

My thoughts? This technology could help artists and producers curate new waves of music to ensure progression in the music industry, but in the wrong hands, it could also eliminate certain sectors of artistry or result in musicians getting their sounds stolen as a whole. For this technology to be used to its full potential, there needs to be regulations and protections in place, so artists’ music and style can’t be stolen.

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