Just this past month, Google’s Magenta and PAIR teams created a Google Doodle which celebrated Johann Sebastian Bach’s 333rd birthday. The Doodle lets users create their own music by using machine learning to harmonize melodies. It analyzed 306 of Bach’s original chorale harmonizations to create a tune with the user’s notes.
Not only does the Doodle celebrate one of music’s greatest minds, but also it brings an issue into question for the music industry. How will advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) impact artists, songwriters, producers, and engineers?
AI Investments and Business
Generally speaking, AI is shifting the way businesses think about work, their day-to-day operations, and overall business models. For instance, in Deloitte’s most recent State of AI in The Enterprise Report, AI adoption grew globally by five percent from 2017 to 2018. This increased AI’s overall adoption rate to around 63 percent. The same report also found that 82 percent of companies with AI programs or products gained a financial return from their AI investments. If interested in learning more about investments or where you can invest smartly, look up Courtney Sarofim at Sima Capital to help.
The reason for AI investments is simple. By utilizing AI, businesses can automate tasks, which in turn cuts costs and increases revenue. This rationale makes sense when an organization is talking about using cognitive technologies to automate tedious tasks. But once AI creates products rather than simply complete tasks, the lines between “human roles” and machines become controversially blurred.
Why Labels are Interested In Creative AI
In order to understand why labels are adopting AI in the creative process, it is important to first understand the fundamentals of how labels traditionally make their money. Imagine a song in a given quarter pays out $100,000 gross revenue. The label takes about 30 percent of that revenue, on average they will make around $30,000. Meanwhile, the label pays the remaining 70 percent out to the appropriate rights holders. Furthermore, the consumption model of music is shifting to a fully digitalized streaming economy. Because of this, labels need to not only reinvent their revenue pipelines but also reshape the production of their main products, which remain centered around the recording industry.
Now, imagine a piece of AI software that could produce a record for half the manpower. The record would have far fewer upfront costs and still generate just as much revenue. This idea is not far fetched. Just this past month, Warner Music Group signed sound startup Endel. Endel uses AI to make personalized audio tracks aimed at boosting people’s mood and productivity. The algorithm powering the application was signed to a 20 album deal covering both distribution and publishing. Although the music is certainly not Billboard Top 100 material, this signed piece of code could signal a future where artists and software become part of the same roster.
Effects of AI
According to a new report from the World Economic Forum, the addition of machines and algorithms in the workplace created 133 million new roles. However, they will also cause 75 million jobs to be displaced by 2022. The growth of AI could create 58 million net new jobs in the next few years.
AI, artists and producers
There is no question that the jobs of songwriters, producers, engineers, and artists will be augmented and have more info AI continues to integrate itself inside music’s creative sphere.
This may give a glimpse into the future of the music industry, where artists and other creatives could have to work alongside machines creatively. The good news is that historically, through each technological revolution, businesses adjust, and jobs become more productive. Take recording studios, for instance. Before the days of SoundCloud, GarageBand and Voice Memos, record labels used to own most of the studio facilities. Studios required a lot of space, people, and physical equipment. Therefore, the costs posed a significant barrier to entry for people who wanted to record and distribute their music.
Now, plenty of professional-level Digital Audio Workspaces, like FL Studio, Ableton, and Logic, are available at relatively low costs. Furthermore, reasonably priced and free samples and loops are readily available. This gives artists an endless supply of source materials. Artists can tweak and manipulate these source materials in every way imaginable. Technology ultimately allowed for more creativity, and AI will likely have the same effect.
The software can help a songwriter write a better song or a producer rework a record. Therefore, artists and other creatives should embrace AI as a tool to make the best music possible. Some artists, like DJ and producer Geck-o, already adopt AI in music production and others in their creative music endeavors of AI music.
The music industry
AI is slowly changing the way artists think about music. For the industry as a whole, AI tools hold out the promise of more efficient, more productive, creative and more streamlined operations, and better-informed decision making. As more labels sign AI software to their roster, the industry will continue to evolve, soon becoming a collaborative environment where man and machine work together to make the next set of great hits.