Songwriting With Artificial Intelligence...

Advancement in computers and technology have been incredibly positive for music creators around the globe. 

But, Artificial Intelligence music (A.I. Music), is growing faster than any other segment. Is AI Music any good? Judge for yourself...

In this day and age you can learn how to produce music on YouTube, purchase the same sample libraries as your favorite composers and create epic scores from your laptop, anywhere in the world. As a result, there are more music producers than ever. Computers helping humans create original music has become today’s standard, but there are several companies looking to turn the tables on this process.

Computer-generated songs are a fast-growing sector of the industry, looking to disrupt creation, licensing and access for musicians and non-musicians alike. Amper Music, Jukedeck, Sony’s Computer Science Laboratory and Google's Magenta are four companies at the helm of music composition via artificial intelligence.

New York based Amper Music announced a founding investment round of $4 million this week, which will be devoted to further development of AI music creation. These technology-driven music companies have huge potential for success.

How good is the music? Well, it has a long way to go, but listen for yourself.

What is remarkable about the music licensing industry is that the market is already so saturated with vendors that cover a wide spectrum of quality and approaches. There are so many compelling providers competing to sell you your next soundtrack: music libraries, custom music houses, indie labels, major publishers and the list goes on.

The main reason the AI approach stands out is because it is certifiably confirming music as a commodity (similar to some of today’s inexpensive stock libraries) by ironically placing computers in the driver’s seat of the creative process. Could AI do to music what E-ZPass did to tollbooth workers?

While this could be a beneficial tool to content creators, at the same time it’s uncharted territory for the music industry. How do AI music creators ensure originality and avoid melodies of a song that already exists? This also brings up other subjects such as copyright registrations, royalty collection and crediting, and it will be interesting to see how the business side of the market adapts to these advances.

The market for low-budget music is enormous and only growing. Anyone can see that there's a clear path to success with a trail of pennies deriving from the lowest hanging fruit. This unearths a lot of questions regarding the way we view and value music, as well as art in general.

The boom of content (i.e., anyone with a GoPro can be a filmmaker), while providing more opportunity, also spreads budgets very thin. The world is now watching 1 billion hours of YouTube content every single day, and while some content creators may value music based on principle, the reality is that they can’t afford to match that value with a financial investment that costs more than a turkey sandwich.

It’s important to understand that when buyers select music, there are factors considered that have nothing to do with the art or content itself - it’s all about the experience. Licensing music is very complex and unquestionably not a one-size-fits-all scenario. The intersection of technology and music licensing is met with friction because of the intricacies of the process.

There are many legal and logistical nuances to secure a proper music license, especially with the growing number of platforms for media and the constant evolution of content distribution. 

For example, if you need to license a song for YouTube, the owner of the copyright will need to evaluate the terms of use, the length of the term, the territory, if there will be paid media behind it, whether there is exclusivity during the term, etc. to determine pricing, and assemble a comprehensive license. The process is far from binary, and it will always be smoothest with a human-to-human interaction for highly valuable copyrights.

We’re in a world where music can be a commodity and both buyers and sellers are happy about it. If AI music companies can offer enough volume at the right price point, I think they may do alright, but custom original music companies will never be replaced. 

Be sure to share your thoughts in the comments section below.


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