by Stephanie L. Carlin
A month ago, Newsweek reported that IBM, Google and Spotify are working on artificial intelligence (AI) to create music. While nothing has been directly said to the public as to the intentions of these deals, there is much speculation from critics and musicians alike regarding why streaming services like Spotify are investing in this technology.
Google, in particular, has been extremely invested in these advancements since last year, and this is not new for the technology giant. Similar projects have been done with games like “Quick, Draw,” where users can draw a picture, and the A.I. is typically able to guess within seconds. Google Brain announced the Magneta Project, a research project to create a process in which A.I. can create songs and art, which produced interesting results. For example, in Britain, DeepMind is another A.I. that created 10-second avant-grande jazz clips that would make a Berklee freshman blush. This and other products are leaving critics a bit skeptical of Magneta’s success. NSynth, another A.I. under Magneta, was able to process 1,000 new sounds from its own database.
Francois Pachet, an A.I. scientist, is now running the Creator Technology Research Lab in Paris for Spotify after working for a computer lab at Sony. Pachet told Newsweek that this technology is relatively new and that A.I. still needs humans to receive information. While working for Sony, Benoit Carré, a French composer, worked with Pachet on a Beatles-inspired tune called “Daddy’s Car”, where an A.I. Flow Machine that was engineered by Pachet analyzed over 200 Beatles songs to create this song with lyrics by Pachet’s team.
A.I. has yet to release standalone songs. An album was released in January called Hello World, made entirely with Flow Machine. IBM has taken on the Watson Beat Project, which recently collaborated with Google’s Magneta. AVIA and Amper Music helped release singer-songwriter Taryn Southern’s new album, I Am AI. Following parameters such as tempo and genre, the A.I. was given music to analyze and from that created original content in a matter of minutes.
According to Southern, she would typically go back 30-70 times with completely different songs to get the one she wants, meaning she can write 70 different songs in hours and she is not the only one. There are even companies like Jukedeck that have developed A.I. services and websites to help users create symphonies with the touch of a button.
This is all insanely terrifying.
It’s amazing how far technology has come. Literally twenty years ago, in order to call someone outside, people were using giant bricks that weighed 2-5 pounds and twenty years before that, we had to use telephone booths. Now, one can access loved ones from the .5-pound piece of metal in their pocket and not only can one make calls but can also make movies and music. This is so important for artists. With the reach of the Internet and streaming companies , it’s now more important to make access obtainable. Technology needs to advance in order for humans to survive.