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From Bach to Bots: Is The Music Industry at Risk Because of AI-Generated Music?

The rise of AI-generated music is shaking the music industry to its core. As authentic human-made music competes with the machine-created tunes, what does the future hold?
Updated June 6, 2023
A robot on stage at a concert as 4k digital art
A robot on stage at a concert as 4k digital art

Imagine listening to your favorite artists singing another artist's song or even a completely unique composition – only to find out that it was all generated by a robot. Weird, right?

Well that robot is actually a computer – and it’s AI-generated. That's right, AI-generated music is here and shows absolutely no sign of slowing down anytime soon. AI-generated music is becoming increasingly popular and has started to get widely shared on platforms like TikTok, leaving people surprised at how realistic the songs actually sound. 

With these incredible advancements in technology making AI-generated music sound almost identical to artists themselves, we have to ask:

Is the authenticity of the music industry at risk due to artificial intelligence?

Well the short answer to this is yes, but we're not going to be able to stop what has been started.

Instead, we’re going to have to bridge the creative gap between AI-generated music and carefully crafted human production. AI should aim to serve as a tool in music production, rather than a replacement.

While some musicians and composers express concern about originality, artistic expression, and potential job loss resulting from these algorithms' integration into their field, others see possibilities for collaboration between humans and AI. They argue that combining efforts could lead to entirely new creative frontiers. 

Executives in the music business face challenges about the legal implications tied to the copyright laws surrounding AI-generated music.

But what do everyday listeners think about this trend? Are there benefits or drawbacks that might not be immediately apparent? 

Just recently, Spotify removed thousands of these AI-generated songs for their platform. But how widespread is this about to become? Or is this truly the start of something unstoppable.

The impact of AI on our favorite compositions could have monumental impacts. Not just for artists but for the very fans that are listening to the music. But does it really mean anything if you can’t tell the difference?

Understanding AI-generated Music

At its core, generating music through AI involves training algorithms using vast databases of existing tracks and analyzing patterns and structures of musical elements such as rhythm, melody, harmony, and lyrics. 

Once trained on this massive pool of knowledge, the algorithm can develop original compositions by blending these all together. After that, you’re left with a complete song.

Anonymous producers have demonstrated stunning examples of what AI-generated music could sound like when done right.

A TikTok recently went viral featuring a song that combined Drake and The Weeknd. The lyrics are debatable, but they sound extremely similar to their style and flow of singing.

It’s not just hip-hop that has artificial songs popping up – from classical pieces reminiscent of Bach's works to catchy pop hits akin to those by contemporary artists, we’re seeing a flood of robotic music across the entire industry.

At first listen, it might be challenging to distinguish between an AI-generated song and traditional human composition. This really varies based on the training data that we were talking about earlier. Things are only going to get better with time.

However, aspects still set them apart—such as emotional depth or complex language expressions—that machines may not yet be able to fully replicate. This is probably the biggest concern of using AI to create music, you lose the individuality.

In the exciting world where science and art mix, one thing is clear: AI can make music that sounds like what it has learned, but making unique and special songs is still really something only humans can do… at least for now.

The Perspective of Musicians and Composers

One of the primary issues raised by artists is whether AI-generated music impacts the authenticity of human expression in composing tunes. I think we can all agree it does – but is this a good or bad thing?

After all, can a machine genuinely replicate the emotional complexity infused into songs by human musicians with personal experiences, joys, sorrows, and varied inspirations? Not really, and if it does, it’s faking it.

Another concern among musicians revolves around AI potentially replacing them for tasks such as composing background music or jingles. Would this devalue their contributions to the industry? Or would it force them to adapt and evolve creatively in ways they haven't before?

The answers are challenging because AI adoption calls for striking a balance between retaining humans' irreplaceable skills and acknowledging technology's advantages. What makes music good? Do you really care where it came from? I feel like I really don’t. I just want to hear good lyrics with a good beat.

On a more positive note, some trailblazing artists see possibilities in merging human expertise with robotic innovation.

A prime example is Grimes, who has embraced AI to help create music. Grimes actually promotes the use of AI to make music, and even offers to split revenue 50/50 with creators and herself.

A potential for novel music, fueled by the fusion of human creativity and technology, could be limitless!

Incorporating elements of AI-generated music will open up a world of possibilities that humans have literally never seen before. Picture a one-of-a-kind fusion of computer-produced beats and lyrics combined with the heartfelt voice crafted by a singer.

The Music Industry's Perspective

From an economic standpoint, using AI-generated music represents a potential goldmine for businesses. This can range from the creation of cost-efficient advertising jingles to the crafting of engaging background scores for movies, television shows, or video games. This approach not only provides a financial advantage but also paves the way for a new era of entertainment powered by advanced technology.

Profits could soar significantly by harnessing technology that can churn out compositions quickly with minimal human involvement or expense.

AI is already making strides in revolutionizing how audio is processed and mixed during production–potentially saving time and resources while still delivering professional results. 

As digital distribution platforms like Spotify expand globally alongside increasing user-generated playlists, incorporating AI-created tracks seems inevitable. However, adding AI compositions to vast libraries raises questions about the distribution of royalties between artists and technology creators—an unresolved issue.

One of the most pressing concerns with AI-generated music revolves around copyright laws: 

Who owns the rights to these songs? Are they derivatives based on pre-existing copyrighted material? Can voice-cloning technologies infringe upon an artist's identity or personality rights?

As more cases involving AI-generated works appear in courts worldwide, precedents will emerge, clarifying some ambiguities surrounding these valid questions, but for now—a considerable gray area remains unexplored.

In the end, determining if the music industry should welcome or push back against AI music comes down to striking a balance. We should strive to maintain musical authenticity while embracing technological progress and molding the potential opportunities that lie ahead.

Music Enthusiasts and Listeners' Point of View

Beyond musicians, composers, and industry insiders, everyday listeners form the backbone of any successful musical artist. They make up the fans, the purchases, and the tour tickets. It’s legitimately all because of the fans!

Music is a language everyone understands because it touches our hearts. We form emotional connections with songs and with the artists who perform them.

Imagine if music made by AI could stir up similar feelings. If it can, there's a place for it beside the music we're used to, made by human artists. And the best part is, it won't take away from the realness of the music we love.

AI's role in music isn't just about copying what's already popular. It's about mixing different styles in new and interesting ways. This could change the way we think about music altogether.

The future landscape of live performances may also adopt elements from AI-generated compositions—whether as backing tracks or even virtual holographic singers performing onstage.

Will this change how concert-goers perceive live events? Or will it introduce opportunities for more engaging multimedia experiences? Most likely both.

Only time can reveal how receptive audiences become towards these innovative forms of entertainment, blending traditional musical elements with cutting-edge technology.

We’re just going to have to go ahead and wait to see how artists will merge what they’re already good at with a technology that could help them create better and even more music in a matter of minutes.

Regardless of one's take on AI-generated music, one thing is certain—the conversation around these advancements feeds an essential discussion on creativity that will ultimately continue shaping the music world for the rest of human history.

Balancing AI and Human Creativity in Music Composition

Striking a balance between using AI and humans to create music is really still a gray line. Some artists will prefer to let a computer do all the work, while some won’t dare to expand beyond creating music naturally. Some will do both.

Ultimately there’s a genre for everyone. Certain people like EDM, while others love rap and classical music. If AI-generated music becomes a whole separate category on its own, I’m sure we’ll still have a group of fans interested in it.

If AI-generated music merges with traditional recordings of artists, it might be necessary for these producers to let their fans know that it’s not actually them behind the microphone.

What are your thoughts on music merging with AI? Is the end coming soon or are we going to adapt to this as a society like we have with most technological advancements.

Like mentioned before... only time will tell.

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Written by Justin Gluska
Justin is the founder of Gold Penguin, a business technology blog that helps people start, grow, and scale their business using AI. The world is changing and he believes it's best to make use of the new technology that is starting to change the world. If it can help you make more money or save you time, he'll write about it!
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