AI in the Music Industry: Cool or Scary?

By Alea Murray // Instagram @aleamurray

The world of technology has been evolving rapidly in the last two decades, and the music industry has felt those changes significantly, leading us into the streaming era (which we are currently struggling to navigate). This has proven to be a difficult transition for the formatting of how to monetize music. However, technology hasn’t seemed to negatively impact the creative processes of artists, in fact it has opened new avenues for creativity.

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a controversial form of technology that scares many people (like Elon Musk) and excites others. As it evolves, its crossover with the artistic world is becoming more frequent. Just the other day my professor showed my class a video of a robot painting. An article from Music Business Worldwide was published recently about AI making a song that sounds exactly like Travis Scott, creating its own rap lyrics with solid rhymes, and producing its own beat. The article states, “A US-based digital agency, Space150, recently thought it would conduct a fun experiment: model Travis Scott’s sonic and vocal style via Artificial Intelligence, and see what original production AI might subsequently invent” (Ingham 2020). It goes on to talk about the song AI produced, and later reveals that there is a new LA based record label, SNAFU Records, that claims to be “the first full-service record label built on AI-music discovery”. The label has $2.9 million in seed funding and is operated by “technologists, A&Rs, producers, and creatives” (Ingham 2020). 

Now we’ve got to ask ourselves, is the idea of AI produced music something we want to encourage? If AI music finds its way into the mainstream, would that push out some real live artists or create even more competition for their livelihood? Morally and ethically, do we want to listen to art that wasn’t created from a living human that has emotions, relatability, purpose, and passion? The humanity in music and in art is something that people love to connect to, and they love to follow and get to know the artists as people behind the music. You can’t follow a machine on Instagram. Do we want to listen to music that was not created with intent, and by a machine? We must consider the implications of this for other artists and for the sake of the validity of art itself. AI, leave art to the humans.

Works Cited 

Ingham, Tim. “Artificial Intelligence Made a Song in the Style of Travis Scott. It Sounds Unnervingly like Travis Scott.” Music Business Worldwide, 16 Feb. 2020, http://www.musicbusinessworldwide.com/artificial-intelligence-made-a-song-in-the-style-of-travis-scott-it-sounds-unnervingly-like-travis-scott/.

Alea Murray is a senior at College of Charleston studying Arts Management with a Concentration in the Music Industry. As a singer/songwriter herself, Alea

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