Can AI write lyrics as good as humans? This study says it might be better

Uh-oh.

Artificial intelligence is a huge growth area, including the space that everyone said could only be handled by humans: writing meaningful and emotional song lyrics.

British firm TickPick grabbed 1,000 songs from a variety of genres (pop, country, hip-hop) to train AI programs on how to write lyrics. They then surveyed a thousand meatbags to rank the work of the robots. What did they think? And could they tell the difference between lyrics written by a machine and those written by a human?

When the results came back, 39.6% of those surveyed said that the AI-generated lyrics were more emotional. Overall, though human-bred lyrics were still favoured.

AI has a hard time with rap and hip-hop. Pop was a little less tough, but country was by far the easier genre for AI to ape. Only 12.3% of those in the survey could tell that the country lyrics were fake.

And get this. When presented with some AI lyrics, almost 21% said “Yeah, that sounds like My Chemical Romance.” Only 13% figured out that it was a machine.

TickPick published this infographic.

You can see the whole thing (and see some sample lyrics) here.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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