Tech

Fascinated by the rapid developments with AI and music? Here’s a roundup of some of the week’s best stories

The use of artificial intelligence in music has suddenly become front-and-centre with everything, thanks to some recent deepfakes (cf. Ghostwriter and Drake/The Weeknd) and growing demands that someone do something about…well, everything involving AI.

This is a complicated subject and some smart people have some interesting takes in what the AI revolution means to the future of music. Here are a few articles that I hope you’ll find interesting.

From Stratechery: AI, NIL, and Zero Trust Authenticity

With AI, we’re not sure what’s real and what’s fake. The Drake/The Weeknd creation wasn’t pure AI music generation, but it does show how sounds and voices can be manipulated in hitherto impossible ways. What are the implications of that? Stratechery says, “[A]s talented as the maker of this song might be, the value is, without question, Drake’s voice, not for its intrinsic musical value, but because it’s Drake.” Therefore, shouldn’t Drake be compensated for such an AI creation?

There’s also the NIL (name, image, and likeness) question. You can’t use a person’s NIL to make money without their permission. Again from Stratechery: “For Drake, though, it is precisely his name, image, and likeness that lends value to what he does, or at least in the case of this video, could realistically be assumed to have done.” Therefore, he should be compensated.

Finally, how can we trust that anything we see/hear/read on the internet is real. Answer: We can’t and we shouldn’t. A final Stratechery quote: “[O]ne can make the case that most of the Internet, given the zero marginal cost of distribution, ought already be considered fake; once content creation itself is a zero marginal cost activity almost all of it will be. The solution isn’t to try to eliminate that content, but rather to find ways to verify that which is still authentic. As I noted above I expect Spotify to do just that with regards to music: now the value of the service won’t simply be convenience, but also the knowledge that if a song on Spotify is labeled “Drake” it will in fact be by Drake (or licensed by him!).”

Read the entire article here.

Some Artists are Welcoming Our New AI Overlords

Grimes has an interesting attitude towards AI. She’s inviting anyone to use her voice in exchange for 50% of the profits. But she retains the right to judge content. (“I don’t wanna be responsible for a Nazi anthem…”

From Wired: AI-Generated Music is About to Flood Streaming Platforms

If music-making AI tools are cheap and easy to use, more people are going to use them. Some will be fakes. Others will be musicians using the tools to make new music. And others still will involve people with no musical ability whatsoever. Is that a good thing–or just an inevitable by-product of technology?

Read the entire article here.

Form Intellectual Property Law Blog: Copyright Office Artificial Intelligence Initiative and Resource Guide

What does American copyright law saw about AI and copyright? If you’re an artist, label, or manager, you’d better bone up on this. Same thing if you’re thinking about making AI music using raw material from other musicians.

Link to the full article.

From Midia Research: The Next AI battleground will be around datasets, not functionality.

I quote: “[A]ny machine learning programme is only as good as the dataset it is trained on. So far, OpenAI and its ilk have been able to develop so quickly because they were made without thought to commercial viability. Because they were built with more of an academic mindset, they could simply train their bots on an internet-wide dataset of whatever they could get their hands on…”

Translation: Will artists license/collaborate with AI music-makers using datasets derived from their previous releases? I’d count on it.

Here’s the full article.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ 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.

Alan Cross has 38553 posts and counting. See all posts by Alan Cross

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