Ongoing History Daily: Music and automation, part 1

Today, many musicians are worried about the future impact of artificial intelligence. All kinds of work is being done with machine learning when it comes to getting software to write music that’s a very close approximation of what a human may write. In other words, the idea that music-making will become automated.

This, however, is not new.

Back in 1982, the UK Musicians Union launched a campaign to have synthesizers banned because the new machines were replacing flesh-and-blood working musicians. The final straw was when Barry Manilow ditched live orchestra for a tour and employed a couple of synth players instead. Obviously, the union’s planned when nowhere and musicians learned to co-exist with these new electronic instruments.

More on automation fears next time.

Yesterday’s post was about the important but sadly forgotten contributions of Tina Bell. And don’t forget to check out my podcast The Ongoing History of New Music where you listen on SpotifyApple PodcastsGoogleStitcher, or wherever you get your on-demand audio.

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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