AI, procedural generation and other new music technologies - What does the future of music hold?

Spacetime

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There are some fascinating developments in music technology, notably AI, that I believe have huge consequences for the musical landscape and us as individuals to create music.

Some of you may have already seen Midjourney, a new AI software that generates unique artwork based on user inputs. Very fun. It can imagine wonderful artwork just from simple commands. This I believe will be the start of new influence across all creative fields, and especially for music.

Currently these are in primitive stages. It is fair and logical to assume the the power and complexity will increase dramatically over the next decades. Already the outputs are interesting and enjoyable in its basic form. In 30 years what then? I believe that AI will give everyone the power to compose high quality, unique, incredible music, with the vision they desire. Would any of you agree with this?

Another example - A YouTuber has programmed procedurally generated Djent style Metal music, shared below. As a fan of metal music I was skeptical, but didn’t take long for me to nod my head and smile. The Djent sub-genre may be considered formulaic enough to produce good results like this, but again the idea is primitive. Soon we will be able to write automated code that will generate any complex musical ideas and sequences. I think it’s inevitable.

What will this mean for music? What do you think? I see a newly defined era, just like we did when digital technology first came into the scene and triggered all the new genres we see today. It will create an explosion of creativity and new talent. Everyone will be able to realize a musical vision, and easier and more accurately than before. Who knows, maybe AI will choose to write its own music, without the input from us at all (it surely will). I will not be surprised if we see concerts powered entirely by an AI DJ, who is also harmoniously synced with the visuals, and maybe even the crowd emotions itself.

Procedural Djent Metal
 

Gagi

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During studying, we had a Machine Learning course (among others), and we had a project for it which we could choose. Being interested in music, I started digging, and saw there have been a lot of AI applications in music, from analysis to composition. Most of the streaming services' recommendation systems rely heavily on AI, and they analyze and categorize the music heavily, which is a great enough task on its own. Ok, recommendation might partly work on what users with similar listening history liked, but also categorizing tracks based on their keys, moods etc, which is incredible to me.

Composition is another thing entirely, since it relies on analysis. I don't think it will replace true art, but let's be honest, most of music today isn't art. It's procedurally created, albeit by producers themselves. The structures and arrangements, from the simple beats to the entire tracks. When we say a trance track is formulaic, this basically means it takes little creative effort and can be easily replicated by anyone else. In my opinion, it is a defeat of most producers out there, but a win for AI and science.

I can see the use of AI-generated music in YouTube videos mostly. Cheap and easy to make and not in the forefront enough, yet needed in high quantities.

Maybe in tools which would help producers as well. There are a number of AI-powered EQs and mixing/mastering tools, as well as other types of plugins (Regroover Pro which strips multi-layered audio into individual elements, which is usable for drum loops) out there, so that's nothing new. Possibly some melody-generating tools. I don't see why there could be a tool which helps out with arrangement as well.



Anyhow, bit of my messy thoughts for now. Once the thread focuses a bit on a part maybe I can think a bit clearer, this is a broad enough topic.
 

Recharge

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During studying, we had a Machine Learning course (among others), and we had a project for it which we could choose. Being interested in music, I started digging, and saw there have been a lot of AI applications in music, from analysis to composition. Most of the streaming services' recommendation systems rely heavily on AI, and they analyze and categorize the music heavily, which is a great enough task on its own. Ok, recommendation might partly work on what users with similar listening history liked, but also categorizing tracks based on their keys, moods etc, which is incredible to me.

Composition is another thing entirely, since it relies on analysis. I don't think it will replace true art, but let's be honest, most of music today isn't art. It's procedurally created, albeit by producers themselves. The structures and arrangements, from the simple beats to the entire tracks. When we say a trance track is formulaic, this basically means it takes little creative effort and can be easily replicated by anyone else. In my opinion, it is a defeat of most producers out there, but a win for AI and science.

I can see the use of AI-generated music in YouTube videos mostly. Cheap and easy to make and not in the forefront enough, yet needed in high quantities.

Maybe in tools which would help producers as well. There are a number of AI-powered EQs and mixing/mastering tools, as well as other types of plugins (Regroover Pro which strips multi-layered audio into individual elements, which is usable for drum loops) out there, so that's nothing new. Possibly some melody-generating tools. I don't see why there could be a tool which helps out with arrangement as well.



Anyhow, bit of my messy thoughts for now. Once the thread focuses a bit on a part maybe I can think a bit clearer, this is a broad enough topic.
Just a bunch of nosense from producers crying doom and been overtaken by AI. Just the same way djs did with the sync function came out. On top of it AI these days can make some very decent transitions too, but the DJ world haven't collapsed yet.

I have AI and I use it when I get stuck. I have the whole range of Epic Plugins from Mixed In Key and to be fair I almost never use it and I barely scratched the surface of it. There is some really good stuff there. Their Epic melody has so much great sounds presets and some of them are actually almost complete synths with lots of options so just that alone is worth it, Again I barely use it. Its good for generating ideas and taking off a project from the ground.

I actually forgot to say, what will most likely happen, Producers will use AI to make the whole process of making music more automated, easier and quicker. But just like djing you still have to know what you doing.
 
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dmgtz96

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A couple years ago the following AI song was put together:


Someone still had to sing it and select the "best" melodies and lyrics:
The project team fed hundreds of Eurovision songs – melodies and lyrics – into a neuron network. Then, algorithms produced thousands of new tunes and lines of verse, from which a few musical units were carefully selected and “welded” into a song.

My guess is that, in the future, raw musical prowess will become much more important, as musicians will no longer need to come up with hundreds of verses and melodies for a song. They can run the algorithm and, with their musical knowledge/expertise, select the best of what the algorithm spits out. Then, they can give the song a final "human" touch so it sounds real.
 

Progrez

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A couple years ago the following AI song was put together:


Someone still had to sing it and select the "best" melodies and lyrics:


My guess is that, in the future, raw musical prowess will become much more important, as musicians will no longer need to come up with hundreds of verses and melodies for a song. They can run the algorithm and, with their musical knowledge/expertise, select the best of what the algorithm spits out. Then, they can give the song a final "human" touch so it sounds real.
That's no different from allowing an AI to determine your own job prospects or asking a stupid robot which are flawed to determine your life.

If you are going to allow AI to do all of the work then what's the point in working? Talk about laziness and music will become pointless you will become a walking zombie or robot pick your poison.
 
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dmgtz96

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That's no different from allowing an AI to determine your own job prospects or asking a stupid robot which are flawed to determine your life.

If you are going to allow AI to do all of the work then what's the point in working? Talk about laziness and music will become pointless you will become a walking zombie or robot pick your poison.
I get what you're saying, but AI can't do all the work. Put garbage into the program and you'll get garbage out. People aren't going to be too interested in an AI-generated song that makes no sense. Heck, even the example from that video makes no sense sometimes and is still far removed from a top pop hit.
 

Progrez

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I get what you're saying, but AI can't do all the work. Put garbage into the program and you'll get garbage out. People aren't going to be too interested in an AI-generated song that makes no sense. Heck, even the example from that video makes no sense sometimes and is still far removed from a top pop hit.
Also, the system put in place these days have a lot of flaws. You see that with building, machinery, bridges, all things break down or make mistakes as well where does the emotion come into this? That's nothing more than a computer generated song there is no improvisation, there is no thought and heart being put into it. You can see that with processed food our bodies reacts such strange ways in food that's made by machines.
 

Hensmon

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Ha the Djent thing is kinda of cool, really similar to the kinds of tracks you will hear from that genre.

Check out this one! It's actually a good track, I would believe it was real Nirvana if someone told me. I agree with the OP that this stuff is going to get even more powerful. Learning AI will be like learning Ableton in the future maybe.

 
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Ar7

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Looking back, at what can only be described as humanity’s less than perfect ability to predict future developments, the only thing we can say with any level of certainty is that the emerging technologies will change the future. What we can say with absolute certainty is thay we do not know how the technologies will change it.
 
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LostLegend

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It’s certainly heading that way.

As @Gagi mentioned, there’s plenty of plug-ins that use AI to perform certain tasks. Izotope’s RX series uses AI to let you isolate vocals or drums etc. from tracks. There’s also ai based mixing tools in there. Not to mention Ozone’s mastering assistant (also by Izotope).
Some of the streaming/distribution services like Soundcloud now offer ai powered mastering services for your music as well.

As for the creative side, that’s probably a bit further behind, but all the data/analytic framework is there for it.
When you look at how a lot of the more manufactured end of the pop music spectrum works and how they use analytics, you can see where it is going.
From having the main hook/chorus come in within 15/20 seconds to stop people hitting the skip button, making the song hooks simpler therefor more memorable and doing away with the bridge/middle 8 sections. It becomes more about keeper by people listening for the longest amount of time rather than artistic merit.

There’s tools like Dylan Tallchiefs Jukeblox which allows you to upload a simple 8/16 bar loop idea for a song and it sends you back a project file for the DAW of your choice with the track fleshed out into a full arrangement.

Tools like Scaler from Loopmasters can help you build chord structures and the list goes on.

Once someone figures out how to combine all these ideas into a ‘Dall-E’ style system for music, I imagine we’ll be hearing a lot of it.
Whether any of the music is any good is another matter 😛
 
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Recharge

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I used Captain Epic plugins to make an AI song, although most things and patterns are put by producers there. The 3 melodies are made by the AI/random core the plugin have.

I used a few samples for vocal and effects. I am sure AI will evolve enough to sample anything on the internet anyways. As I said with the right person 'guiding' it, it will be a great helper.

I didn't want to put too much effort into a song that is barely mine so don't judge it to hard. I lead the direction, but I might as well used only samples.

Frankly I am more afraid of AI taking over/destroying the world rather than the music scene...

BTW Izotope Ozone uses AI to master songs and it's quite good, although I rarely take advantage of it. And I have Ozone 9 which is a bit outdated, but still does the job as my mastering tool.

I've got to admit I gave it a few listens and started liking the song, made some fixes on the structure, I hate to admit it, but I spend 2-3 hours on it and I could of wrote a song or a demo in the same time.

As I said great generator for ideas when you are stuck or have a creative block.

https://soundcloud.com/lq5vxcb1rzbn%2Fdj-recharge-summer-rain
 
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Hensmon

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We also might see VR play a bigger role with music, with increased sensory/audio experiences. I dont mean being transported to a concert, more that artists will use both the mediums together and as VR becomes more realistic and accessible it could lead to some really beautiful stuff. Early iterations of this below.

I also think that further into the future we will have the ability to produce music completely from the mind, and that we may even be able to experience music and new sounds by bypassing the ear canal and plugging directly into the brain. Think of Elon Musks neuralink combined with audio inputs. There's definitely going to be new ways to experience music in the future that are probably hard to imagine now.

 

Hot Tuna

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Holy shit thats ridiculous. We should do this shit with the Trance classics.

It's worth pointing out that, like the Eurovision song above, the Nirvana AI song is presented in typical clickbait fashion; the reality is that the song's creation involved just as many human beings and production hours (if not more) as the creation of any normal song. The Rolling Stone article below details it quite well, although still avoids mentioning how the process jumped from output MIDI files to real instrument sounds (the vocals were sung by a real-life Kurt Cobain tribute act).


With so much unusable content in the output, it will always take a human to sift through and pick out the few good bits. We can train future algorithms to automatically reject stuff it knows we won't like, but then are we just pushing it back closer to a human mindset? Is that procedure really any more efficient than a band jamming for a day in the hope of coming up with one or two good ideas?

For the foreseeable future I think we'll only get a very mini-revolution in the adoption of such technology. It will be decades before computers can take over the majority of the process, and even then will humans connect any deeper than "oh, interesting" to music that is non-human in origin? Aren't the stories and the personalities behind records quite an important part of music fandom? Even when DJs can perform by pressing a couple of buttons every 5 minutes, we see that a crowd still needs that human presence on a stage to focus on.

It will also open up a new world of legal action. Artists/labels demanding to know if their song was used as training data for an AI composition, and claiming writing credits/copyright infringement if they believe they have a case.
 

Manofearth

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The key part for me is that technology always enables more people to try, but simplifying the process or making it more available, but for music that has seemed to be a negative so far. Who knows what continued downstream effect it will have. Saying that there is no question that we have technology to thank for all the new genres we experienced from late 80s onwards. That was a real frontier, maybe the last one we will have for a while.

Its fun to think about. In 100 years I think we will be able to create music with our minds, at least in part. This way, 99% of people might be able to bring track ideas to reality with thought and AI support. You also have to wonder if augmentations to the human brain will allow for music to trigger multiple sensory outputs as well, become more than just auditory.

It will also open up a new world of legal action. Artists/labels demanding to know if their song was used as training data for an AI composition, and claiming writing credits/copyright infringement if they believe they have a case.

That's an interesting point