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AI's Effect on Music

Updated: Jan 12

by Charles Arencibia

Photo by Marcela Laskoski on Unsplash

Could you produce and create a song by hip-hop artist Drake without even having a foot in the music industry or any way to contact Drake? With artificial intelligence (AI), you can. Any person with the right program can create music that is nearly identical to the artist it is imitating.

And now, continued development in AI has led to the creation of AI-generated music. In late April, an AI-generated song called "Not a Game" was released on Soundcloud and Youtube. It featured AI-generated Drake vocals, which were also used in another AI-generated song called "Heart on My Sleeve," which also featured a Weeknd AI-generated voice.

AI-generated vocals have been used on other songs. Kanye West's vocals were used to replace the vocals on popular songs using AI. But "Not a Game" seems to be entirely artificially made using AI and pre-produced tracks.

The use of AI to produce music is raising questions regarding the need for producers and artists with the capabilities of AI. It also raises the question of competition and what it means for the industry.

Columbus Musician and Expert Opinion

AI-generated music has been seen as a threat to the integrity of creativity and originality.

A Columbus expert in music theory, musician, music producer and Fine and Performing Arts Department Head, Mr. Cooper, explains the difficulty in detecting AI-generated music and explains the early application of AI in lyricism and its evolution.

"It’s tough to tell if the music is AI-generated. People start using AI to write lyrics when they are stuck on something. People use AI when they are stuck on trying to come up with a new concept, chord, or idea."

But he isn’t certain if it is going to ruin the music industry and brings up a greater question about music as a form of expression.

"I don’t know if ruining the music industry is the right way to put it, but it definitely will change it forever. From my experience, the best songs are written when people are together creating in a room. I worry that the soul of music will be lost from AI-generated songs. I imagine people will get lazy and start using AI more often to just be quicker about their work."

Mr. Cooper is hopeful that AI will not consume the music industry since record companies have the incentive to prevent AI from taking over the industry.

"I am unsure of how things play out. I know record companies are doing their best to eliminate all AI because it means they will make much less money. I think waiting to see how things play out for about a year or two is the move. I imagine things will progress quickly with AI but I don’t know how significantly it will change things."

Musicians and artists can only hope that listeners will prefer the originality of their work as opposed to the AI's unimaginative fabrication of music.


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