AI is definitely taking over everything…including music.
Early this year, news broke out that Apple Inc. has bought a startup named AI Music.
AI Music creates music without paying a royalty fee and just using artificial intelligence (AI) instead.
In their Linkedin account, they have a goal of “giving their consumers the power to choose the music they want, seamlessly edited to fit their needs or create dynamic solutions that adapt to fit their audiences.”
Let’s nerd out for a bit what AI-generated music really is.
WHAT ARE AI-GENERATED MUSIC?
As mentioned, AI Music has a technology that creates music using artificial intelligence. Since human ideas are not utilized for the creation of the music, then it is a royalty-free music. AI Music’s idea was to generate a unique soundtrack that would continue to change based on the interactions of the user.
Let’s say there’s a gamer who uses the technology. What AI Music wants is for the technology to generate a soundtrack which would change depending on the mood the game is going for or on the mood of the gamer itself.
If the user works out then the technology should be able to pick up stimulus and change based on the intensity of the exercise or workout performed.
With this technology, there will be no need for people to make playlists based on moods. They’ll just use the technology and have a soundtrack that will fit their mood perfectly. It’s a good technology for music consumers.
But, of course, AI Music’s technology isn’t the only music-generating AI around. There are already a handful of these AI’s developed by composers and musicians for their own use.
With music-generating AI musician users, they will have a quicker and easier way to create or complete their music. It will surely be a great help for those who’re having a musician’s block.
MUSICIANS REACTION TO IT
Music can now be created through artificial intelligence. I’m pretty sure you’re wondering what musicians, the ones who create them not just for monetary reasons, are thinking. There was actually a very daring statement given by Grimes during her guesting on Sean Carroll’s Mindscape podcast.
She said that she feels like the end of human art has come. She added that, “Once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us.”
Her statements caused backlash from fellow musicians, though. Since music is an art that’s mostly personal and subjective, claiming that AI’s would be better at it feels like an insult for them. Zola Jesus called her the “voice of silicon fascist privilege”, while Majical Cloudz’ frontman Devon Welsh accused her in his tweet saying “Ask yourself, what side are you on? Silicon Valley facism and the bird’s-eye view of billionaires?”
However, musicians in general have been very welcoming with music-generating AI. They do not see them as a threat, but are instead seen as another door for more creativity in creating music. It is good to remember that without the manipulation or input for humans, these AIs would not be generating or creating any music at all.
“It’s provided me a sense of relief and excitement that not everything has been done — that there’s a wide-open horizon of possibility.” – ARCA, producer & singer
Arca is a producer that has worked on music with AI. She sees the technology as something that reaches out to musical directions no human mind could have thought of. The thought of it makes her excited since it broadens the art altogether.
“AI forced us to come up against patterns that have no relationship to comfort. It gave us the skills to break out of our own habits.” – CLAIRE EVANS, member of YACHT
Yacht’s recent album Chain Tripping used the help of AI to create the tracks within it. They listened through the melodies generated by the tech, cut those with interesting parts and then put them together to create the tracks.
Listening to it would have been so cool, but they had a problem when they needed to perform it. Since they were not the one to create it, it was not based on their physical skills so it was hard to practice playing it. However, the band members saw it as a challenge and pulled through.
“Our capability to collect, produce music, and collaborate with dozens or hundreds of artists expands,” – CJ CARR, co-founder of Dadabots
Last we have Carr who is a co-founder of Dadabots, a music-generating AI. He claimed that with AI, his quoted statement above would be very possible.
Aside from the expansion, he said that it can also help in training musicians in producing music just like how chess AI can improve a player’s game. He also wanted to see young producers, and when he said young he meant 14-year young producers, producing music that has never been produced before.
But even if it is widely accepted, there is still some skepticism towards it due to its impersonation of other musicians. This is especially pointed towards Jukebox which focuses on making music similar to the music made by a musician they were trained and given data on. Holly Herndon, one of the many artists who has worked with music-generating AI, contacted the OpenAI team to address this issue of intellectual property.
SONGS CREATED BY/WITH AI
I have been saying that even before last year started, there have been released songs created by or with the help of AIs. Here are some of them:
Eternal is a song from her album Proto which used the AI, Spawn, to create all its 12 tracks. Herndon created Eternal and the 11 other tracks of the album while directing both AI and band mates she worked with, blending both human and robotic sounds.
Brian Eno is very well known for being a pioneer in ambient music. Reflection is his 26th studio album which was released in 2017. The studio album lasts for 65 minutes and 24 seconds.
Miquela is a CGI character and instagram influencer created by Trevor McFedries and Sara DeCou. She released her single Not Mine in 2017 comparing her to virtual musicians Gorillaz and Hatsune Miku.
Break Free is a song by Taryn Southern and Amper, the AI. According to the description on the uploaded official music video on YouTube, the instrumentation was composed by Amper, while the lyrics and vocal melodies were written by Southern.
Yona is an AI virtual singer introduced by Ash Koosha in 2018. Yona’s Oblivious is a track from her 2018 album titled C. It was fully written and composed by the virtual singer with Koosha producing the track.
WHO OWNS THE MUSIC?
“Who owns the music created by an AI?”
If you ask any person the question above, most of them would answer, “The owner of the AI.” In fact if I was questioned myself, I would answer the same. Or maybe they’d answer “The AI itself.” These two are the most logical answers, you know.
However, in the eyes of the law, when you apply for copyright over an art, AI’s owners can’t apply for it. The office responsible for it won’t approve of it for sure.
WHY CAN’T THE AI OWN IT?
According to the U.S. Copyright Office’s Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices, Section 306, the U.S. Copyright Office will only register an original work of authorship if the work was created by a human being. Section 306 in full:
“The U.S. Copyright Office will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being.
The copyright law only protects “the fruits of intellectual labor” that “are founded in the creative powers of the mind.” Trade-Mark Cases, 100 U.S. 82, 94 (1879). Because copyright law is limited to “original intellectual conceptions of the author,” the Office will refuse to register a claim if it determines that a human being did not create the work. Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony, 111 U.S. 53, 58 (1884).”
This means that if an art was created by an AI, they will be rejecting the application for copyright. In the same compendium, Section 313.12 enumerates the kind of art that cannot be applied for copyright. Here are the examples:
- A photograph taken by a monkey.
- A mural painted by an elephant.
- A claim based on the appearance of actual animal skin.
- A claim based on driftwood that has been shaped and smoothed by the ocean.
- A claim based on cut marks, defects, and other qualities found in natural stone.
- An application for a song naming the Holy Spirit as the author of the work.
Though the AI is not enumerated in this list from the compendium, we can see why they will reject the application.
WHY CAN’T THE AI OWNER OWN IT?
There has been a claim of copyright on AI-generated art on the basis of “work for hire”. This means that the ownership was transferred to the human owner since in a sense, the AI is a worker for the owner.
However, this was not acknowledged by the court. They argued that AI’s cannot make their own decisions which means that they can’t also enter a binding legal contract. This makes the “work for hire” argument, due to being the owner of the AI, invalid.
There was an opinion from David Fosbo that suggested giving the ownership to the operator of the AI during the creation of the art. And I think I agree, because as I have already said, there will be no music generated without a human putting in data and operating the AI.
What about you. What are your thoughts on AI-created music?
James Hill is a veteran of the music industry. He first worked at Warner Reprise Records then later joined Interscope/ Geffen Records where he managed producers and songwriters and got his first platinum record for Keyshia Cole’s The Way It Is. He is now helping indie artists with branding and manufacturing through his company Unified Manufacturing, a CD/DVD, custom vinyl records and merch company in LA.