Is Artificial Intelligence a Creative’s Friend or Foe? How Creators can move with AI, not against it
AI is generating paradigm-shifting revenue opportunities and creative tools for musicians, writes Inder Phull of interactive music ecosystem PIXELYNX, and we’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved.
AI + Creators – A Love/Hate Relationship?
For years, artists have faced countless challenges within the music industry. Whether it be pushing for exposure, fighting for financial compensation, or finding inspiration, these obstacles leave many artists feeling at odds, but what if these roadblocks could be lifted with the help of innovative tech?
Enter Artificial Intelligence. While the music industry’s relationship with AI is rocky as-of-late, the development of this technology is generating paradigm-shifting revenue opportunities and creative tools for artists. That said, we’ve barely scratched the surface of what can be achieved through the application of AI in the music industry.
AI is perceived similarly to how sampling was in the late 80s: a detriment to artists. But in retrospect, sampling gave birth to entirely new genres and is now seen as a powerful tool rather than an enemy that rips content or copies an artist’s voice. When used correctly, AI too could become an artist’s biggest ally in leveraging their talents and inspiring a new era for music as we know it.
How AI Could Be a Game-Changer
“utilizing AI to break free from long standing habits and explore innovative avenues of creativity”
In addition to improving opportunities within the industry, AI could set off a renaissance of music that consumers have yet to experience. While pushing the boundaries of art, AI could remove the barriers in the creative process, expand audience reach, and redefine how fans engage. AI just needs to be leveraged in the right way.
Musicians experimenting with AI to improve their craft is not a new concept. Although some applications may be basic like rendering album art, mastering tracks, or music production, Ditto Music found that 60% of musicians are already using AI technology in the music-making process. Grimes recently added to the AI hype by launching Elf.Tech, an AI software that mimics her voice. Not only is Elf.Tech an open invite for fans and creatives to experiment with Grimes’ sound and produce new music, but it also empowers them to push these songs for commercial release in exchange for half of the master-recording royalties. So whether it be discovering new sounds, creating unique visuals or even accessing new revenue streams, AI is proving to be an empowering tool for artists across all mediums.
Another big gain of AI is using it to drum up inspiration and break out of writer’s block. If a musician is stuck trying to ideate new lyrics, tools like Jasper and Ryter have already drastically altered the typical songwriting process, capturing different tones, moods, and complexities. AI could even open up a network of people who never thought they were artistic who can now suddenly express themselves artistically because of these creative aids.
Although different music genres and personas constantly infiltrate the music space, AI could inspire a new style of artistry, especially from a release perspective that makes music more interesting to a broader spectrum of fans. If a popular song exists as a country track, but AI can spin it into an EDM or hip-hop song, then an artist can expand their reach and acquire different audiences of fans. We’re also familiar with a song remix, but what if an artist could use AI technology to take their entire album and release several different versions that experiment with sound, genre, and visuals? Developing art to accompany visualizers, lyric videos, and entire music videos can also be improved using AI technology.
Perhaps even the most impactful is utilizing AI to break free from long standing habits and explore innovative avenues of creativity. While we as humans are limited in our capacity to absorb vast amounts of music, AI can easily consume entire musical canons. Consequently, an AI-assisted composer with such extensive musical knowledge could be an incredibly valuable collaborator, wouldn’t you agree?
Is It All Smoke and Mirrors?
Since ChatGPT took the world by storm, many industries are jumping on the bandwagon to onboard AI technology into their suite of processes. However, because AI can almost eerily mirror the human touch, artists are fearful that it poses a big threat to their industry, ripping off the voices, produced beats, and artistic styles of others, which could stifle creation itself.
Some fear that the uptick in generative music on playlists across Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud could disadvantage musicians even further in increasing their reach and exposure to new fan bases. Other platforms like Soundful are using AI to create popular royalty-free tracks, which some worry could field out work from composers and producers arranging tracks for film and beyond.
An artist’s voice and style are seemingly up for grabs as well, with users employing AI technology to turn rap snippets into fully realized songs without the artists’ consent. A Drake x The Weeknd track recently amassed 10 million views on TikTok, but fans later learned that it was an AI deep-fake created by Ghostwriter who later released a similar track with Rihanna x Bad Bunny. Same goes for another AI track of Drake rapping Ice Spice’s “Munch,” following Universal Music Group’s call to ban AI companies from accessing their copyrighted music.
These concerns have serious merit, but systems offering more control over the use of artistic content and the monetization of said content in new generative ecosystems are being developed. Companies like Adobe and Nvidia are also using AI to generate images, but they are paying royalties to the original artists whose work was used to teach their AI machines. This is a huge step forward in creating a fair, safe, and open ecosystem for AI to thrive without artists having to take the hit – afterall, AI is intended to be their ally.
AI Can Coexist with Artists
Art, whether it be a song or print, is incredibly personal to each creator, so it’s no wonder why many are quick to be skeptical of this unfamiliar technology or feel threatened by its perceived brilliance. But AI isn’t the genius – it’s simply a tool adjacent to one’s genius.
With any new technological leap forward, there’s a discovery phase in which possibilities are seemingly limitless and the destiny of a technology is still being written. If artists embrace AI during this time of discovery, they can have an immense influence over how it can work to their benefit. As we continue to workshop AI’s future within the music industry, artists will come to find comfort in knowing that the technology isn’t a threat. That’s because art isn’t just about the end product – fans love the story behind their favorite artists and their work: their background, identity, sound, aesthetic, and even the community that swarms around them. AI will only create more momentum and increase the magnitude of artistic expression, so creatives be ready – it’ll be here before you know it.