“The musicians see that the sky is very cloudy and we are happy that it is not raining yet,” says Berto Rojo, composer and bassist of Niña Polaca. The spectacular irruption of applications created with artificial intelligence in artistic or cultural fields such as illustration, photography, video, writing or education causes a strange uneasiness in the world of music: Will the same thing happen to us? think artists and producers.
Rojo has an interest in innovation and already uses non-generative software in his artistic work, for example to improve models. But he believes that the great musical disruption has not yet exploded: “It is early. It is very different for an AI to understand an image than a song, there is much more information in a song. We are still a long way from being able to tell an AI ‘make me a Madonna song as if she played Chopin on the piano,’” he says.
google posted in January a system called MusicLM, that precisely generates music from text. For example: “A fusion of reggaeton and electronic dance music, with a spacey, otherworldly sound. That it induces the experience of getting lost in space, and that the music is designed to evoke a sense of wonder and amazement, while being danceable”, is the request of one of the 30-second melodies created by Google. The application is not open yet. Rojo has heard it and believes that “if you don’t tell a person that an AI has done that, it’s music that they could enjoy”, without perceiving that it is not the work of a human. This is the tune Google got from that request:
The novelty of Google is not the only one of the last days. the famous disc jockey David Guetta did sing to Eminem in a concert, although the voice was not the real one of the rapper but an equal voice but generated artificially. “I am sure that the future of music is in AI. Sure. No doubt. But as a tool Guetta told the BBC.
What if the music was (somewhat) different?
These are just two examples of AIs stalking music from various fronts: the melodies, the arrangements, the voices, the lyrics. It is difficult to think of an immediate future where AI does not have a role in artistic creation, at least as a “tool”, as Guetta says. The level of earthquake perhaps depends on intrinsic features of each art. Music has two presumed advantages over other disciplines. The first is that the musician and his audience have a more direct relationship than in other disciplines; it’s rarer not wanting to put a face to a singer or wanting to see him live. The second is that music already tinkers with a lot of software and has been digitally disrupted for years. Some styles have naturally internalized creating melodies from others, such as the use of samplesor generate sounds with a computer.
None of the experts consulted by EL PAÍS sees, however, these two exceptions as definitive or impermeable. The speed of change in the sector is unprecedented and anything is possible: “We can’t get any idea of what the world will be like in five years,” says Berto Rojo. “Either you learn or others are going to do it and they are going to push you away,” he adds. That speed has creative implications: “We believe that a song is more complex, that it takes another type of creative process or that it is more difficult to achieve an excellent final result,” explains Chiara Hellquist, director of Vevo Spain, a digital platform for music videos. “But we were saying the same thing when the MP3 came out and people have settled for listening to it with worst quality what a vinyl With the AI we will have more volume, and the speed with which the songs come out will be more intense, but we’ll see.
If now there are new songs by famous artists constantly, how many more can be created with the facilities provided by AI? “We will adapt. Right now I find it difficult to increase the pace of creation, but who knows, maybe 20 years ago it seemed impossible for an artist to release a song every month. Now it’s almost necessary to keep you in the limelight,” says Hellquist. New, more personalized platforms may also appear. Just five years ago, few thought that melody snippets were going to explode on TikTok. There are now themes with specific 15 second chunks ideal for the platform.
The other obstacle to the explosion of AI in music is the more direct relationship with the creator, something less common, for example, in illustration or in videos. But why can’t there be many more “musicians”, artists with little musical knowledge who for some reason know how to generate hits with AI? Berto Rojo, the composer, sees this conquest of musical space as feasible by people who know how to write requests to the machine: “This type of person could generate a community of fans around their music and make a living from it using AI. The artist is the one who decides what he leaves and what he doesn’t of what the application gives him. Another thing is to what extent are they going to be able to use the AIs for free and to what extent are they going to be able to monetize that music freely”, he says. The flooding of the music market is not entirely ruled out, but will a new platform emerge where we can consume even more and more personalized music?
There are already authors who today are coming closer to producing more quickly: “The new artists who are emerging in the bedroom pop or in the urban area they compose directly with a computer, and the production table is at home”, says Miguel Martorell, director for southern Europe at Altafonte. “An artificial intelligence applied to these tools can be very interesting because you won’t have to compose it, but you can directly ask the artificial intelligence to do it for you and adjust it”, he adds.
The role of bookstores
There is already a part of the sector, perhaps the most anonymous or with less creative value, that AI can sweep: the pre-recorded and royalty-free libraries for videos or advertising. “Now when you upload a video to YouTube, for example, you choose library music, ‘quiet piano music,’” says Martorell. “It’s still a standard that a lot of background creators use for their videos. An AI here can be very interesting because each creator can give some parameters and have an exclusive melody or song”.
These two examples are useful to understand this kind of natural evolution between what is already done and what AI offers. Now there are already AI applications that tweak demos to leave them with a very good sound: “You have a rock song and you want the volumes of the different tracks to be as close to rock as possible,” says Fran Leo, innovation manager at the record company. Subterfuge. “Then that artificial intelligence, into which a lot of rock songs have been put, analyzes how they are mastered, draws certain conclusions and applies it to yours.”
Tools like Lalal, Supertone or Bandlab, already widely used, come close to what a fully generative AI will do. This example is an artificial voice made with Voiceful from just the text, with no further technical requests for pitch, speed, timbre, or post-production. The creation of this artificial voice has taken about 20 seconds:
Those apps make what’s already there so much better without the help of a producer and hours of studio time. The following stages will progressively offer new options that are easier to use, such as this explained by Berto Rojo: “I have heard an AI with which you record a bass track at home with a bad sound card, you pass it to the AI and you can say, ‘Make me sound like the Pixies’ bass. And it is able to take your track and transform it into a professional. That opens a lot of doors because it will be easier to sound good,” she says.
The skepticism of some of the most disbelieving novelties, such as Antonio Luque, from Sr. Chinarro, also has its musical reasons: “Those of us who make pop rock songs know that the ingredients we use are few. we don’t use very complicated harmonic progressions like the ones in jazz. We know that everything is sol do re, re la sol and the ‘love song’ and ‘I saw you like this’, ‘I died for you’ and ‘until the end’ and the sun and the moon. With what we all handle, some make successes and most don’t. Not even the one who has made a hit has a guarantee that he will make another. If it were that simple, I challenge artificial intelligence to start making hits, ”he explains.
not everything was original
In other styles it is even clearer that the AI will not be such an innovative irruption: “Not all the songs that have succeeded are 100% original compositions. A vast majority of rap is based on samples, taking a piece of a song and remixing it and repeating it and layering it on top of other sounds to transform that melody into a whole new song. It is very common in certain genres and it has never been a problem”, explains Rojo.
Despite these details, it is likely, however, that the novelty is revolutionary for some reasons that are difficult to foresee now: “It is something that is scary. People who live off their own creativity may fear that suddenly this technology can do the same thing twice as fast”, says Berto Rojo. “There are two types of artists: those who are going to hate it and end up using it when everyone else is using it and those who realize that this is here to stay, that its growth is exponential and that to be competitive you have to learn to use it. It is as if Excel appears and you have a company and you say, no, I want to continue with my notebooks, ”he adds.
In the end, as in the rest of the arts, all those involved insist that they believe that humans will be strictly necessary to give their final creative touch. Or that the machines will bore us and we will have to select what is good. Or for even something else: “That artificial intelligence already exists. It’s called culture. They are centuries of songs. When I want that help, I listen to songs that have already been made and without realizing it, I recombine what already exists. If that is what the computer does, I prefer to do it myself”, says Luque, adding that, for now, it is time to smile: “It has a whole point of parody. I see it as a joke, even with a point of threat from technology companies to tell us that they can replace us whenever they want, as they have done with supermarket cashiers or those who fill the gas”.
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