On 16 December 2022, there was an amazing event in Metaverse. Notorious B.I.G aka Biggie Smalls- one of the greatest American rappers who was shot in 1997- was performing a concert on Meta’s Horizon World. Actually, it wasn’t him but his avatar created for the show. He seemed very much alive and fans have the possibility to see their favorite rapper one more time at a live event. What came to my mind after this musical entertainment is that it might bring to life many famous artists. It would give their admirers a new amazing way to interact with their favorite performers. I consider it a new way to experience and discover music. But here comes a question, is making money on dead artists ethical? The idea of transmitting music in this way is beautiful, it gives life to artists and makes their creativity immortal. But on the other hand, no one should make a profit out of it. What do you think about it? You can watch how the concert looked like here: https://fb.watch/hs_xLy3K1X/.
As Christmas is fast approaching, we are starting to hear the holiday classics everywhere. From All I Want for Christmas at the Supermarket to Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree on the radio – Christmas songs are virtually unavoidable.
But I’d like you to think of the artists behind these songs – most of Spotify’s Christmas Hits playlist is comprised of songs recorded or written before the first manned mission to the Moon.
Naturally, many of the authors and performers listed in the credit sections of these songs are long gone – Bing Crosby died in 1977, Nat King Cole passed away in 1965 and Frank Sinatra departed in 1998.
It’s a shame that we won’t be able to hear any new songs from them.
But what if it doesn’t have to be that way?
That’s where OpenAI’s Jukebox comes into play.
Debuted in April 2020, the technology analysed over a million songs, along with their lyrics and metadata (release date, genre, mood) and is now capable of generating full tracks in the style of any well-known artist. The company shared a range of demos, designed to resemble artists such as Alan Jackson, Katy Perry, or Elvis Presley. Most notably though, the song that stands out is “Hot Tub Christmas”, in the style of Frank Sinatra. While the “recording” quality might not be perfect, the timbre of the “singer’s” voice is eerily similar to that of the legendary American singer.
Though the lyrics have been co-written by a language model and OpenAI researchers, the chord progressions and instrumental cohesion are very well replicated in the computer-generated mp3s. The team behind Jukebox is aware of the software’s faults, as “[…] the generated songs show local musical coherence, follow traditional chord patterns and can even feature impressive solos, we do not hear familiar larger musical structures such as choruses that repeat.”2
Jukebox doesn’t analyze the actual notes in the songs, but only relations between pitch over time. An upside of such an approach is the possibility of highly realistic human voice creation. For their future endeavors, OpenAI plans to integrate a note-to-MIDI technology which would detect the rhythms and exact notes, which would allow for a deeper, more natural, and precise song creation – perhaps with the use of software instruments or synthesizers for higher file and sound quality.
Jukebox, at this point, is treated by the music industry as a mere curiosity, with no real applications – even despite a new feature of creating an acapella file from user-generated lyrics being introduced. This dynamic might change in a relatively short time if Jukebox becomes able to create classically written songs, providing the notes, rhythms MIDI files behind them. With such possibilities, songwriters and producers could streamline their music creation processes and massively increase their output.
The current market situation is visualized by the fact that most of the investments poured into creative AI come from Venture Capital and Tech Corporations – not from the Music Industry.
At this point, it does not seem like any songwriter or producer jobs are endangered. High quality audio files have incredibly many timesteps which encode data – a standard 4-minute-long song in a .wav 44.1 kHz file will contain over 10 million timesteps. Currently, a song needs to be almost fully produced and designed by a professional before being rendered into such a complicated audio file.
The process of AI art generation is slowly being integrated into commercial culture, with the generator Midjourney winning the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition. Jukebox and similar technologies are often criticized for taking away the humanity out of art, while some perceive it as an opportunity to augment their creations through technology.
To me, it seems inevitable that Artificial Intelligence will be widely used in the music industry – major labels will push for anything that can give them a competitive edge in business.
We must also take into consideration the legal implications of Jukebox. Our laws don’t include AI “artists” and thus, there might be copyright implications. Who is the de facto author of such a song? The AI developer, or the person who entered prompts into the technology to create a specific tune? How do we split royalties for such songs? Furthermore, is it acceptable ethically to expand dead artists’ catalogues?
In conclusion: AI is slowly entering into creative arts, especially the music industry, thus expanding songwriters’ and producers’ output and possibilities. It appears that in this case, the risk of actual people being replaced by technology is lower than in easily automated and routine operations.
This time, I’ll ask the classic question: do you think that AI art is proper art? Should it be publicly disclosed that a song or a painting was generated through Artificial Intelligence?
According to a report by Ericsson Connected Intelligent Machines, 20% of consumers prefer AI-driven content to human-made content. The results show that the creative race between people and machines is currently underway. However, it is too early to announce the winners, because still, every fifth respondent prefers content created in a traditional way.
Consumers predict that mass media will be increasingly influenced by automation by 2030. In fact, the future may be closer than we think. Today, even the most basic AI language generators are proving to be good enough content creators on social media platforms.
The future of content creation may lie in human-machine collaboration. One interesting area where this is already happening at the mass market level is in science fiction literature. Famed Chinese SF author Chen Qiufan, competing with writers such as Nobel Prize winner Mo Yan, recently won a literary competition in Shanghai with his short story “The State of Trance” which featured AI-generated passages.
Will Artificial Intelligence reach the film or music area?
A report from Ericsson found that consumers consider film and music to be the domain of human creativity. Six in ten respondents say they would prefer human film producers to AI counterparts. However, most of this group of respondents are apparently unaware that AI is already being used in the film industry to support human decision-making.
Currently, consumers are still more likely to choose humans as music makers, 65% of respondents believe. However, the Connected Intelligent Machines report also found that six in 10 of us believe that “artificial musicians” will be able to surpass humans on the charts by 2030.
Do you want to know how terrible your taste in music is to end an already terrible year? Look no further than the “How Bad Is Your Spotify” project on Pudding.cool, that will ridicule your taste in music, in a good way of course.
If you’re a Spotify user you probably got your Spotify Wrapped earlier this month which nicely summed up your music taste for this year. The Pudding’s new AI tool is nothing like that. Besides analyzing your listening history, it interacts with the user in a playful manner.
The app uses artificial intelligence which was trained by by Matt Daniels and Mike Lacher for The Pudding.
Once users visit the website they are asked to grant access to their Spotify to let the “sophisticated A.I” judge their “bad taste in music”.
The bot explains that it has “been trained on a corpus of over two million indicators of objectively good music, including Pitchfork reviews, record store recommendations, and subreddits you’ve never heard of,” when you click on “how do you know what’s good?”
The quiz takes users through a series of amusing questions making you feel like you’re chatting with a passive-aggressive snarky friend. It said things such as: “lol… omg… okay hold up… Do you really listen to [artist name]…?”
After the A.I is done mocking your musical taste with its questions, it analyses your answers and tells you how “bad” your Spotify is.
The AI bot gives a rundown of tracks the users listen to “too much,” artists they listen to “to an uncomfortable extent,” rates how “basic” your musical taste is and highlights the decade you’re “stuck” in.
Mike Lacher, one of the brains behind the witty bot says,”We wanted to make something similar to Spotify Wrapped, but instead of celebrating your music, it would insult it. For us personally, we knew that the stuff we stream privately is often embarrassing, so we thought it would be funny to make a bot that would look through all that stuff and judge you. We wanted it to feel like a judgemental friend, or a snobby record store clerk.”
Many, after using the app, went on social media to share their results. One twitter user commented “the accuracy of the how bad is your Spotify thing is terrifying.” Another user said “I tried the “how bad is your Spotify playlist” AI and I am too embarrassed to share the results…”
It’s all fun and games but it’s important to realize that artificial intelligence and the music industry are incredibly linked together. The fact that they can store an incredible amount of information for comparison and analyze human taste on a platform like Spotify can open a new era for the music industry.
Go check out “How bad is your Spotify?” on pudding.cool !
Reading Time: 3minutesThe new function aimed at Spotify will allow us to slightly broaden our musical tastes. All thanks to our friends from the platform.
New Spotify’s feature logo Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/
How music sharing options look like now?
Thinking about what Spotify can offer today, we can mention social media integration. It is a popular feature that enables users to connect their Spotify accounts to their Facebook and Twitter profiles. That lets them access their friends’ favorite music and playlists and share their choices with others as well. Individuals can create, share, and edit playlists with other listeners. If users want recommendations, they can integrate their system with Last.fm, an application that provides music recommendations based on listening history. However, this is an external application that does not belong to Spotify. You can also view a Friend Activity ticker of songs your Facebook friends are currently listening to on the desktop app. You can search for specific users and follow them or view playlists they’ve made public too. Spotify doesn’t promote user search much anyway.
Why Spotify need a change?
Sharing playlists on Spotify is not a problem, but when it comes to speeding up the entire algorithm, things get complicated quickly. If we listen to music in a random way, it is known that Spotify will not start sending us recommendations based on it. If that were the case, playlists created using algorithms would not suit certain user’s tastes. Social sharing has never been the main priority for Spotify. The Activity Feed, which shows what your friends are currently listening to, is limited to the desktop version of Spotify. The in-app messenger for sharing music was nixed in favor of letting users share songs on social media or on their Instagram Stories. Apparently, that was a mistake as far as we know that Tastebuds is coming.
Tastebuds feature on Spotify Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/
But what will Tastebuds really give us?
As the information on the site is telling: Tastebuds will let your friends discover music that you trust. This description appears in the tab that has not yet been launched, but the developers have already sewn it in the application – in the left column, next to the Home Page, Browse and Radio. The prototype feature was discovered in the web version of Spotify by reverse engineering sorceress Jane Manchun Wong. She gave some more details on how it works. By tapping on the pen icon, users can view information about what their friends have been playing most. Then, they can easily listen along or add songs to their own library.
Tastebuds feature discovered in the web version of Spotify thanks to reverse engineering Source: https://techcrunch.com/2019/12/18/spotify-tastebuds/
When will the new feature come into effect? There is no official information about it. A Spotify spokesperson confirms that they are always testing new products and experiences, but have no further news to share with the audience. For now, anyone can access a non-functioning landing page for the feature at https://open.spotify.com/tastebuds. Tastebuds could be a rebranded version of the Friends Weekly playlist that was discovered in May 2019. Whatever it may be, the test could be a sign of more social listening features to come.
Social is a huge but under-tapped opportunity for Spotify. Social recommendations could get users listening to Spotify for longer. While competitors like Apple Music or YouTube might offer similar music catalogs, users won’t stray from Spotify if they become addicted to social discovery through Tastebuds.
Do you think Tastebuds is just what Spotify needs? Maybe something else would make the application more user-friendly? Share your opinion.
Reading Time: 2minutesArtificial Intelligence is a growing trend in technology. Most of us are aware of the fact that its importance is steadily increasing. Some people say AI is, in fact, the most important topic for our future.
Looks like we should start getting used to it and finding a place for AI in our lives. Of course, it is widely used in business already, Accenture calls AI ‘fuel for growth’. However, what I wanted to talk about is a solution that can help you learn, relax or fight insomnia thanks to Artificial Intelligence.
Brain.fm is a service offering AI-composed music that will help you trigger specific cognitive states. This includes deep focus, relaxation, and sleep. Music is obviously powerful and we know that. That’s a rule all movie soundtracks are based on. But Brain.fm goes even further. The product has a lot of scientific research behind. Starting with how neuronal oscillations control cognitive processes to showing how music entrains neuronal oscillations.
There are plenty of researchers from various universities behind Brain.fm. There are even experiments ran to measure effects of the AI-composed music on cognition. Measures included Reaction Time (RT), Go-No Go (GNG), Visual Pattern Recognition (VPR) and EEG. Detailed results are presented here, but well, you probably guessed them already ;).
What’s interesting, even athletes use Brain.fm. It lets them focus and then relax and meditate. For athletes, especially those from Olympic teams, the pressure is huge. Psychological aspects of sports are as important as physical ones. It’s not something new that during finals of the most important championships, mind is equally important as body and only people who have nerves of steel will win. Robby Smith is the US Olympic wrestling team captain and he was using Brain.fm during Rio preparations. This is a great example of balanced preparations and another use of AI.
The solution sounds brilliant, doesn’t it? What’s worrisome a little is the legal info. If the AI-composed music so beneficial to us, why do have to be so careful about it? If it might be dangerous to epileptics, pregnant women, people wearing a pacemaker of ones who drank alcohol and took medications, then how can we be sure it’s safe to the rest of us? Isn’t it just too misterious, with no explanation following the legal info?
For sure, the solution is brilliant and can help many people who can’t focus or sleep. Knowing the reality of today’s and huge problems people have with focus, seems like the demand will be only growing. But can we really trust Brain.fm? I’m sure we’ll find out about it soon!