How AI is Changing Music and Why You Should Care

Music is always changing and so is technology. But, what happens when we put them together?

Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Technology is an ever changing entity that can help and hurt us as a human race. Some people like it, and some people don’t, but it is indisputable that technology has helped humans do seemingly impossible things with ease. From saving lives to just simply making life easier, technology does a lot for you– but what does it do for music?

What is AI?

AI, or Artificial Intelligence, is a branch of computer science that creates machines capable of performing tasks that are normally only done with human intelligence. There are four different types of AI, each of which do something slightly different. These include:

  • Reactive machines: Things like Netflix choosing a movie they think you’ll like, or Spotify recommending a playlist of songs similar to your favorites
  • Limited memory: An example of this would be self-driving cars. This means it can store knowledge from the past while using knowledge from the present to analyze situations. 
  • Theory of Mind: There are no real world examples of theory of mind AI yet, because it is something that scientists are working on for the future, But, essentially, if this is successful, AI would have the ability to understand emotions and the way a human’s mind works.
  • Self Awareness: This is another form of AI that does not yet exist, but scientists feel that it will in the future. This is the form of AI that most people are scared of because movies have painted it in a negative light. This means that AI will be aware of itself and be able to predict human’s feelings.

Bedroom with musical instruments in it

Artificial Intelligence has been a significant part of the music industry for many years, and only continues to grow. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

How does AI correlate with music?

Artificial Intelligence is already beginning to infiltrate the music industry. Spotify has always used AI to create new playlists for customers that are based on what they have been listening to. But, Spotify recently announced that they will be working to use AI to create a “DJ in your pocket,” giving listeners a completely customized set of music for them to listen to. Soon, other streaming apps will likely be following suit, as this does not seem like an uncommon use of artificial intelligence. 

Another way that the music industry has been utilizing artificial intelligence is to bring back artists who have died. They have been recreating what musicians who have passed would sound like now for many years, but there has been a recent trend of entirely holographic concerts to give listeners and viewers the sensation of seeing them in concert, when many of them were not even alive when these concert viewers were. 

Musicians can also use AI as a means of helping with their creativity. Take David Cope’s EMI, or Experiments in Music Intelligence, for example. This is a type of software that helps musicians to compose their own music and get past their composer’s block. Artificial intelligence is not yet able to make up its own music, so it is only able to take what it is told and reproduce more material based on what it was given. 

brown guitar leaning on a patterned pillow

Artificial Intelligence can help to make a music therapist’s job significantly easier. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Artificial Intelligence’s effect on music therapy

Artificial Intelligence can be a phenomenal aid to music therapists when it comes to the creation of the music that they play on a daily basis. But, one thing that Artificial Intelligence lacks that is a necessity for music therapists is self-awareness and emotional awareness. So, for that aspect of music therapy, AI cannot be helpful quite yet. 

Artificial Intelligence can handle the smaller things, such as creating tempos and rhythms to utilize in your repertoire. This can help to make the job of a music therapist much easier. 

There is much room for Artificial Intelligence to grow within the field of music therapy, and many ways for it to continue to help make a music therapist’s job easier– which is ultimately the goal of AI. There are studies and research being conducted to further investigate the effects of AI on music therapy, both in the clinical sense and as a career, but as of now, we cannot say for sure the effects. 

robot hand clenching fist

There is no reason to be nervous about Artificial Intelligence taking over music industry careers. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

Why should we be nervous about this?

The biggest fear that people have when it comes to music interfering with Artificial Intelligence is loss of jobs. If a machine is eventually able to be self-aware, understand emotions, and predict what people can say or do, then this creates issues for careers like music, teaching, art, and a variety of other things. 

But, if you look at AI as a helping hand rather than something that is going to take over the world like a robot horror movie, it is a lot easier to comprehend how AI is our friend in the music industry and how it can be extremely helpful to many people’s careers. Artificial intelligence simply cannot replace the sensory experiences that a human can provide through music, so there is no way for AI to replace musicians all together. 

One of the large issues that come with Artificial Intelligence is copyright in the music industry. It brings up many legal issues, especially when a musician is dead or no longer releasing music, and AI is replicating their voice and leading people to think that unreleased music has been discovered, or that the individual is releasing new music again. This is already something that is becoming an issue, with people utilizing AI to make politicians and celebrities look as though they are endorsing a product or saying something compromising just to get a laugh out of people. 

Ultimately, there is nothing to worry about when it comes to Artificial Intelligence as long as it stays in the hands of the right people. The people who are creating it want to use it to benefit humans, not to harm them. If they continue to be used for this purpose, then it should be a good thing that is able to help a great deal of people. 

Artificial Intelligence can be a useful tool to many different careers when it is properly utilized. Image courtesy of Unsplash.

What is the future of Artificial Intelligence in music?

Many researchers believe that eventually, Artificial Intelligence will be able to compose real music in real time in the way that a composer or conductor could. This would be used for things that music does not need to be emotionally engaging– such as commercials or advertisements. 

As with everything in life, there are positives and negatives to Artificial Intelligence and what it can do for the human race. But, if used properly and to the advantage of certain careers, it can be a great tool, especially in regards to music and music therapy in particular. So, if you are interested in Artificial Intelligence as a musician, feel free to dabble in it. You may learn something new about your craft or find an easier way to do your everyday tasks.

Savannah Dawson
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