“That he not busy being born is busy dying…” —Bob Dylan
Don’t freak out, folks. It’s only a tool. I repeat: It’s only a tool. And so far, these water-and-emotion-infused human beings (aka, us) are the ones wielding the tool.
So, what to take away from artificial intelligence (AI) and its impact on creativity? Well, how I see it is that, when it specifically relates to music and sound creation for various professional sectors (record industry, advertising, film, TV, trailers, video games, and so forth), you better become a visionary producer of AI music prompt-engineering. Be like Rick Rubin! Think WWRRD (What Would Rick Rubin Do)? Get in there and make amazing music is what he’d do.
The music industry has always been a place where innovation and creativity have thrived. Now, with the advent of AI, the industry is poised to take a major leap forward. AI has the potential to revolutionize music creation, and its impact is already being felt. In the near-term future, an emerging role that will require a human will most likely be referred to as an AI music-prompt engineer. This combination of humans augmented by AI toolsets will create immense creative opportunities. Working in tandem with generative AI will be common, leading to new developments in music creation.
AI has already been rapidly changing the way we interact with technology and consume media, and the music industry is no exception. From creating personalized playlists to generating custom ‘jingles’, AI is transforming the music creation process in a variety of ways.
Unveiling AI’s dual nature: Exploring the Dr. Jekyll perspective
One of the most significant advantages of AI in music creation is its ability to analyze vast amounts of data quickly and accurately. This enables AI to learn from existing music and create new pieces that mimic the style, structure, and mood of existing songs. For example, AI algorithms can analyze a library of songs and generate a new piece of music that incorporates the elements of each song the user likes. This approach can save considerable time and resources while generating highly polished and sophisticated pieces of music.
AI can also assist in the creative process by suggesting changes and modifications to the music prompt engineer, who can fine-tune the output to meet specific requirements.
Here are 10 likely examples of requirements that a music prompt engineer may need to meet when fine-tuning the output of generative AI for specific music outputs:
- Tempo–Adjust the tempo of the generated music to match a specific BPM (beats per minute).
- Genre–Adapt the music style to align with a particular genre, such as rock, hip-hop, pop, classical, electronic, etc.
- Mood–Capture and enhance the desired mood of the music, whether it’s upbeat, melancholic, inspiring, or relaxing.
- Instrumentation–Modify instrument choices and their arrangements to create the desired sonic texture and timbre.
- Length–Tailor the duration of the music to fit within a specified timeframe, such as a specific duration for a commercial or a background track.
- Energy level–Adjust the overall energy or intensity of the music, making it more dynamic or calming based on requirements.
- Vocals–Integrate or exclude vocals based on whether the output should be instrumental or have vocals.
- Dynamics–Fine-tune the dynamic range of the music, controlling variations in volume and intensity for a more expressive performance.
- Structure–Refine the arrangement and structure of the music, including the intro, verses, choruses, and any transitions or breakdowns.
- Lyrics–If lyrics are desired, guide the AI in generating suitable lyrics that match the theme, subject, or narrative of the music.
This process can help to streamline the music creation process and ensure that the final product is tailored to the needs of the client or end-user.
But that is not all. The use of AI in music creation can lead to new creative opportunities that were previously impossible. For example, AI algorithms can be used to generate new musical genres or styles that are completely unique. This approach can help to push the boundaries of what is possible in music creation and lead to new, innovative sounds that capture listeners’ imagination. Similarly, it’s likely that AI will be used to generate new sounds and instrumentation combinations that have never been heard before, providing new creative opportunities for musicians and producers.
Navigating AI’s gray area: Balancing its promise and perils
However, it’s good to keep in mind that the integration of AI into music creation presents both new challenges and opportunities for musicians, producers, and engineers. From artists who can now push the boundaries of music through AI experimentation to those who fear its impact on creativity, it seems obvious that the integration of AI in music is both a source of excitement and concern, ushering in a new era of possibilities while raising questions about the future of human art.
While it’s true that AI engines are trained with tracks by you and other artists, it’s important to note that you and they never gave consent for this.
Let’s dig a little deeper into music creation, for example. The mere digitization and availability of your/their songs have led those tracks to end up in the AI. Similarly, when it comes to music recommendations and personalization, if you fail to label your music with the right tags, you might find yourself in the wrong playlist, ultimately missing out on reaching your intended audience.
And what about production and mixing? Will automating repetitive tasks such as improving audio quality or enhancing the overall production rhyme with job losses? Or will it enhance the creative process, allowing us to work sm[art]er?
Another good example of challenges and opportunities has to do with content ID and copyright. True, we might be able to identify copyrighted music and detect instances of plagiarism or unauthorized use, and yet, at the same time, AI can be used to revamp someone’s songs or albums and that, guess what, could infringe copyright.
Unveiling AI’s dual nature: Exploring the Mr. Hyde perspective
One major concern is the risk of over-reliance on algorithms and automation, which could result in a homogenization of music that lacks creativity and originality. It is essential to strike the right balance between using AI to assist in music creation and ensuring that the human element of creativity and inspiration remains at the forefront of the process.
Additionally, to mitigate the risk of copyright infringement, music-prompt engineers must ensure that their AI-generated music is sufficiently original and not a copy of an existing piece. And yet, this might still be pretty hard since the law is lagging behind.
Also, have we thought about the fact that, while all music AIs are, to date, trained on human-made music, with the speed of GenAI music, that algorithmic output will train the AIs from now on? This will lead to even more algorithmic music as an outcome. Music that humans might no longer want to hear since it’s created by algos for algos.
Paving the way for a new era of music innovation
Despite these challenges, I’m more optimistic than negative about the future of AI in music creation–and how human music-prompt engineers are likely to play a critical role in this process. AI can provide valuable insights and suggestions to music-prompt engineers, but the creative direction and inspiration must come from human beings if we don’t want to lose the unique essence and emotional depth of human-made music.
In conclusion, the near-term future of AI in music creation is exciting and full of possibilities. By combining the power of AI with human creativity and inspiration, we can expect to see new and innovative music that will push the boundaries of what is possible. While challenges exist, they can be overcome with careful consideration and collaboration between human music-prompt engineers and generative AI. Ultimately, the integration of AI into the music creation process has the potential to lead to a new era of creativity and innovation in the music industry. While somewhat cautious, I am far more excited for what’s to come of this wild combination of AI and HI. Let’s get in there and create more awesome music for the world.