This is some text inside of a div block.
5 min read

What Is AI and How Can Musicians Use It?

What Is AI and How Can Musicians Use It?
Published on
March 21, 2023
As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding itself more prevalent in the present, the benefits and doubts of AI’s contribution to the music industry are coming up.

In the right hands, AI can be a useful tool for musicians from songwriting to composing, and can break the writer's block barrier we face from time to time. Breaking down what AI is, we’ve done our research for you to provide the good, the bad, and the tools to try out to help with your music!

What is AI?

According to Britannica Encyclopedia AI is defined as a “computer or computer-controlled robot that performs tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings”. Although, there are different uses for AI. Based on learning models and predictions, the type of AI used is dependent on the way that they are programmed. Different machine learning models can provide different outcomes depending on whether they are programmed with supervised and unsupervised learning or reinforcement learning to name a couple. Although a new concept for the public to tinker with, AI is not a stranger in music, as it has been impacting the music industry for years already. Streaming services use AI algorithms to recommend you the next best track and the creation of AI-generated ambient tracks to help study have been in the game for years now. The next step has been the accessibility for AI to be a tool for musicians to use to help create new music.

The Good Bits

Quick Release New Music

In the forever quick-paced and changing music industry, it can be hard to make a break in the industry. With the impact of TikTok and streaming services on the music industry, there are new tracks discovered each day and becoming trending hits. We have seen the positive impact these services can have on a musician's career. With the assistance of AI music generation and songwriting tools, it can help write lyrics, create backing tracks, and help break the writer’s block you have experienced at least once. AI tools like ChatGPT can provide you with lyrics to a whole song based on the topics you give the service. Instead of flicking between a thesaurus and your song notebook, lyrical and instrument AI services can fastrack this to get you in the studio.

Low cost, High AI-fficiency

As recording equipment and studio time can be expensive, digital creation of instruments has been popular for years with systems like GarageBand. Although, depending on what you are trying to achieve, it can be a tedious task and quite frustrating. The benefit of having AI-generated instrumentals that are ready to go can speed up the process and have very little to no cost. Unlocking ideas that you may never have thought of, to give your track the wow factor you’re looking for at your fingertips can streamline the process and have it accessible almost immediately. As a lot of AI systems operate on a “freemium” basis that can run for free without paying membership to access the extra benefits. These options still operate at the same quality of the paid version, and you still get a top-tier track.

The Not-So-Good Bits

Harm To The Creative Process

Like anything, it is good to use things in moderation. Although with AI it can be easy to pump out lyrics to a song with a few clicks, it is important to exercise the human creative process. Writing lyrics and getting on the tools to create the tracks creates a more authentic experience, and puts your heart into the music. We understand that you may be stuck on the chorus for months before you finish it, but is there anything sweeter than the “A-HA!” Lightbulb moment you feel when you’ve finally found the melody? Use AI as inspiration, a little nod in the right direction.

Impact of Jobs

In the wrong hands, AI can impact the amount of jobs available to those in the music industry. Being able to successfully produce, mix and master tracks with the use of AI, although cost-efficient, can take the jobs of many. Still bouncing back from the effects of the pandemic, the music industry needs the support more than ever, from audiences, but professionals in the industry themselves. The music industry is a delicate ecosystem that needs the support of all facets. Whether you are a local performer or the next rising star, each part a person plays is like a cog in a machine.

Copyright issues

As we have already touched on copyright, the allocation of copyright and who owns the music can come into question in the age of AI. Copyright is allocated to ensure that the correct artists are paid and there is no plagiarism within their work. If an artist releases completely AI-generated music under a performing name, it comes into question whether the intellectual property (IP) and copyright will be allocated to the person that has released the work or the AI system itself, as the system was the one to create the piece. Releasing completely AI-created music can blur the lines of copyright and who owns the right to the music. As AI is new to public use, it will take time to uncover the negative impacts on the industry and how it can be managed by laws.

Have Fun and Play Safe

Uncovering AI and understanding the benefits and impacts of these tools is always useful while it is still a new concept. Although it may seem like an easy way to get music out, do not let go of the creativity that flows in you and why you got into music in the first place! As we said, it can be a great tool, but a tool nonetheless. Just like social media, use it mindfully and see what whacky, wonderful, and weird tracks you can come up with that can help propel your career to the next level.