What Will AI Mean for the Future of Music?

AI music

Photo credit: Possessed Photography

Artificial intelligence can now create music. Yes, the quality of AI music right now kind of sucks, but it will only get better over time and as people use it more. So what does this mean for the future of the music industry? What does it mean for your music career? Let’s explore that question…

What Does AI Music Sound Like?

First, let’s see where the state of AI music is today. There are plenty of websites and pieces of software that use AI to create music. But what does this music sound like? And is it passable as “human”? Well, I’ll just let you listen to the tracks below and you decide for yourself.

Sad singer-songwriter

I used AIVA to create a sad singer-songwriter track. You can listen to it below. As you can hear, the vocals do sound somewhat real but they’re out of tune. The music itself isn’t bad.

Uplifting orchestral

I also created an uplifting orchestral piece with AIVA, which you can listen to below. To be honest, it sounds like a computer made this. Or someone who’s making their first track with a bunch of fake-sounding MIDI instruments.

Energizing Hip-hop

Soundraw is a company that has a bunch of tracks already created by AI, so I’m not sure how much editing was done by a human. But the below hip-hop song isn’t horrible, and I can hear it working as background music for a low-budget commercial or social media video.


Chill/lo-fi hip-hop

Last, we have Boomy, which made the below lo-fi hip-hop track. This track also sounds like a newbie made their first song.


How AI Could Affect Music Producers

As a music producer myself, I’m not scared of the development of AI. I’m excited to see more AI-powered tools that will help us make better music. There are already a bunch of plugins that run on AI, the most well-known being some of iZotope’s plugins. And then we also have AI-powered mastering from companies like LANDR, eMastered, and Aria mastering.

My point is, AI tools will help producers do their jobs better. Here’s the thing: a producer is only as good as their ideas. And artists hire producers because of their ideas as well as the specificity they can have with a fellow human that AI does not offer (yet).

How AI Could Affect Songwriters

We already have AI tools to help songwriters find inspiration and ideas. And there are websites that will write lyrics to an entire song.

In fact, below are lyrics generated from this site with the prompt “I love you”:

– – –

I don’t want you to miss me,

So go away and leave me,

Because you know, I don’t believe you can.

All those good things that you do,

I just want them to stay with me.

I don’t need you,

I just need you to see me,

Wherever you may be,

I just want you to be there.

I don’t want you to say good-bye,

So go away and leave me,

Because you know, I don’t believe you can.

I don’t need you,

I just need you to see me,

Wherever you may be,

I just want you to be there.

– – –

Yeah, not that impressive.

The main thing human songwriters have over AI songwriters is the human experience. A human songwriter has their life story, and they can put that into a song. And knowing the story or inspiration behind a song can make it more powerful for the listener. AI can’t pull from their lived experience because it’s just 1s and 0s.

Could AI write a song that sounds like the human experience? Sure. But that’s the thing, it’s coming from a computer, not a human. You, the human songwriter, add a depth to your songs that only you can through your story.

This is why human stories will become even more powerful than they are now. People feel seen when they hear a well-written song, and they’ll continue to crave that feeling.

How AI Could Affect Sync Licensing

AI is surely already affecting micro licensing, which is when people pay to use tracks in their low-budget projects, like YouTube videos, social media ads, and videos created by a company for internal use. People can go to any number of sites and pay a super small fee to get the background music they need.

This means websites that license artists’ music for pennies may not need those artists anymore. They’ll either create an unlimited amount of AI-powered music or offer a service that allows their customers to generate the music themselves.

However, it’s going to be a while (probably not in my lifetime) before AI starts taking over the bigger licensing deals, like when an artist’s song gets placed on Grey’s Anatomy or in an Apple commercial. Why? Because of what I mentioned above about the human experience.

The songs used in big-budget TV shows and commercials have that human quality. The songs are sung by a human and they tap into a relatable human emotion. And the success of the scene or commercial relies on the viewer feeling that human connection, feeling seen.

How AI Could Affect Performing Musicians

Live music will be the last aspect of music that AI will touch. In fact, I don’t believe it will ever take over the performing industry. Why? Because people crave person-to-person connections. And the best place to get that is through experiencing a human perform their vulnerable songs in the same room as you. AI can’t take this from us.

As AI becomes a bigger part of our lives, authenticity will become even more valuable. We’ll continue to seek out human connection, which means live music will thrive even more than it is now.

Sharing your story and the inspiration behind your songs, whether online or on the stage, will be even more important. AI will never be human and can never truly experience what it’s like to be a living, breathing, bag of water like you and me. So lean into your human experience and share it in your music.

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