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To what extent am I still the original creator of a song where the AI programmed the drums, prepared the chord combination, generated the melody, and then did the mix and master? It can already do all that at a very high level. | Photo: Possessed Photography
To what extent am I still the original creator of a song where the AI programmed the drums, prepared the chord combination, generated the melody, and then did the mix and master? It can already do all that at a very high level. | Photo: Possessed Photography
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TOP 3 Possible Scenarios of AI Development in Music

As well as many other professions, musicians and artists of various fields will be fundamentally affected by the rise of AI (artificial intelligence).  And a lot of us are asking the same pressing questions: Is it time to quit? Or take the opportunity? What will change and what does the future hold? Let's take a look at the TOP 3 possible scenarios for AI development in the music industry.

Before we get into speculations and predictions of possible scenarios, it is good to remember that only a few (or no one?) can reliably predict the future. If that were the case, surely some experts would have told us that there would be an economic crisis, a covid or a war in Ukraine. All these events, which have fundamentally affected the course of our lives in the last fifteen years, were unexpected. Even the enormous machinery of the special intelligence services, where thousands of experts work full-time to predict world events, did not figure it out.

You may have noticed that everything is always analysed and explained very precisely after the event itself. Suddenly it is clear what happened, where and why. But as they say, hindsight is 20/20, so take these predictions with a proper pinch of salt and make up your own mind about what lies ahead.

1. AI dominance

We live in a world of unbridled capitalism dominated by profit and efficiency. Everything is focused on maximising efficient productivity that generates profit. We see the effects all around us. Automation is the ideal way for corporations to eliminate precarious and unreliable human assets and increase and, more importantly, accelerate profits. Thanks to AI, this model can now be applied to creative fields such as music, all visual arts, written text, spoken word and so on.

Especially in the commercial field, it is very clear that it is easier and much cheaper to generate music for advertisements, TV spots or even movies through AI. You don't have to worry about copyrights, royalties, deadlines, and most importantly you don't have to deal and negotiate terms with the composers of the music, who are very often strong characters with a vision and certain moral and artistic standards. Honestly, when you hear what kind of sound junk is often thrown at us from television, AI might even be a step forward in that regard.

In pop music, the influence of AI will also be felt. Algorithmic formulas for combinations of four-chord riffs, wrapped in sophisticated sound design, are an ideal field for AI. Have you heard AI versions of Kurt Cobain's, Freddie Mercury's or even Drake's voices? Incredible! I was shocked at how good it sounded. And we're just getting started! So now the question is, how will the copyright of famous singers' voices be handled? Who owns the voice of Drake or the late Michael Jackson? How will an AI-created song with the voice of a legend be monetised? I think the legal departments of the major labels are already sweating over all the possible implications. I mean, this is quite a time bomb under the chair.

2. AI assistance

This is the phase we are currently in. AI talks to you through Helpline, you talk to it through ChatGPT, it translates all sorts of language tidbits for you through apps, it controls a lot of mechanisms in factories, machines and countless devices that we have no idea about. AI is our silent and powerful worker that makes our lives easier. And we love it for that! Thanks for these gifts, one would like to say. Our life is much faster but also more comfortable.

The combination of human creativity with the efficiency and speed of AI offers tremendous possibilities. Can we exploit them all? Can we coexist with AI in an organic and complementary symbiosis? From a musician's perspective, it's great to use AI-driven instruments to compose music. It can provide us with sounds or combinations of chords and rhythmic patterns that we never dreamed of. But then it's up to us what we do with it and how we use it. So the final decision is still up to the human creator.

However, even in this optimistic scenario, we have plenty of questions. To what extent am I still the original creator of a song where the AI programmed the drums, prepared the chord combination, generated the melody, and then did the mix and master? It can already do all that at a very high level. Are we going to have some sort of data trail to differentiate AI-generated content from human, organically created content? Where is the line between AI as a tool and AI as a legitimate creator?

3. AI irrelevance

So this is my fondest and of course, totally utopian vision, which probably has the least (zero?) chance of success. However, let's have some fun with this hypothetical scenario as well. What if AI-generated art is just a fad? For a few years, we'll be flooded with AI music, photos, movies, games, YouTube videos, podcasts, and virtual concerts by AI-generated pop stars. We'll enjoy the perfection of AI, the wildest combinations of styles and imitations, but then we'll crave something real. A touch of "humanness", the imperfection that feeds the soul. But will it still be possible? Will we be able to accept the sound of a distorted guitar played through overheated Marshall tubes? Will we miss the pungent smell of a rock club? Will we feel the need to navigate the emotional swings and complexities of human communication? Will we still seek out the pitfalls of chaos?

In his latest video on AI, Rick Beato lamented that people just don't care anymore. They always prefer what's convenient or comfortable for them. Musicians aren't going to haul around heavy boxes and amps or learn how to sing if the autotune handles everything and an app generates lyrics on a particular topic. Why should fans go spend money in clubs when they can put on VR goggles and "experience" the concert in their living room? Again, there are a number of questions here that are impossible to answer. I wish all the dark scenarios just played out hypothetically like this and the Black Mirror vision of the world remained an artistic utopia.

What do you think? I can't even sleep and a strange mix of feelings resonate through my body and heart. There is no room for generic art, boredom or mediocrity anymore. If you still want to make music for a living or see it as your mission in life, it's time to start creating something that hasn't been here before. Find your true self and bring the world a style that will be worth emulating by AI. 

Author's Note: This article is the authentic work of a largely frustrated but still hopeful musician. No AI tools were used for the content and it was created as a result of a slightly painful process called thinking.

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Marek Bero
Bass Gym 101 books, touring & session bass player, football tactics aficionado.