BY Adriana Gentile & Naftalia Allison
Montreal musician Gino La Posta goes by the stage name Atroxx. He takes on many roles, such as being a DJ, music producer, and content creator. At the end of the day, this all adds up to a big workload. But the time to complete those tasks has been cut in half thanks to artificial intelligence tools.
“It’s an unfortunate truth that the majority of the work as an artist now is through social media, it’s that kind of marketing,” he says. “AI is finally taking a lot of that burden off of us. In a sense, in my opinion, it’s allowing me to go back to being an artist.”
Prior to discovering these tools, La Posta hired a digital artist. Now, AI is taking over, creating unique album artwork and social media content for him.
“It was very time consuming to keep up with Instagram, keep up with making art, and different pictures, and like, the whole social media aspect of it,” he admits.
It even helps La Posta to generate lyrics and create song titles.
Montréal International has helped establish the city as a global hub for artificial intelligence.
“Between 2017 and 2022, Montréal International supported 49 AI-related projects,” says Senior Director Mark Maclean. “The total amount of investment reached $1.022 billion. Those projects created 2717 jobs.”
One area that is being greatly affected by AI is music.
According to a 2022 research paper published in the international journal Expert Systems with Applications, AI-based automatic music generation is gaining significant interest, especially among computer scientists and musicians. Professor and researcher at the Universidad Loyola Andalucía, Miguel Civit, who is also a corresponding author of the research paper, explains its increasing popularity.
“This last year and a half have shown a significant increase in the number of these commercial applications. Nowadays, even entities such as the SCl (society of composers and lyricists) are arguing about the role of AI in the future of music composition, and in particular, their applications for visual media,” he says.
Civit adds that there are endless possibilities for AI, such as generating music, creating playlists, and producing.
AI isn’t the only thing influencing music. There are other new technological advances, including ones that allow DJs to do live online sets.
One of the many AI music generators available is Beatoven.ai, a music composition tool for people creating content to make original background music. Several months after its launch in early 2023, it had already attracted 150,000 active users and roughly 16,000-20,000 music downloads monthly.
Mansoor Rahimat Khan, co-founder and CEO of Beatoven.ai, has seen the effects of artificial intelligence firsthand.
“The field, just in the last 10 years, if I had to say, has evolved at a very significant rate. In terms of research, there have been a lot of advancements that have happened,” he says.
Khan mentions that artificial intelligence has optimized tasks, not just in the music industry, but as a whole. It’s being used to automate a lot of manual tasks that don’t really require humans to keep repeating the same tasks every day. He believes that AI is only going to gain more popularity going forward.
“I think the next five to ten years will be super exciting in terms of just artificial intelligence as a field because it’s real, legitimate tech,” Khan says. “It’s going to play a very huge role in the music industry.”
Musicologist Rob Braide has over forty years of experience in the music industry. He says that although AI music generators are gaining popularity, they can’t replace what an artist is capable of.
“The challenge will be how you insert your own individuality into that without letting the artificial intelligence run away with itself,” he says.
Braide adds that AI makes it difficult to duplicate songs that showcase an artist’s uniqueness and individuality as well as the influence it has on others. Musicians have to do a lot of work to get noticed, and this is just another thing they’re going to have to learn how to penetrate.
“I think that anybody using AI has to be conscious of the fact that people have a really thick shit shield, and it’s going to take a lot of creative input to differentiate yourself,” he says.
Ultimately, Braide believes that AI makes it hard to develop what is truly important, and that the creative process is very unique to a human.
“I believe in the trends of creativity, and the nobility of artistic expression, and I think that that’s what will finally win out. It will be an individual’s ability to reach out and touch somebody’s soul with their artistic expression,” he says.
“If we are allowing a machine to express our culture, that’s just another expression of our broken world, and one of those things that we have no control over,” Braide adds.
Musicologist and Copyright Researcher at Third Side Music, Claire McLeish, feels that AI technology can be a good or bad thing, depending on how the artist uses it. She says she often wonders why some people are so keen on using artificial intelligence to automate things that humans can do ourselves.
“If it’s being used to compose a complete song, or as a stand in for musical labor that a human would do, I’m very skeptical of this,” she says.
McLeish is interested to see who will be in control of AI in the future.
“If we have a situation where the software company is the developers who are making the AI, they have written into their licenses that they kind of retain the rights, I think that could be very bad,” she says.
She hopes that creators will be reading the fine print when they use these kinds of tools. She mentions that AI applications usually use a certain data set. Copyright issues are something many people are wondering about.
“Who owns that, right? Is it the person who’s responsible for engaging with the AI and curating what comes out of it? Or is the person who created the AI software company going to try to make a claim of one of those songs if it gets very popular?” she asks.
Despite her skepticism, McLeish feels that AI can be a useful collaborative tool. Artists can use it to get an idea for a song, which can encourage their creativity.
This is the case for La Posta. Although he utilizes several AI tools, he doesn’t want it to take over his music career. When it comes to creating songs, he uses AI to help create melodies and gain information on how to get richness out of a sound.
Going forward, he hopes to keep these tools as a guide in order to improve the quality of his music.
“As an artist, I wouldn’t want it to create my music for me,” he says. “It’s scary what it’s capable of, and it just started to be released. Look at what it’s able to do in just six to eight months of being available to the public,” he adds.
Despite how others feel, La Posta believes that AI is the future of music.
“I think it’s the future, same as the future as everything else, the end of it all,” he adds.