The world is absorbing generative AI like a sponge, and as the curve of interest smoothens, we are entering the phase of mass business adoption. The music industry has been using artificial intelligence for years, but the popularisation of genAI brought another wave of innovative solutions and features. And there’s still so much to discover! Whether they focus on the creators’ or listeners’ side, the possibilities of engaging genAI are immense.
Having both tight-knit relationships with the music industry (Abbey Road Studios, Dolby, Warner) and extensive experience in implementing artificial intelligence for business purposes, we decided to turn our expertise into a full-blown music-oriented webinar exploring the potential of Generative AI. We came to interesting conclusions, and we want to pass them further! From the inspiring generative AI use cases in music to the forecasts of the future trends, here are our key takeaways from the recent event.
AI in the music industry – from AI to genAI
When you think about AI in the music industry, the first things that may come to mind are probably Spotify’s algorithms that understand your music taste better than any of your friends or curated playlists that deliver you mood-fitting sets of songs. The genAI revolution extends the use cases of AI in the music industry, unlocking immense business possibilities, and startups are there for it!
While AI focuses on detecting patterns, generative AI is a subset of AI focused on producing new content using models like GANs, capable of creating realistic data, such as images, text, and more, based on existing examples. What does it mean feature and future-wise? Here are some key excerpts from our webinar that could bring you some business ideas or help extend your music product.
The impact of genAI on music creation
How would Lana del Rey’s songs sound if sung by Jim Morrison? Before the generative AI boom, we could only imagine. Today, channels with AI-generated music are popping up like mushrooms, but that’s just the peak of the iceberg. New apps are emerging, helping musicians (and non-musicians, too!) test their ideas and bring them to life with no resources needed. While some have preconceptions regarding what is an AI-generated music and how it may sound, the truth is, at this point we are already incapable of distinguishing the artist from its clone. We may ask ourselves: would Drake be actually into covering Colbie Calliat, but that’s all we’ve got.
Artists can use gen-AI-powered tools to generate audiovisual content in an instant and save time on the creative process, turning a hum recording captured in a blast of inspiration into a full-blown ballade or describing the general idea behind their piece and its mood to see it materialise in front of their eyes. It feels like magic, but it’s just the power of the generative models! With their help, musicians can turn words, images, and other references into music and change the pieces’ style and genre, converting the pop song into a jazz masterpiece or classic into grunge.
Although this strengthening presence of genAI in audiovisual arts causes some concern in the community, it can also help artists overcome creative blocks such as the dreaded ‘blank page syndrome’ and push their boundaries. It does not replace the creatives, but rather adds a new angle to the creative process they can engage in. Music generators can help them broaden their horizons and are like a breath of fresh air when the deadlines are approximating and the audience is waiting for another release.
Using AI in music production is becoming a standard practice. Artists can now automate the parts of the recording process that were once manual, like mixing. As a result, they gain more time to focus on the actual creative process instead of finessing the technicalities of their record. Also, with the visual-oriented platforms gaining importance in driving music consumption, it becomes crucial for artists to deliver this type of content. However, they often lack the resources to do so. The genAI tools give them the opportunity to create a visual component automatically while they focus on recording.
GenAI and copyrights
These new possibilities come at a cost of regulatory challenges. Will AI-generated music get copyright protection? Does the song mimicking a famous pop artist violate copyright law? Could they restrict the usage of their AI-generated voice? There are no sufficient regulations at the moment, and we will definitely need them in the near future if the genAI music wave continues gaining momentum (and it likely will).
The artists themselves may also try to take legal actions that will prevent the machine-learning models from absorbing their music data for training purposes. Let’s see what the future brings in legal terms – without a doubt, some frameworks should emerge soon as the Ai-generated content involving the artists’ clones continues to flood the platforms.
The impact of genAI on music distribution
Centralisation is a common issue across industries, and music is no exception. The market is dominated by a few big players, and that causes a few significant issues. First and foremost, it is hard to break through such competition, even if your idea has all the potential to do so. At the same time, the centralised market does not support innovation. Could the AI boom accelerate decentralisation in the music industry?
Our expert, Pete Downton, definitely sees that coming. The market share of music labels in the recorded music industry has already fallen from over 80% to about 75% since 2016, following the digital transformation. AI fuels a more agile distribution approach, potentially opening the door for local and niche musicians, who are less likely to break through the centralised label-artist-distribution company model.
The artists can still secure their due royalties without getting into this complex revenue structure, which leaves them with a smaller cut. AI-powered platforms allow them to distribute their music directly to the streaming platforms in an automated manner, leaving them with 100% of royalties. That shift doesn’t mean that the labels have stopped growing – quite contrarily.
The impact of genAI on music consumption
The metamorphosis that the music industry has undergone throughout the last two decades has completely changed the way we access and approach music. There are generations that do not remember the world from before the streaming platforms, which have embraced AI since the very beginning of their existence.
Enabling immersive experiences
The top streamers have made personalization and facilitated access to music their core strengths, adapting NLP for more user-friendly search and sophisticated AI algorithms for curated playlists matching the user’s music taste. With genAI, these playlists and recommendations could gain another dimension, including AI-generated songs or collabs between your favourite artists and providing additional content for a more immersive experience.
Immersiveness is an important keyword here. Live music experiences are beginning to mirror the online ones, establishing a new, more relatable way of interacting with the fanbase. As Pete underlined, the new wave of AI adoption also enhances the music companies’ capabilities of processing user data and using them to extend the artists’ audience and strengthen their relationship with the fans.
Bringing artists and fans closer
The labels that support the most successful artists in the world often don’t have a solid touchpoint with the consumer, and that does not allow them to play a role as a trusted advisor to those artists. GenAI enables them to facilitate feedback loops with the consumer at a far greater scale than it was possible to date, allowing companies to support artists in building audiences without immense resources.
According to our expert, the DTC-oriented model is a model of the future in the music industry, and the companies that moved away from it will have to recalibrate their approach to fit into the changing business landscape. Fortunately, there are various tools that facilitate such a shift, and there will be more coming. With AI analytics tools, artists can understand their fans’ needs better and, with genAI – respond to them in a personalised manner.
What impact will genAI have on the music industry?
Once we moved away from mp3 album releases to streaming, platforms started serving primarily the paradigm of utility. The AI fuelled that switch, and now it may help us come back to a more comprehensive, audience-oriented distribution and consumption model. It’s not a regress, since the accessibility of the musical resources will stay the same if not enhanced – but offering fans new ways of engaging with their favourite artists and music.
The potential of the personalised experience in music
Pete points out that from his perspective, one of the most exciting aspects of these new technologies is their potential to personalise the user interface really deeply. Thanks to genAI, artists, labels, and distributors will be capable of creating more dynamic experiences, providing context to the music and opportunities for the audience to engage with the art in an interactive manner.
Using the resources that already exist, they will be capable of curating personalised content and delivering it to fans in an appropriate way. What will it mean exactly? Bonus tracks curated specially for you, personalised lyrics, AI-generated video content based on archival materials, timelines, automated chats, and personalised Q&A on demand – there are various solutions you could reach out for. Having access to all these tools, artists will be capable of building communities and maintaining a conversation with the audience, understanding, for instance, whether their new concept or artistic persona resonates with the fans and incorporating this knowledge into the future dialogue.
Music industry jobs and the genAI
The new wave of AI adoption can encourage music companies to look beyond their existing revenue streams. GenAI will also likely impact the job structures within the music industry, reducing the role of the middlemen and the complexity of the teams that stand behind the artist. While their role is often crucial, particularly when it comes to international stars, their complex structure can make the artists drift apart from their audience, which never acts in favour of their career in the long term.
AI is also reformulating musicians’ approach towards collaboration. As Pete mentions, the pandemic changed the way artists would collaborate, removing the location obstacle. Instead of gathering in one studio, they would record from different places in the world using online collaboration tools. Rather than remaining a temporary trend born out of necessity, this new model became a new standard. No wonder both artists and labels prefer it – it’s cheaper and more environmentally friendly (fewer trips, fewer flights, less management), and at the same time, it brings together musicians that maybe would never join forces otherwise.
AI in music industry – 3 future trends
- We’re entering a renaissance in music.
Soon we will likely see an explosion of different experiences or forms of experiencing music that were not possible to create and put in front of the broad audience to date.
- The division between the physical and digital realm will continue to blur.
That will bring opportunities for the music industry to create immersive experiences that before were only accessible in our homes to the public spaces. Instead of getting into the metaverse, music companies may rather opt for curating real-life events that drive social interaction, enhancing them with digital tools.
- The individual spectator’s experience will become highly personalised.
Fans around the world crave better experiences – the vinyl renaissance is a good exemplification of this trend. GenAI enables music companies to monetize these needs sustainably. Instead of extracting more income by raising prices across their revenue channels, artists can do it by building long-term engagement, which seems like a more ethical choice in today’s unstable economy.
We are on the verge of this new transformation wave of AI in the music industry, and just like our invited expert, we are thrilled to see what the future brings. Knowing Pete’s extensive experience and expertise, we trust his predictions and cannot wait to witness the music industry embrace digital opportunities just like the other branches of the entertainment sector, whether it’s film or gaming. As a music development company, we actively contribute to bringing AI-fuelled music products to live, and we would love to support you on that journey!
If you’re wondering how is AI used in entertainment, we have already covered this topic in another article. This one is only an excerpt from our 1-hour webinar, which contains much more insights and forecasts. If you want to get to know them, fill out the form to receive a recording of the whole event. Soon, we will be back with more interesting materials on music business, which we closely cooperate with on a daily basis. Stay tuned!