AI-produced music: How artificial intelligence is transforming the musical landscape

In a world undergoing continuous radical change, the presence of artificial intelligence has become undeniable. With robots capable of boosting STEM learning, machines that facilitate disease detection and treatment, and self-driving cars that operate fully without any human involvement, we can thank AI for many of the breakthroughs we are currently seeing unfold. As AI-powered machines continue to dominate almost all industries, it comes as no surprise to learn that even the music industry has its own fair share of AI innovations. In fact, research on artificial intelligence music began decades ago, with codebreakers such as Alan Turing creating the first computer-generated music in history. This sets the stage for today, where several organizations and some startups have been using AI to create music.

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  • AIVA, also known as Artificial Intelligence Visual Artist, is named as the first AI to be recognized as a composer. Through deep learning algorithms, it ingests thousands of classical music scores, looks for patterns in those scores, and creates an assortment of mathematical rules to build original compositions.
  • Many of AIVA’s compositions are classical music. Some of its works include “Op.1 for Piano Solo in D Major,” which is comparable to Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9,” and “Battle Royal,” the world’s first AI-generated soundtrack for a video game.
  • AI-produced music has enabled musicians to create personalized music in just a few clicks. While it certainly makes music composition easier and faster, artificial intelligence is an innovation that does not seek to crush human creativity, but support it.

AIVA: The world’s first AI composer

One of the most popular AI composing soundtrack music is AIVA, a Luxembourg-based startup named as the first AI to be recognized as a composer. AIVA, also known as Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist, uses deep learning algorithms and machine learning to teach itself by ingesting more than 30,000 classical music scores written by the likes of distinguished classical composers such as Mozart, Beethoven, and many more. Through a set of neural network systems, AIVA looks for patterns in the scores and tries to predict the succeeding notes in the track, consequently building a set of mathematical rules to create its original compositions. It also uses a “plagiarism checker” through GPU computing to ensure that its works are original.

AIVA is promised to be the greatest composer of all time, as envisioned by its creator Pierre Barreau. According to Pierre in his 2018 TED Talk, AIVA was inspired by TV character Samantha, an artificial intelligent featured in the movie Her. In the same talk, Pierre shared his vision to create original live soundtracks based on our moods and personalities.

“As a musician and an engineer, and someone raised in a family of artists, I thought that this idea of musical photographs was really powerful. And I decided to create an AI composer.” – Pierre Barreau

To help develop AIVA, he created a team of creative developers and artists, with whom he started Aiva Technologies.

A full-fledged artist

For years, many startups have tried developing AI composers capable of creating classical music. AIVA stood out above the rest not only by being successful in creating one but by also becoming one of the leading startups in the field of AI music composition. In 2016, it released a remarkable four-minute instrumental named “Op. 1 for Piano Solo in D Major,” a classical piece that could serve as a soundtrack for any type of film. Its first studio album entitled Genesis is comparable to Beethoven’s “Symphony No. 9;” the only difference is that the former was not created with human hands.

In addition to creating classical music, AIVA can also produce soundtracks for video games. In 2017, it created “Battle Royale,” the world’s first AI-generated main theme for a video game, Pixelfield. Using the musical score created by AIVA, the soundtrack was recorded by a professional orchestra. However, AIVA is not the only machine composer exploring the potential of artificial intelligence-driven music in video games. Likewise, many game audio developers are attempting to elevate the sonic and musical experience of gamers.

With its numerous contributions in music production, it is not surprising that AIVA would receive its due recognition. In 2017, it was invited to participate in the European Film Market in Berlin and the Artificial Intelligence in Business & Entrepreneurship (AIBE) Summit in London. It was also given praise by Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Prime Minister. In addition, AIVA also won the highly-coveted Pitch Your Startup (PYSU) competition, which gave them 50,000 EUR to be spent for their company.

Will AI music crush human creativity?

As AI time and again proves its ability to produce quality music, it presses the question: Is there a future for AI-produced music, and will it ever replace human creativity? The answer is yes and no. Over the past years, advancements in machine-made music have brought about notable changes in the music industry. It has enabled musicians to communicate melodies and chords and generate personalized music in just a few clicks. In a new report from the World Economic Forum, although AI machines have the potential to displace 75 million jobs by 2022, they are expected to create 133 million new roles. According to a report by McKinsey, by 2030, about 70 percent of companies might have adopted at least one piece of AI technology. All this shows that AI-produced music holds the potential to augment rapidly in the future.

Nonetheless, artificial music still has its weaknesses. While they are capable of creating unique and original music, AI is still incapable of producing anything  without imitating existing music scores that originated from humans. In the end, music produced by artificial intelligence should be seen as an innovation that does not seek to replace human creativity, but support it. Music is an ever-evolving art form. In contrast to the movie-fed fears about AI ruining our lives, responsibly utilized artificial intelligence may hold the promise to redefine our musical landscape for the better.

Written by Beatrice Anne Bringas
Edited by Hannah Manuel
Graphics by Dala Malaya

REFERENCES

Bejjani, A. (2019, April). AI has the potential to enrich our lives in so many ways – if we use it properly. The World Economic Forum. https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/dont-be-scared-of-ai-its-going-to-change-humanity-for-the-better/

Lauder, E. (2017, March). Aiva is the first AI to officially be recognized as a composer. AI Business. https://aibusiness.com/document.asp?doc_id=760181

Moura, F. (2017, October). AIVA technology: An extraordinary AI music start-up. Live Innovation. https://liveinnovation.org/aiva-technology-extraordinary-ai-music-start-up/

Barreau, P. (2018). How AI could compose a personalized soundtrack of your life [Video]. TED Conferences. https://www.ted.com/talks/pierre_barreau_how_ai_could_compose_a_personalized_soundtrack_to_your_life/up-next#t-5702

Silicon Luxembourg. (2018, January). Pixelfield, world’s first video game with a main theme composed by an Artificial Intelligence. https://www.siliconluxembourg.lu/pixelfield-world-first%E2%80%8B-video-game-with-a-main-theme-composed-by-an-artificial-intelligence/

Kaleagasi, B. (2017, March). A New AI can write music as well as a human composer. Futurism. https://futurism.com/a-new-ai-can-write-music-as-well-as-a-human-composer

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