Will Artificial Intelligence Take Over Musicians?
I’m please to present an insightful guest post on Artificial Intelligence in the Music Industry by Ramiro from GearAficionado. Artificial Intelligence has been creating some anxiety amongst musicians and labels, but as Ramiro says, we may not need to worry.
Since ChatGPT stormed into the scene in late 2022, many people have started thinking seriously about their job stability.
And that’s fair because such advancements that shake up whole industries don’t happen that often.
Of course, you might have tried the tool and deemed it not good enough. But how long would it not be good enough?
Hey there, this is Ramiro from GearAficionado.
I’m a guitarist and gearhead by night and an economist by day.
The effects of automation on the workforce have always interested me, and I’m paying very close attention to this new Artificial Intelligence freakout. Let’s talk about artificial intelligence in some depth, and compare it with things that have already happened in history.
This Has Happened Before
Although Artificial Intelligence is a new fashionable buzzword, that’s not really descriptive of the algorithms we are currently competing against, technological progress like this has been seen before.
And as funny as it might sound: Remember the horse?
Back in the early 1900s, it was crazy thinking that someday it would only be a farmer’s thing. Modern society was built on the back of horses! How come they could become obsolete?
Well, they did.
As motor vehicles gained popularity, they started taking over animals for most activities. And this boom was rather quick. In just a few decades, cities were now designed for cars.
But what happened with all the jobs related to the horse? Well, most of them were lost, and some others were adapted forcefully to serve cars.
But this is a clear example of what economists call “creative destruction”. You see, if you destroy something to replace it with another thing that’s more productive, all experts agree that the community will end up being better off.
But what’s productivity?
Let’s define it by a measure of how much input a process takes to generate a certain output. Cars were inevitably more productive than horses. So much so that we even measure their engine’s power in horses. You probably drive a vehicle daily that’s worth more than 100 horses in terms of power output.
To keep it brief, if we guide ourselves by what has already happened, we can clearly see that a period of uncertainty is ahead, but surely we will come out the other side better-equipped.
What Will Really Happen
Now, in my own opinion, what I think will really happen this time might probably be more like the introduction of the computer into the workspace.
Going from paper to digital clearly boosted the productivity of most businesses and surely defined a new baseline of what’s acceptable.
But there are still old-school shops running on books and fax machines. Hey, I even file my taxes to the IRS via fax.
Should we be hopeful about this?
Well, not really.
I think that we just have to be open to trying out new stuff when it makes sense, and be ready to adapt to a new reality as musicians.
But What About Musicians?
With apps like Boomy, SoundRaw, and Soundful, where you can generate a tune with just a few instructions and one or two clicks, it’s okay to be worried.
However, I believe these Artificial Intelligence tools will ultimately democratize music more than anything before.
Think of what happened with autotune: It can’t make you sing like Freddie Mercury but surely can snap your barks in tune.
And ultimately mainstream culture shifted its attention to genres where robotic voices are the main feature. Probably because very talented people that otherwise couldn’t express themselves now found a way into doing it.
A less controversial take on this would be talking about the home studio.
The process that in the 70s required an engineer and equipment worth as much as an apartment now can be done in your bedroom for just a few hundred bucks.
This is the natural progress of things, and in a near future, just anyone would be able to create Artificial Intelligence songs that mean something to other people. Why fight it?
More Music Means More Work
As more musicians climb up the stage, there will be more people required to assist them.
More marketers, more publicists, more tour managers, more venues, hey, even more musicians assisting in the creation of these Artificial Intelligence tools.
And for composers, for instance, having the ability to spin a dozen tracks without that much input, would surely be a tool for inspiration and iteration in the search for the piece that best suits the media it should be paired with.
Predicting what will happen is always silly because the future most of the time ends up being so different than how we can imagine it today.
But I sleep well at night because I know humanity has never developed a new technology that ended up screwing us over.
Well, apart from the nuclear bomb.
For more Artificial Intelligence reading, check out our feature on Artificial Intelligence Music innovator Chris Ianuzzi.