top of page
  • Aadit Manyem

The Sound of Intelligence: AI in the Music Industry

In a world where AI has gone from composing lullabies for robots to infiltrating the very core of human expression, the music industry is now dancing to a new, algorithmically-generated beat. Artificial intelligence (AI) is a technology that has taken the world by storm, already implementing itself in the manufacturing, healthcare, finance, customer service industries, and more. The release of the artificial intelligence chatbot ChatGPT has further familiarized the world with the actual power AI harnesses as well as the rate of its arrival. This new technology, which can perform tasks that require human intelligence, has a real chance to leave its mark on the music industry, for better or worse.

However, one would be ill-advised to think that this machinery has yet to begin integrating itself into music. The prominent leader in the music streaming industry, Spotify, debuted a new AI feature not three months before this was written. This feature was named “DJ.” DJ is an algorithmic AI that uses technology from OpenAI, the parent company of previously referenced ChatGPT, to personalize the music-listening experience for listeners. Although personalization technology is not a new phenomenon, DJ is taking this task to a different stratosphere, analyzing the patterns at which you listen to music similar to, well, a human. Spotify’s AI is even using the voice of talk show host Xavier Jernigan to give commentary as songs transition to and from each other. In order to do this, Spotify utilized text-to-speech technology which also involves AI.

This new technology, commonly referred to as “speech synthesizing,” has had various applications in the music industry, not all of which were sanctioned by reputable corporations. Speech synthesizers are accessible to everyday people for free; you can rest assured that people are taking full advantage of this. A TikToker user who goes by the name “ghostwriter977” utilized AI to create a terrifyingly catchy song featuring AI-generated voices of Drake and The Weeknd. The music not only mimics Drake’s voice almost flawlessly but also analyzes his songwriting patterns to curate a song that sounds like it was written by Drake himself. Although replicating an artist's style can be seen as a form of tribute, this AI-generated imitation seems to be testing the boundaries of what even Drake might regard as an acceptable level of resemblance.

In the song, you hear faux-Drake crooning, “I got my heart on my sleeve with a knife in my back/what’s with that?” over a bass-heavy instrumental. However audibly pleasing this song may be, its overall implications are questionable, and many predict that a lawsuit will be in order. Simply put, a piece with a startling likeness to an already existing, not to mention uber-famous, artist can be construed as plagiarism. As AI-generated music gains popularity, the industry will need to grapple with questions surrounding originality, authorship, and the evolving definition of creative work.

Nonetheless, the ramifications of AI in the music industry do not stop at TikToker’s tinkering with speech synthesization tools. With a technology that is able to do human-like tasks, it will inevitably be able to replace certain human occupations. This has already begun, with layoffs happening mainly in blue-collar industries such as manufacturing, retail, and transportation but also in sectors such as technology and finance. There is a possibility that this will have a cascading effect on the music industry and that the job of music producers, mixers, and songwriters can be replaced by artificial intelligence. This notion is particularly frightening, given the innate nature of music. Music is one of the first forms of expression to come out of the human race, dating back as far as language itself. The fact that this once-sacred art can be mimicked by technology is daunting, even to those who create it. It is true that AI can write code in seconds even in place of a software engineer. That being said, software engineers are not obsolete, and programmers who utilize AI as a resource in their work have a distinct advantage over their peers and are less susceptible to layoffs due to automation. Similarly, if music producers viewed AI as a tool to aid their creative process instead of competition, then the realm of music would be bolstered to a new echelon that we as humans have yet to experience.

AI is attaching itself to different industries faster than you can imagine. Despite the potential downsides, the world is beginning to reach a new level of technological efficiency and accessibility, and the music industry is no exception. Whether it be an artificial DJ on Spotify, a TikTok user mimicking Drake, or AI producers, these occurrences are just the beginning of a music industry aided or hindered by artificial intelligence. As we continue to explore the potential of AI in the music industry, one thing is certain: this technological revolution will redefine what it means to create and enjoy music, and it's up to us to strike the right chord between innovation and tradition.


bottom of page