Musician Will.i.am has praised AI tech in music calling it a “new renaissance” at a time AI technology has divided opinion within the music, art, and entertainment industry.
The adoption of AI in music and the art industry has been prevalent recently and some stakeholders including artists themselves have expressed concerns. Copyright is one matter concerning artists, as is the rise of non-human music. Yet AI has also been viewed as a “perfect assistant” to music, helping producers in mixing songs and mastering them.
Spicing up music with AI
Speaking to ITV’s Good Morning Britain, the Black Eyed Peas band member thinks highly of AI as a tool that can be used to create and produce music.
Although he has penned many songs himself, Will.i.am is of the view that AI can spice up that music.
“People have to decide what types of songs they want to write because, although I wrote songs like Boom Boom Pow and I Gotta Feeling and Where is the Love?, the machine is going to write amazing versions or original Boom Boom Pows.”
“It’s a very, very, very unique world that we’re entering into. It’s a new renaissance,” added the musician.
'It's a very very unique world we're going into.' – @iamwill
Is A.I the future of music? pic.twitter.com/abJznShba5
— Good Morning Britain (@GMB) July 3, 2023
Will.i.am further stated that the AI technology also creates something new as opposed to only mimicking what has already been produced.
According to a Sky News report, about 63 percent of young artists between the ages of 16 and 24 are using the help of AI to make music.
Asked if there should be concerns or excitement over AI, the 48-year old musician said:
“The concern is what we can do as people and the regulation and guidelines that we put on folks that are building models.
“The fact that AI mimics, but at the same time we haven’t put in clause for where people own their likeness in their essence…well, that’s one thing. AI’s not deciding that, people are.”
AI music and its critics
Music has not been spared from the generative-AI boom that has swept through the arts and entertainment industry.
While it has been viewed as game changer, it has also come with its fair share of criticism.
Some artists are not happy with the use of generative AI in music. Rapper and actor Ice Cube expressed his feelings about AI music and called it “demonic.” The musician made it clear he would not hesitate to take legal action against anyone who used AI to create music using his voice or style. This would also include platforms selling that music.
The Universal Music Group has previously weighed in describing AI music as “fraud” and that it would hurt musicians and asked streaming platforms to remove AI music.
According to a RollingStone article, major labels had reason to fear being overtaken by AI music before it even flooded the market. There has also been another concern of subjecting listeners to poor quality content.
Universal Music CEO Lucian Grainge highlighted that streaming services were witnessing about 100 000 uploads on a daily basis. He was quoted saying consumers were “increasingly being guided by algorithms to lower-quality functional content that in some cases can barely pass for music.”
AI in music beyond sound
As AI continued to boom this year, there have been widespread AI tools in image generation, voice-to-text, text-to-image, text-to-video and text-to-voice generation.
Tee Peters, musician and programme director at Sound Connections says he has used AI in music for a long period and that the technology has helped whenever he is short-staffed.
“Throughout my journey so far I’ve had times where I’m alone – I don’t have my full team with me, I don’t have my producers, I don’t have my engineer,” Peters told Sky News.
“Software and tools that are run by AI help me fill that void of the people that are missing in the room.”
Apart from making music, he uses AI to market the music as well as create cover art.