I just responded to two questions about AI-composition startups from a student and thought I’d share them here as well. This is a placeholder for deeper thoughts.
- What are your thoughts on the uses of Amper music specifically as an AI generative software? A user can create their own personal track by determining the durations, instrumentation, descriptive moods and function of music. The user must pay a one-off fee, and in return acquires a global perpetual royalty free license (although all copyrights are reserved by Amper). (https://www.ampermusic.com)
- (https://www.theverge.com/2019/7/23/20707371/tiktok-jukedeck-ai-music-startup-acquisition) The tech start-up company Jukedeck has been around since 2012 and provides AI generated music to users in a similar way to Amper. However, in 2019, the software was bought by social media platform Tiktok (so that the software can generate its own music-more profit to be made, as it would eliminate the need to pay royalties to record label.) I am curious to hear your views about the ethical tensions that this situation may raise for the music industry?
Thanks for your interest [student emailer]. You should really talk with Eric Drott at Texas who is studying these things in depth.
Honestly, my main thought on AI-assisted music composition is: who wants it, and to what end? We live in a world where each year more new music made by people is released than the last, much of it available for free or cheap online. The only people I can imagine who really want an AI composition service are people who are currently paying musicians who don’t want to pay them. Amper is working in the “disruption” model where they are trying to take money from licensing firms who sell stock music. So they are simply trying to elbow their way into an existing industry, Uber or AirBNB style. JukeDeck seems similar.
“Ethical” implies that the business model could be tweaked to be fair. It’s not; it’s political in that it’s designed to take something from one group to the unfair advantage of another. It’s scorched-earth capitalism. The business model seems fundamentally at odds with any desire to support music or musicians, instead diverting money that could have gone into supporting the arts into the pockets of investors or tech firms. Most institutional efforts at AI ethics actually serve the industry’s desire to avoid regulation.
That said, stock music firms are also not always on the up-and-up with musicians, but at least there is the possibility that they would in some way provide institutional support to music. AI-based composition firms offer no such possibility.
Artists experimenting with AI-based or assisted composition or collaboration is a whole other thing, and something I wholeheartedly endorse.
EDIT: the very idea of a “music composition startup” is head-explodingly weird.