There are some that believe machines are already taking over the world of music, yet for every Roland R-8, there’s a musician at the controls. But when the machines start thinking for themselves, that’s another story. AI is starting to play an integral role in our lives with some experts predicting that it will replace half of all our jobs in the not too distant future. But can AI make music by itself?
The simple answer is yes. In 2016, Sony released a song that was composed by AI. “Daddy’s Car” was the first song composed by artificial intelligence, and we have to say, it’s not too bad. The lyrics are by composer Benoît Carré, but all those melodies are the work of a machine.
Yet to date, this has been the only serious effort to have a machine create music that has garnered any interest at all. It’s safe to say that this ended up being more of a publicity stunt for Sony than any real attempt to replace a musician.
So, what does this mean for the world of music?
Well, machines have been replacing human labor since the Industrial Revolution, and we’re seeing more and more of it in recent times. However, luckily for musicians, the odds of a machine doing your job are slim. Artists and creative types are the least likely to be under threat as the tech folk (Sony aside) focus their efforts on more menial tasks, such as driving and cleaning.
The truth is that since Sony’s admittedly impressive foray into the world of AI composed music, no one else has repeated the feat. In fact, no one seems even remotely interested in doing so. Yes, we have machines that play instruments, but ones that compose? Not a chance.
In the world of trance music, we’re no strangers to the use of technology to find that perfect sound. We distort, enhance and sample anything we can record, but everything we (or a DJ) do contains that element of human creativity that you just don’t get with algorithms.
Honestly, though, it would probably be easy for a machine to recreate a trance track or at least imitate one. But it wouldn’t be original, and we’d forever liken it to something we heard before. Even Sony’s “Daddy’s Song” has a Beatles ring to it, which is hardly surprising given that the Fab Four’s back catalog was fed into the AI as inspiration.
Despite what non-believers might think about trance music and EDM in general, there’s a lot of creativity involved. The various nuances in tempo and pitch are as distinct to a trance music lover as the flavors in a cabernet sauvignon are to a wine taster. And asking a machine or set of algorithms to create such distinct and individual melodies is probably a step too far.
For now, we’ll say that the world of trance music is safe. The likes of Elon Musk have much more profitable uses for AI on their mind. And these uses all have one thing in common: a strict set of parameters that require no creativity at all. Think about it this way: artificial intelligence is designed to be reactive to specific situations, even unexpected ones.
Why would a developer design a piece of software to create something beautiful that thousands of people can dance to when there’s no need for it? It doesn’t save lives (like driving safety features) or cut down on production costs (like a robotic manufacturing line). DJs and producers take heart, trance music (or any music for that matter) is safe for now.
Lyrics: ARTY ft. April Bender – Sunrise
Some days it’s hard to make it But I know we’ll make it through These...