June 26, 2023
On Tuesday, June 6th, Paul McCartney mentioned in an interview that The Beatles will be releasing one final record with the help of artificial intelligence. Fans from all over the internet expressed their disappointment with McCartney for using this technology that is seemingly threatening jobs across all art disciplines. However, it appears the Beatle was referring to a specific use of artificial intelligence that allows vocals to be extracted and cleaned from old recordings; this technology has been around for quite some time.
Artificial intelligence has been used in the audio industry for years. The AI audio software company, iZotope (founded in 2001) makes a product called RX which allows audio professionals to restore and enhance damaged audio, remove background noise, and even isolate vocals from full audio mixes. Typically, tools like iZotope RX were only used by post-production houses and recording studios, but now these AI tools are being used by creators everywhere. Similar to the new Adobe Photoshop Beta, the complex AI tools in audio are now very user friendly. AI can also assist in mixing and mastering by automatically adjusting levels, equalization, and other parameters, saving time and enhancing the efficiency of the process.
Generative music models are being trained from large data sets to create new compositions. Deep learning and generative models have been applied to sound synthesis and design, which means AI algorithms can now learn and mimic various sonic textures, timbres, and instrument characteristics, enabling the creation of realistic virtual instruments and unique sounds. This is a long way of saying: AI is well on its way to making its own instruments and songs from scratch.
Not only is AI improving audio quality and reducing edit time for audio professionals, AI algorithms can analyze user preferences and behaviors to deliver personalized audio content recommendations. Music streaming platforms use AI to create customized playlists based on a user’s listening habits, preferences, and contextual information like time of day or mood. This is improving the consumer experience when listening to music, podcasts, or audiobooks.
While we understand the implications of artificial intelligence, we seek to understand it and co-exist with it. And most importantly, use these tools to help us become better versions of ourselves by treating it as a co-worker rather than someone looking to take our job. Our team at PLAY supports artists because we are all artists. It is important to acknowledge that many generative art and generative audio models are using copyrighted works without the consent of the creator. We advocate for ethical use of these tools as many of them are not possible without artists. Disclaimer: We used ChatGPT to assist in the creation of this blog post.
If you’re interested in learning more about AI and its impact on the arts, check out Creativity Squared where the host, Helen Todd discusses these topics in depth with innovators and thought leaders behind the scenes in the AI industry.
Drew Marcum is a sound designer, producer, and audio creative with experience creating original music and sound effects for major brands, TV shows, video games, and more. Drew holds an MFA in Music Business from Berklee College of Music and has produced music on Spotify's Viral 50 Chart with credits on over 50 million streams.