✖️ AI lyric generation and the future of music, Content ID and music theft, Massive Attack goes green 💚
I want to start off by congratulating Music Declares Emergency for getting IMPALA’s Outstanding Contribution Award. An important initiative to drive sustainability in the music business.
They take donations, so here’s an idea: sometimes (it’s rare) you can get speaker fees by appearing at music conferences. For those that don’t need them to make a living: how about pledging to go fee-free in 2020 and requesting conferences to donate the fee directly to Music Declares Emergency?
My mission for MxTxF is to highlight and contribute to the music business’ most important innovations. Due to this, I’ve put a much greater emphasis on sustainability than I did in the first 100 editions of this newsletter. If you’re looking for great newsletters to follow with regards to music / tech in general, check out the sidebar on my website for a handful of my favourites.
From me, for you
I used a lyric generator to create a somewhat coherent song lyric that I dubbed purple sun. It taught me a few things about the future of music that you should all know. Read it now.
More on AI
The artist Grimes has been talking about how AI will make art obsolete. I find the statement total bullshit, to be frank, for the following two reasons:
A quote comes to mind by Netflix founder Reed Hastings. When asked by a student on a Dutch TV show what Netflix has learned from all the data they have, in terms of what people like, Reed mentioned that the most reliable thing is that people love watching stories about people (which is probably why so many Netflix shows have such strong personalities). For a lot of the music we listen to, people care about the human story around it.
Creativity does not end with the creator. The listener is also in a creative role. If music is generated without ‘artistic intent’, then it’s up to the listener what is art, what’s important, and why they enjoy something. This happens already anyway - think of instances where artists make a song that means a lot to them and it then goes on to become a dumb drinking song or stadium song, because of a catchy bit in the melody.
Now Holly Herndon, the creator of “the world’s first mainstream album made with AI” has weighed in on the debate. You’ll have to follow the link, because I don’t want to paraphase her thoughts, but one great take-away is this: “AI is just us, in aggregate”. Read it now.
Scientists from the University of Manchester team up with Massive Attack to create a blueprint that will ‘transform the music industry’. Robert del Naja: “The challenge now is to not only make personal sacrifices, but to insist on the systemic change that’s needed. Business as usual is over.” Read more now.
Gill Davies reminded me of the low latency AV streaming system she works on. It allows performers to collaborate in real-time with each other while at other sides of the world - thus removing the need to travel for masterclasses, recording sessions, etc. Learn more.
For this project Bacardi partners with Lonely Whale, an organisation that aims to keep “plastics in the economy and out of our ocean”. For their The Future Doesn’t Suck campaign, they want to remove a billion plastic straws by 2020. As part of this, they set up a recycling program at an event and people’s straws were turned into vinyl records (fun fact: it takes 600 straws to make a record). I’m careful with applauding these initiatives, as I think brands hold a certain responsibility here anyway, however I’m a big fan of the concept of helping people understand how their waste is re-used to encourage recycling, which is part of what they did here.
Claire O'Neill of A Greener Festival brought their collaboration with Buenas Noches Producciones, Bye Bye Plastic and Voluntad Verde to my attention. Together they conducted an event in Argentina with the aim of raising awareness around sustainability and what the electronic music scene can accomplish to tackle waste in South America. Read more.
A Greener Festival also has a green artist rider: a practical tool that any touring artist should have in their arsenal, as it reduces waste from the tours and venues.
Data and security
Chuck Fishman about what happens when Content ID gets it wrong: “So many old songs do not have “audio fingerprints” in music recognition databases, and that spells big trouble when new artists sample old works without credit.” Read it now.
A 27-year-old allegedly hacked into social networking and cloud accounts of music management firms to download and leak 50 gigabytes of music. The indictment tells a story of some quite basic and common hacking techniques which he managed to employ very successfully. We should be holding ourselves and the partner companies we work with to higher data security standards.
Upload one track, and after a little processing get back two tracks: one with the instrumental and one with the vocals. Great application of machine learning. Makes use of Deezer’s Spleeter library for source seperation. Try it now.
Regular insights about the future of music, media & tech. Written & composed by @basgras.
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