AI: Three Companies Leading The Way In The New Music Industry Sector
Get to know three companies who are shaping the future for artist and AI collaboration.
The rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI) is being dubbed as the fourth industrial revolution but what impact will AI have on the music industry in the future? Get to know three companies who are weighing in on this debate and shaping the future for artist and AI collaboration.
AI. Music is a start-up company that is exploring what happens when you apply the latest techniques in Artificial Intelligence (AI) to music creation. The company was founded by Siavash Mahdavi in 2016 with the aim to evolve music from a static, one-directional interaction to one of dynamic co-creation.
This is one of two AI companies taking part in Abbey Road Red, a start-up incubator run by the studios that aims to forge links between new tech companies and the music industry.
Founder Mahdavi wrote an article for the Huffington Post titled 'Why We Should Let The Robots Win’. In the music sector he sees AI as a force for good which can positively impact on issues including piracy and evolve the music production process. For consumers he believes AI will allow fans to become more engaged with artists and vice versa.
"We would eventually like to be known as the company that revolutionised the industry, just like the MP3 did when it came along." - David Ronan
With 18 employees at the time of writing, the company is rapidly expanding and growing, with plans to launch publicly and announce themselves to the world in February 2018. Therefore, much of what the company is working on right now is being kept under wraps.
That being said, I was able to talk to David Ronan, who is the Lead Audio DSP Engineer at AI. Music and he confirmed that the company is working on a tool which will ‘shape-change’ existing songs to match the context in which they are being listened to.
Ronan explained: "When you listen to a song, e.g. a Rihanna track, it could be an acoustic version in the morning and then at the gym it could become a deep house or drum’n’bass track and then it could become a jazz track when you are winding down in the evening." This is an incredibly exciting project which separates this company from the rest of the field, who focus on using AI to create new tracks rather than transforming existing tracks rather than creating new ones.
It is difficult to speculate on the impact that this company is going to have as it is yet to launch publicly but it has received high praise in its press coverage and is backed by Abbey Road studios, not to mention the staff’s sense of real optimism. Ronan said: "In the future we would ideally want to be up there with the ranks of Spotify and SoundCloud but in the AI tech sphere, where we power our own niche in the market, changing how people consume music. We would eventually like to be known as the company that revolutionised the industry, just like the MP3 did when it came along."
Amper is an AI based composer, performer and producer which empowers the user to create and customise original music in a matter of seconds using their unique software.
The company was founded back in 2014 by Sam Estes and Drew Silverstein with the vision and goal to create software to answer a question they kept getting asked.
That question, as explained to me by Head of Sales Jaime Gillespie*, was this: "We want to work with you as a composer, but the economics don’t work, we just don’t have the time or we don’t have the money to get somebody to write this custom music for us."
Gillespie went on to explain Amper's response to the question: "The founders at Amper posed the idea to them that if they could build software which could do this for them so the work sounded like it was written by a composer, it was beautiful and a fraction of the cost, would you want it and the answer was a resounding yes."
Amper finally went public and was announced to the world in October 2016 and has been developing and trialling its software ever since in beta on their website**.
The software originally only featured a couple of genres to choose from when creating music but at present users can choose from Hip Hop, Cinematic, Classic Rock, Modern Folk and 90’s Pop. Now the essentials have been put in place the company can start to roll out new genres at a much faster rate and the catalogue is expected to grow exponentially over the next few years.
"AI music and I think Amper specifically are going to usher in the greatest creative revolution in the history of humanity..." - Drew Silverstein
Gillespie hopes that Amper will be for musicians what Microsoft Word is for authors. CEO/co-founder Drew Silverstein shares her enthusiasm and was firm in his tone in telling me: "AI music and I think Amper specifically are going to usher in the greatest creative revolution in the history of humanity by the sheer number of individuals that are going to be positively impacted by this advancing technology."
He continued: "It is inevitable that Amper’s music will become indistinguishable from human created music across the board because it is a consequence of technological innovation."
In a separate interview I carried out with Gillespie, she echoed those thoughts. "In 5-10 years’ time I think we will have built something where every piece of music in the world somehow touches Amper," she said. Lofty ambitions these statements may be, however, the company is highly dedicated and seemingly well-placed to achieve these goals.
Jukedeck is a UK start-up company based in London which uses state-of-the-art technology and AI to dynamically shape music to different situations, using machine learning so that the programs musical tools get better over time.
Similar to Amper Music, customers can set their own parameters, including genre, instruments, length of track and its tempo. In around 20 seconds the system composes the unique track. The customer gets an MP3 which can be downloaded, costing the individual or business with less than 10 employees 78p at the time of writing. These tracks can be used for free if they credit Jukedeck, while larger businesses pay around £17.20 per track or sign up to a monthly subscription model.
Over 500,000 tracks have been created in 169 countries so far and Jukedeck created tracks featured in YouTube videos have been viewed over 30 million times. Google, Coca-Cola and the Natural History Museum have all used music created using Jukedeck in their online adverts. Liz Yepsen – Developer Platforms Program Manager at Google said: "The music was perfect for our video and very fun to create".
"What excites us the most here at Jukedeck is the way that AI can democratise the space of music composition." - Eliza Legzdina
The company has origins at Cambridge University and the team is formed of composers, producers, engineers, academics and machine learning experts who have a passion for music and technology. It is training deep neural networks to understand how to compose and adapt music in order to give people the tools to personalise the music they need.
Looking ahead to the future, Head of Operations at Jukedeck, Eliza Legzdina, told me: "What excites us the most here at Jukedeck is the way that AI can democratise the space of music composition. Whereas previously you may have had to have very particular theory or musical technical skills to create music, with Jukedeck you can create things at a low cost without having to attain new skill sets or pay large fees."
Jukedeck has already won several awards including TechCrunch Disrupt Winners 2015, Cannes Lions International Festival Of Creativity Award Winners 2016 and LE WEB Start-up Competition Winners.
*Jaime Gillespie left her position at Amper Music in May 2018.
** Amper Music discontinued its support for its beta AI music composer software on 25th October 2018 and now focuses solely on its enterprise products.