In years to come, the early months of 2023 may well be remembered as the period that AI-generated music went from amusing novelty to terrifying cultural destroyer.
In the last few months we’ve witnessed David Guetta employing a ‘deepfake’ Eminem, a producer making himself sound like Kanye West, a track created by facsimiles of Drake and Eminem being pulled from streaming services, and even an imagined ‘new’ Oasis album featuring vocals from an AI-voiced ‘Liam Gallagher’. What a time to be alive.
Musicians, then, are surely worried sick about AI and doing everything they can to avoid it? It seems not - that’s if research from music distribution, record label service and management company Ditto is to be believed, anyway.
In fact, a recently published study by the company indicates that almost 60% of musicians are already using AI in their productions (59.5%, to be precise). Of the 1,299 independent artists surveyed, 11% admitted to using it for songwriting, 20.3% said they’ve used it during the production process, and 30.6% confirmed that they’ve used it for mastering. 38%, meanwhile, have called on artificial intelligence to create their music’s artwork.
These figures might come as a surprise to some, but the truth is that AI plugins for composing and processing have been around for some time. ‘Intelligent’ online mastering services are a well-established ‘thing’, too.
Perhaps more interesting are the stats relating to musicians’ future intentions. 47.1% of artists say they’d be happy to use AI for songwriting, 61.5% say they’d be comfortable letting it get involved in the music production process, and 66% are onboard with the idea of it doing the mastering for them.
That said, 28.5% of respondents said that they would never use AI, while those that haven’t yet (but may do in the future, presumably) put their reticence down to a lack of access to AI tools (28.4%), a lack of time (24.8%), a lack of perceived creativity (23.1%), affordability (17.1%) or a combination of factors (6.6%).
Commenting on the figures, Ditto Music CEO Lee Parsons noted that "It's encouraging to see so many musicians embracing advancements in technology and utilising AI as a creative aid.” Whether he and the rest of the music industry will feel the same in a couple of years’ time remains to be seen…