Nick Cave is not a happy man, responding to a fan/ChatGPT-generated lyric 'in the style of Nick Cave' with a coruscating open letter, dismissing the nascent AI's efforts as "bullshit".
“Since its launch in November last year many people, most buzzing with a kind of algorithmic awe, have sent me songs ‘in the style of Nick Cave’ created by ChatGPT," he wrote on his blog, The Red Hand Files. "There have been dozens of them. Suffice to say, I do not feel the same enthusiasm around this technology."
Reproducing ChatGPT's lyrics, which read in part "I am the sinner, I am the saint. I am the darkness, I am the light. I am the hunter, I am the prey. I am the devil, I am the savior", the Antipodean songsmith was scathing.
“Thanks for the song, but with all the love and respect in the world, this song is bullshit, a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human, and, well, I don’t much like it – although, hang on!, rereading it, there is a line in there that speaks to me – ‘I’ve got the fire of hell in my eyes‘ – says the song ‘in the style of Nick Cave’, and that’s kind of true. I have got the fire of hell in my eyes – and it’s ChatGPT."
"What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work... It is an act of self-murder that destroys all one has strived to produce in the past."
"It may sound like I’m taking all this a little too personally," Cave continues, "but I’m a songwriter who is engaged, at this very moment, in the process of songwriting. It’s a blood and guts business, here at my desk"
Inevitably, we asked ChatGPT to respond to Cave's letter.
"Thank you for your letter, Nick. I understand your concerns about the limitations of AI in creating genuine songs," the spooky chatbot replied in conciliatory mode.
"It is true that ChatGPT is a machine and does not have the capacity for human emotions or experiences. However, it is important to note that the purpose of AI in songwriting is not to replace human songwriters, but rather to assist and inspire them in their creative process."
"ChatGPT can generate lyrics and melodies that a human songwriter can then edit, refine and add their own personal touch to. It is a tool, not a replacement.
"Additionally, it is important to recognize that the value of a song lies not only in its originality, but also in its ability to connect with the listener and evoke emotions. While a song generated by ChatGPT may not have the same personal significance as one written by a human, it can still be meaningful and impactful to those who hear it."