Production Perfection: AI Tools for Musicians

AI tools have been all the rage recently, and it’s no different for musicians. Keep reading on to find out which AI tools musicians are using.

Photo courtesy of Erwi

In recent articles, we have been discussing the rise of AI technology in many different industries. There has been an increase in the use of AI technology to aid businesses, students, and even musicians. Many musicians like Grimes have been an advocate for the use of AI in music production. In fact, Grimes spoke to Sean Carroll in a podcast interview and said, “I feel like we’re in the end of art, human art, once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us.” 

Many musicians and artists alike were outraged by the comment, claiming that nothing can compare to human creativity within music production. While the fear of these musicians is valid, it may be time to begin embracing AI technology because it is here to stay and it’s developing rapidly. 

This era has been witnessing a crucial change in the use of technology in things like music production and writing. The question that many of us have is how can we use AI to benefit and aid us in creative work. It’s true that AI technology cannot replace the human touch many art projects have, but it can definitely be a tool that helps make the process a little easier. In this article, we will be discussing how artists can use AI technology to aid musicians in making and producing music. Before we begin discussing some tips and tricks that can be used when working with AI technology, we must understand what AI technology is and what it entails. 

What exactly is AI technology? 

According to Western Governors University, AI technology is, “The theory and development of computer programs that are able to do tasks and solve problems that usually require human intelligence. Things like visual perception, speech recognition, decision-making, and word translation are all things that would normally need human intelligence, but now computer programs are able to use their intelligence and capability to solve these tasks.” 

During the summer of 1965, this type of intelligence was discussed at Dartmouth by many scientists and mathematicians. Of course, this type of technology was in its infancy and the knowledge of what it could do was limited. This idea was abandoned for a few years before being picked back up when there was more research and availability of technology. In recent years we have seen a boom of interest in AI technology and it’s not a surprise that in the year 2023, it has become a hot topic. 

Music production is important when it comes to releasing music that heeds a crisp and professional sound. Photo courtesy of John Hult.

The future of music 

Many people have spoken about how AI technology within the music industry will become the future of music production. While many of us can reread the first sentence over and cringe at the thought of a “robot” creating music and passing it off as human, we must understand that the impact of AI and music has already made itself at home on many of our electronic devices and platforms. 

For example, Spotify and Apple Music have a feature called “Discover Weekly,” the selection of music on these playlists is generated by AI technology. These features comb through the entire platform to find new music that may appeal to you according to your music listening history and preferences. There are many other platforms that have been using similar AI technology, which has made it easier for their users to enjoy the platform. 

Setting the concerns aside and embracing the fact that AI technology is here to stay is easier than trying to push it away. This is why many artists have been turning to it to aid in their music production. 

How to produce music with AI

There is no shortage of AI technology that aids in music production. There are many platforms you can use to ensure that the quality of your music is top-notch. This helps, not hinders, music producers so that their work is the best that it can be. It’s worth looking into an investment in some sort of software that helps you in producing quality sound. 

As a musician, there is always a demand for quality music and a lot of it. This can become a problem for the artists and production team themselves who will have a much easier time when using the help of an AI. There is a daunting amount of tasks that you feel must be completed before learning how to use AI technology, which is not the case. 

So what is some AI software that you can use in the music production stage? While there are many reputable music production software, it’s important to keep in mind that these technologies are always evolving and changing and there’s a chance that new software will be popping up within the next few years. 

AI technologies for composition

There are a few reputable companies that are used to compose music. Of course, more companies are out there, but these are reputable and well-regarded. 

Amper Music is designed to require the minimum effort in order to produce a unique and sharp piece of music. The music is generated from scratch. This is an interesting technique used by many artists who use this as a baseline for many of their songs. The material on Amper Music is not pre-created, but rather it generates as you give the software commands. 

AIVA is also another software that uses AI to compose music. This software usually makes emotional soundtracks for movies, video games, and ads. This software can build music from scratch but it also has the ability to build off of existing songs. Whenever you’re working with brands on social media, it’s especially helpful because the licensing is taken care of. 

AI technologies for songwriting 

Amadeus Code can be used as a songwriting assistant. Of course, this doesn’t replace the actual human work of writing a song, but it can benefit artists having difficulty expanding their creativity. According to Fast Company, this software can “Churn through music libraries, breaking down music into tiny units and looking for patterns. When a songwriter uses the app, the AI can then pull up those patterns and suggest new notes, slowly building the composer’s melodies into music.”

Music Production can be a lot for one person, but teams and AI technology can relieve some of the stress. Photo courtesy of John Hult.

AI technologies for production 

Many producers have been opting to use these AI technologies for beats, instruments, and other musical elements. It can make things so much easier for musicians to build new and unique chord progressions. Magenta by Google Labs is an AI software that allows producers to create unique sounds and progressions. According to Medium, “Magenta Studio is a Google Brain project exploring the role of machine learning as a tool in the creative process. The Google Brain team created the open-source music-making package using machine learning models. The suite includes four tools: Continue, Generate, Interpolate, and GrooVAE. Musicians can use the models on their MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface) clips.”

AI technologies for mixing and mastering 

The mixing and mastering process is another important process for many music producers. These plugins can essentially create a starting point or even a point of inspiration for many producers. While many claim that nothing can replicate the human ear, it’s still a great place to start at. Neutron is an audio-mixing software that includes eight plugins and a mothership. This also includes seven component modules. Ozone is an “advanced audio mastering software, enabling creators to master faster than ever before with intuitive, AI-powered modules.”

The AI bottom line

The bottom line is that AI is not a way to take over human connectedness with music. There are so many art forms that can be replicated by AI, but without the touch of the human, it doesn’t compare. There is a new revolution of artists beginning to use AI technologies, which are vast in their options. 

In fact, the use of AI technology in music can be traced back to 1951 with the use of simple melodies made by AI for music. In the 90s, we saw the resurgence of this technology with many of David Bowie’s songs, and other modern and top charting artists. Arca, a producer who has worked with Bjork and Kanye West told TIME in an interview, “It’s provided me a sense of relief and excitement that not everything has been done — that there’s a wide-open horizon of possibility.” 

AI can bring the  possibility of becoming a producer or a musician for those who haven’t had the opportunity to work in studios. Something that really inspired this article was a quote by the co-founder of the Dadabots CJ Carr in the same TIME Magazine article, “I want to see 14-year-old bedroom producers,” Carr says, “inventing music that I can’t even imagine.” Music can be an outlet to many people, and giving the opportunity to dabble with music production using apps like these can create an array of interesting music in the years to come.

Brandee Robles

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