The booming adoption of AI in music has undeniably benefited producers and users. According to research, thousands of AI-generated songs are now listed on streaming services, picking up millions of users [1]. However, lurking beneath this transformative wave are concerns about AI's impact on copyrights and its capacity to produce original content. As the beat of the AI-driven music industry grows louder, it is essential to address these challenges to harmonize innovation with artistic integrity. 


The next big hit in the making 

The music industry has grown fiercely competitive, with record labels under mounting pressure to produce the next chart-topping hit. While creating high-quality music is crucial, catering to the listeners' preferences is equally vital. To achieve this, leading music corporations harness data science's power to examine patterns and forecast future trends. With data-driven companies being 23 times more likely to acquire customers than their peers [2], leveraging available data can help music firms gain insights into the trajectory of music that resonates with a broad audience. 

AI's impact on music creation is profound, particularly in its capacity to analyze vast volumes of data to identify patterns and anticipate trends. This empowers music producers and marketers to release music more likely to connect with their target audience. If, for instance, the trend points towards dance music, they encourage their artists to produce similar tracks. Researchers have achieved a remarkable 97% accuracy in identifying hit songs using machine learning [3]. Music production agencies aim to engage their audience exclusively with their music, evident in personalized recommendations on platforms such as YouTube and Spotify that promote musicians from the same record label. 

AI-driven data analytics can expedite this music production process. In initiating AI in music production, substantial musical data is gathered, including existing songs, compositions, and diverse musical elements. The data is then used to train an AI model, enabling it to learn patterns and structures within the music. During training, the AI model identifies correlations between musical elements, building a foundation for generating new musical content. With a personalized AI model, it can generate original musical content aligned with the user's input. The convergence of AI and music production opens new creative possibilities, empowering artists and producers to explore novel horizons in the ever-evolving music landscape.


Pitch perfect     

AI's role in music production extends beyond data analysis. AI-powered software can automatically fine-tune vocals, adjust instrument timing and pitch, and even eliminate unwanted noise from recordings. As it encompasses machine learning techniques to analyze and manipulate audio, AI saves significant time during post-production.

Therefore, producers are allowed to focus more on the artistic aspects of music creation. In a study, 66% of participants expressed willingness to use AI for mixing and mastering, while 62% would employ it in music production [4]. Specifically, Jeff Nicholas, executive creative director of Authentic Artists, highlighted that AI's ability to handle technical aspects expeditiously accelerates music creation and release processes [5]

The journey of AI-driven audio manipulation can be summarized in three main steps:

  • Pitch detection: By identifying the fundamental frequency of the singer's voice at different points in the recording, AI precisely evaluates the pitch accuracy of each note and forms the basis for further adjustments
  • Time alignment: algorithms automatically synchronize the timing of the vocal performance with the instrumental elements, resulting in a tighter and more cohesive rendition. Besides, the authenticity and emotional depth of the singer's voice are diligently preserved through
  • Naturalization: AI carefully retains the nuances and subtle variations that define each voice's uniqueness to avoid artificial sounds. Even with pitch and time corrections applied, the artist's distinctive expression can still shine through, enhancing the overall music production process. 

AI can significantly enhance the voice and tuning of artists' sound through these rigorous steps, offering numerous opportunities to improve songs' quality. However, amidst its advantages, AI also poses certain copyright issues.


Can AI reinvent the wheel? 

Despite its ability to produce high-quality music, AI-generated music can become formulaic and predictable. Besides, since AI can generate endless variations, it may lack the emotional depth derived from human experience. Composers draw from their life experiences, emotions, cultural influences, and personal perspectives to infuse their music with unique qualities that resonate with listeners on a deeper level. This human touch brings authenticity, originality, and a sense of connection to the music. On the other hand, AI-generated music relies on patterns and data analysis to generate new compositions, often based on existing works or popular trends. While this can lead to impressive technical feats and imitations of existing styles, it may struggle to capture the subtleties of artistic expression.

Therefore, musicians and producers play a crucial role in infusing their unique perspectives and experiences into their work, ensuring a personal touch to their creations. Interestingly, despite AI tools' potential, 23% of users cite a lack of creativity from these technologies [9]. This number further underscores the importance of using AI as a complementary source of inspiration rather than a replacement for human creativity.

As technology advances, AI represents a manifestation of innovation. Yet, the symbiotic relationship between creativity and technology in the music and arts industries requires careful refinement to fully realize its potential. Striking the right balance will empower artists to leverage AI's capabilities while preserving the essence of human craft in their musical endeavours.


Facing the music 

The music industry is grappling with complex copyright laws that struggle to keep pace with advancing technology. A significant concern is the unclear responsibility for documenting and tracking copyrighted content used in AI-generated music, posing a severe problem for copyright protection. Therefore, protecting AI-generated content becomes urgent.

Under the Copyright Act, registration is allowed for an "original work of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression." However, courts and the Compendium of US Copyright Office Practices have traditionally limited "works of authorship" to creations by human authors, excluding AI or computers [7]. As the use of AI expands, these interpretations and rules are likely to evolve. Nevertheless, a work that incorporates AI-generated material may still qualify for copyright protection if a human selects the AI-generated content creatively, resulting in an overall original work. Similarly, when artists modify original AI-generated material significantly, these modifications may meet the originality standard required for copyright protection.

The Recording Academy, responsible for the Grammy Awards, has introduced new eligibility requirements to address these concerns. While fully AI-generated songs are restricted from consideration, the use of AI in award-eligible music is permitted. To qualify, the work must have a meaningful human authorship component. Consequently, songs fully generated by AI are ineligible for awards, and only "human creators" can be nominated and win Grammy Awards [8]. This nuanced approach acknowledges the impact of AI in music while preserving the recognition of human creativity and authorship in artistic achievements.

The profound impact of generative AI on the art industry is akin to its influence on music, creating both opportunities and challenges. Therefore, the legal framework governing the use of generative AI holds immense significance in preserving artists' creations and preventing malicious purposes.

Interested in the ethical considerations surrounding generative AI within the world of Media and Entertainment? Check out our article here: Balancing Innovation and Ethics: Navigating the Landscape of Generative AI


Striking the right chords with creativity 

Despite the challenges it poses in terms of copyright infringement and a potential hindrance to creativity, there is no denying that AI offers numerous advantages to the music industry. As the music industry moves ahead, it becomes crucial for AI and producers to collaborate harmoniously. Responsible use of AI is essential to ensure it complements rather than overshadows the unique human craft in music creation.

Author Tuan Minh Tran