Welcome to the Music Business Worldwide Podcast supported by Voly Music. On this episode, MBW founder Tim Ingham speaks to AI expert, and the CEO of LyricStudio, Dr. Maya Ackerman.
Bloody Elon Musk. Not content with doing beastly things to Twitter (like, erm, marginally improving the user experience), he's also triggered the actual beginning of the actual end of the world.
Well, not directly. But Musk was one of the co-founders and funders of San Francisco-headquartered OpenAI, which is the progenitor of ChatGPT – the AI-powered online tool that can not only research and regurgitate online facts, but also weave that regurgitation in a variety of generated tones and styles.
Some tech experts are so impressed with ChatGPT, they say, in just a few more iterations, it will become a serious challenger to (and perhaps even surpass the usefulness of) Google, and turn the business of online search upside down.
(The next chapter in this sci-fi novel: ChatGPT gains sentience, turns our own long-trusted devices against us, and subjugates the human race. But that's probably still a few years away, so chill out, and, as Warren Zevon famously recommended, Enjoy every sandwich.)
The music industry is actually a little ahead of the curve on this topic. Because language-based 'generative AI' platforms are already transforming this business in a meaningful way – in the world of lyric writing.
LyricStudio, owned by California-headquartered parent WaveAI, produces original lyrics for songwriters in a style that mimics their own. In this sense, it's 'assistive AI' – a human companion, a muse. "When it comes to curing writer's block, there is nothing as powerful as LyricStudio," its website boasts.
LyricStudio's popularity is already mind-boggling: to date, it has been responsible for 'assisting' the creation of over a million songs, from over a million songwriters, musicians and producers. At least 15% of the people that use it, say LyricStudio, are professional music-makers.
One of those artists, rapper Curtiss King, released a No.1 album (on the US iTunes chart) last summer – with lyrics written/'assisted' by LyricStudio.
On this Music Business Worldwide podcast, the co-founder and CEO of WaveAI/LyricStudio, Dr Maya Ackerman, discusses the future for AI and music... especially when it comes to lyric writing.
Ackerman has some powerful credentials: she is a professor of AI at the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Santa Clara University, as well as a singer, songwriter and music producer. She earned her PhD in Computer Science from the University of Waterloo, held Postdoctoral Fellowships at Caltech and UC San Diego, and has published over 50 peer-reviewed research publications.
We ask her all about LyricStudio and the moral and artistic quandaries presented by the use of 'generative AI' in music-making. She points out that, so long as everyone in her field behaves ethically – which they surely all will, right? – there shouldn't be a music-biz-ending conclusion to this tale...
The Music Business Worldwide Podcast is supported by Voly Music.