EP13 - Will AI Terminate Songwriters?

AI is all the rage and its effects on music are already being felt everywhere.

Is it time to submit to the AI overlords or is there still time left for songwriters?

This is my take on it...


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Hey, it's Chris, and today I wanted to talk about AI, the rage, right? Everybody's talking about this. 

It's supposed to change everything. It's going to have a huge impact on music and writers and recording and everything like that. Okay? 

So, I just wanted to take this with a little bit of a grain of salt. 

Now, if you look back historically at different things that changed when the internet came along. For example, there was this massive dot com bubble that happened because everybody got way over optimistic about the change internet was going bring everybody. Did that change happen? Yes, it did, but it took almost 20 more years from the time in the nineties when they were talking about. All these things that are going to happen. Everybody invested in it - and of course they overinvested in it, created a bubble and a lot of people went broke because of that. 

When color printers came out in the eighties, everybody thought they were a graphic designer. It's like, you just get a color printer and look what you can do.

Digital audio workstations, right? They can do anything. Now you can get one laptop sitting on a boat even. And you can produce stuff that sounds like anything on the radio if you know what you're doing. But it's all there, right? So, people think, “Ah, I just have to buy the latest thing and I'm going to sound like the greatest stars,” right?

There are all these examples of human over optimism about so many different things, and I really believe it's the same with AI right now. 

Now, will all those changes come, will potentially songwriters become obsolete? Will music supervisors become obsolete? Will all these things have such an earth-shaking change to the music industry and so on? 

I believe it will. I believe AI can do that, certainly. 

But just like that line in Maverick with Tom Cruise, and the guy says to him, “Hey, you know you're going to be replaced (by essentially robot robotic planes and stuff like that), and your time is your dinosaur.” And Tom Cruise looks up as character and says, “Well, not today, sir.”

That's the point of this message right now. 

Not today. Things are not going to go crazy. 

Now you can jump on to ChatGPT, and you can type in ideas for lyrics. And there are people who are actually producing music with AI, with mixed results and so on. So it's cool. There is a great tool to go out there and do that.

Should you be afraid of it or should you worse, worse, think that it's going to solve all your problems and that you can just simply jump onto ChatGPT and become a rockstar?

The other element of that is what happens when technology moves forward, or say social change happens or something like that? It is fresh, novel, sometimes frightening at the beginning. 

What happens is that people's expectations meet the change. So, what that means is that you get used to hearing the new change or seeing the new change. So, if we're talking about music, if AI is able to do certain things as humans, we just start to expect that. 

For example, auto tuning, right? We all expect to hear an intune vocal. Now, before autotune, people did their best. The greatest singers sounded perfect, and most everyone else there were like these little, you know, little autotune tune things that made it human. It made it kind of cool, right? Autotune came along and then all of a sudden everybody's tuning their vocal. Now even I will tune vocals. Very transparently. so, you can't hear it. It sounds completely natural, but it gets rid of some of the things that the human ear would notice, right? We're attuned to hearing in-tune vocals, so we just get used to it and we move on, right? 

The most important part of all of this is remembering that to connect with humans, especially with art, and especially with music, it needs a human - at least right now.

People talk about building content online, like getting it to write them emails or things like that, or writing essays in school and so on. Yes, it's a great starting block. It's a new version of the word magnets on your fridge, and it's way, way better than that. It can do those things.

But you can also tell when it's been written by AI, at least right now. So remember, we are not replaceable, okay? 

So, I'm betting a bunch of years where we're just going to keep going through this thing, and things will change and so on. 

But I am not jumping on the bandwagon here with everybody (well, at least a lot of people saying that “The time is nigh and you’d better adapt or get out” kind of thing. 

So, I think we have more time. 


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