Daddy's Car: A Song Composed by Artificial Intelligence - The Future of AI & Music
Author: Nathan Emmanuel
Date Published: 01/05/19
Created by a piece of Artificial Intelligence technology called Flow Machines - made by scientists at Sony’s CSL research lab in Paris, which was founded back in 1996 - Daddy’s Car marks the start of a music technology revolution. Sony CSL Paris is a research cell which uses data science and artificial intelligence to investigate the fundamental question in areas such as the understanding and creating of music, language and communication systems, sustainability, innovating dynamics and creativity - as stated on their website.
The first song the AI created was one called “Daddy’s Car”, in the style of The Beatles. It did this by gaining influence from its huge database of some 13,000 lead sheets (basic scores that record the melody and harmony of tracks), breaking them down into small elements which it then combines into a new composition. The second song Flow Machines created was called “The Ballard of Mr Shadow,” and formulated in the style of American musicians Irving Berlin, Duke Ellington, George Gershwin and Cole Porter.
Though the AI does write its own melodies, it would be misleading to portray that it completed the entire song under its own steam. Composer, Benoît Carré, was drafted in to turn the material that was output by the machine into a fully produced track. The lyrics for the track Daddy’s Car were also written by Carré.
Sony is not the only company to have looked into the use of AI within a musical sphere. Amper Music is an AI music composition company which builds tools powered by their Creative AI to help people create and customize original music. In an article for StartU, Amper Music co-founder, Drew Silverstein said: “Computer-generated music is not a new idea, but Amper’s novel approach looks at this challenge as not solely a data science one, but as a musical one.” Taryn Southern recently teamed up with Amper to produce the first album called ‘Sky is the Limit’, entirely produced by AI.
Even way back in the 1990s, David Bowie helped to develop an app called Verasizer, which took some literary source material and it would rearrange the words into new combinations with the potential for use as lyrics. Still today, on a consumer level, AI technology is integrated within music making software such as Logic, a digital audio workstation and MIDI sequencer software application for the macOS platform, which can auto-populate unique drum patterns with the assistance of AI.
The use of technology within music is not only something that goes hand in hand but something that will inevitably continue throughout the years as technology advances on. Technologies impact on the music industry as a whole is yet to be seen. Will it take the jobs of composers and producers alike? How will copyright laws come in to play? Will it be able to work without any human interaction? There are still many questions which are yet to be answered but Amper co-founder Michael Hobe believes it will reap positive benefits.
“You’re collaborating and working with AI to achieve your goal,” Hobe says in an article to The Verge. “It’s not that the AI is just doing its own little thing. It’s all about the process between it and you to achieve that final artistic vision.”