Earlier this year, a curious music video began circulating the internet for a song created by an AI that had been programmed to compose in the style of rap superstar, Travis Scott. For many, the video made by US Digital Agency, Space150, was as shocking as the infamous Obama deep fake video. This wasn’t because it was a convincing doppelgänger of the rapper, but because it was an original creation that genuinely resembled Scott’s idiosyncratic style. Not just that, but the music and hook were actually catchy and infectious in the same way as Scott’s music. If you’d heard the song on the radio, you couldn’t be blamed for mistaking it for a new single from the artist himself. People on the internet instantly began postulating that this hint at the end of human composers in music one day.
Before you throw your acoustic guitar out the window though, keep in mind that while AI can play a major role in the future of composition, it requires a lot of human input. After the AI composed the song, Space150 “used additional neural network programs to create melodies and percussion arrangements to accompany them”.
AI composers already exist in the music industry today. Companies like Amper, use AI to let users generate original compositions by setting parameters like genre and track length and then edit by introducing and removing instruments.
Virtual Reality Music Videos
Virtual Reality has shifted the landscape of music videos drastically and it isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Since the release of Bjork’s Stonemilker in 2013, directors and music artists alike have seen the entrancing intimacy of VR music videos grow as VR becomes more realistic and immersive. Already major artists such as The Weeknd and Run The Jewels have released VR music videos, while legends such Paul McCartney and Beck have launched VR concerts for their fans to enjoy.
The possibilities for VR music are endless – even America’s biggest music festival Coachella has released virtual tours of the festival’s art and music performances online. With sound and visuals able to now be captured in a convincing three-dimensional reconstruction it’s exciting to think of where this technology will take us next.
In Indio Valley 2011, the world of live entertainment was shaken when Tupac Shakur, possible the most iconic rapper of all time, took to the main stage of Coachella 15 years after his tragic death. This was the first ever live hologram performance of a dead superstar, and since then the technology has become a hot button topic, including when Michael Jackson’s hologram performed at the 2014 Billboard music awards.
But pop star hologram performances aren’t confined to posthumous tributes. This year, 16-year-old Hatsune Miku performed in London’s 02 Academy Brixton with over 100 000 songs under her belt, many of which are written by her fans. How? Hastune Miku is a virtual pop star, created using two programs – one for her vocals and one for her animation.
Not dissimilar to Miley Cyrus’ appearance on Black Mirror as a virtual pop star, Miku inhabits an interesting lane in live music. Miku’s online presence and dedicated fan-base has led to her amassing an armada of fans, and the electrifying atmosphere of her holographic performances speak volumes to that. But part of what makes the virtual singer such a meteoric phenomenon is that so much of her music is made by her fans – making her a unique look into the future of crowd-sourced composition and collaboration.
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