The experience of creating music has always been a human one. We think up a melodic fragment, rhythm or harmony, then pick up an instrument and go at it. Increasingly, however, the advent of artificial intelligence (AI) has muscled in on music production, offering new ways for musicians to create.
It can be a sore point for some, but AI can be a powerful tool that can spur creativity and allow composers and producers to stay in a state of creative flow. Here are 8 apps and platforms that are signalling the future of music production using AI.
Are the robots taking over, or are they just making music production easier? Like it or not, AI is here to stay: here are some of the tools that use it best.
It’s long been the bane of a beatmaker’s existence – how to find samples and without clicking on a thousand different folders and subsequently having the will to live drained from you.
Atlas is from New Zealand-based software company Algonaut. The software uses AI to arrange your sample library in continents that are grouped according to style and character. It even allows you to build drum kits at the click of a mouse. Visit the Algonaut website for details.
Step sequencers can often suffer due to their inherently static nature. Of course, not all are created equal, but even the most sophisticated options can’t respond in real-time to user information. Enter Playbeat.
Playbeat uses AI to randomise grooves, by manipulating pitch, volume and more. Just load in your own samples (up to four at a time) hit the randomise button and away you go. Never fear though, you can manually adjust parameters if you feel the need to lock something in. Check out the Audiomodern website for more info.
With Rhythmiq from Accusonus, we’re still in drum territory but it has a slightly different modus operandi compared with the aforementioned Playbeat. Instead of building beats from scratch, it relies on previously uploaded beats, with the variations to come afterward.
The emphasis here is on live performance. If you’ve already got a groove cooking, but you need some natural variations according to broad-brush changes like ambience, fills and silence, Rhymthmic could be the tool for you. Find out more at Accusonus.
An article on artificial intelligence wouldn’t be complete without our friends from Google. A.I. Duet works by ingesting millions of melodies, then machine learning deciphers the relationships between these fragments.
Now, because the robot has garnered this musical education, it can respond to stimulus in the way a human might. For example, a person plays a melodic fragment and the machine plays back its own, not identical, but related phrases. Try it out for yourself.
Musico is an Italian software company that has developed an AI composer for generative and responsive music-making. The Musico engine can generate music in a variety of genres and respond to human input in real-time. Capable of composing an endless stream of music, and any music created is also copyright-free, making it available for use by anyone.
The company has developed three apps that enable easier interaction with the engine. Impro AI controls the engine with intuitive gestures to create an endless variety of performances. Song allows anyone to intuitively control the engine, adding real-time music effects to your voice. And MusicFit creates a workout soundtrack by generating music in sync with your body’s movement. Visit the website for more details.
To be successful in the production music game, you have to make a lot of music. I mean, a lot. Aiva is a platform that aims to help you make soundtracks with ease by using AI to generate MIDI files in a style of your choice.
Once you land on a style that is to your liking, you can download the MIDI files so you can expand on them with your own sounds, or simply download the audio. More than many other AI apps, this one is likely to raise the ire of purists because of the temptation to let the machines do all the work. It can, however, be a great launchpad for entirely original compositions. Head over to Aiva for more.
MatchTune (formerly known as Muzeek) is a software that uses artificial intelligence to solve a problem that’s unique to the 21st century: YouTube soundtracks. MatchTune claims that the vast majority of videos on YouTube are yet to be partnered up with the perfect soundtrack – music that’s perfectly arranged to suit the style, length and dramatic moments within each video. AI can help with that.
Artificial intelligence analyses the points of climax within a video then separates an original composition into its constituent elements, rearranging them into a new piece that syncs up perfectly with the action on screen. Visit the website to see it in action.
The headline on LANDR’s website reads “Create, we’ll do the rest.” Implying that mastering isn’t a creative discipline in its own right is likely to get a few engineers hot under the collar – that aside, LANDR is clearly aiming to implement AI as a final step in the creative process.
Machine Learning means that AI can get smarter with experience and LANDR is the exemplar of this principle. It has a vast reference library at its disposal in order to help it make appropriate and tasteful decisions when it masters your track. To find out more, visit their website.