Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem

PDF Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem Routledge, 2022

Book author
  1. Martin Clancy
Artificial Intelligence and Music Ecosystem


Artificial intelligence (AI) presents a unique opportunity for musicians to shape and transform existing modes of creative expression. It raises questions regarding the role of the human artist and related economic and philosophical issues. In response, multiple voices from leading AI practitioners in the arts, industry, and academy present transdisciplinary perspectives on emerging ethical and technical questions. Contributors who begin within fields of expertise have been encouraged to fence step and address what matters most. Indeed, it is a research responsibility in a work of this kind (one that involves near-future societal tests) not to avoid the most taxing question: What needs to happen next?

This book highlights pathways to the affordances and rewards available while attempting to address these issues with à la carte neighbouring chapters offering supplementary topics. It is designed in sequence, bookended by chapters dedicated to the future. In Chapter 1, economist and philosopher Jacques Attali confirms AI as the composing technology he predicted in Noise (1977) and points to the following stages of human and music evolution. In Chapter 2, David Cope, whose work since the 1980s has shaped the possibilities of computer creativity, reflects on the meaning of music. In Chapter 3, Miller Puckette, the inventor of Pure Data and Max languages, candidly argues how programmers should explore new musical ideas. In Chapter 4, Armenian pianist and computer scientist Artur Osipov draws on the commonalities between music theory and computer programming. In Chapter 5, American musician and sound artist Holly Herndon discusses how AI continues to inform her work and considers its impact on the music industry and creative practice. In Chapter 6, Georgia Tech’s Gil Weinberg and Richard Savery present a ‘human-first deep learning design’ for embodied AI music robotics. In Chapter 7, Ajosa Smolic and Gareth W. Young examine approaches for AI and music within immersive XR environments such as virtual and augmented realities. In Chapter 8, the president of DARIAH, Jennifer Edmond, reviews the adoption of AI with music from the standpoint of data. In Chapters 9 and 10, Martin Clancy presents the legal challenges of AI to music copyright and considers the application of global AI ethics reports for a fair and sustainable music ecosystem. In Chapter 11, Rujing S. Huang, Andre Holzapfel, and Bob Sturm build the review of AI ethics into a genuinely global perspective through a series of interviews with AI music practitioners in Asia and India. In Chapter 12, AI music start-up CEO Mick Kiely delivers a passionate call to arms in response to AI music generation. In Chapter 13, Warner Recording Group Chief Innovation Officer Scott Cohen provides insight into our past and future engagement with new technologies. In Chapter 14, Martin Clancy presents a new and robust theoretical model to underpin an ethical AI ‘fair trade’ mark to support a fair and sustainable music ecosystem.

Nothing could be further from the intent of our book than to offer a bleak and dystopian appraisal; however, much that follows is troubling, especially when contemplating the future work possibilities for those now beginning in music. As the final edits to this work are drafted (January 2022), it is difficult to detach reflections on AI from the financial impact that COVID-19 has had globally on music makers. The pandemic has revealed the economic fragility of the music ecosystem before the full implementation of many technological provocations considered in this book.

In the end, why should music matter so much? Suppose Jacques Attali is accurate that music is a herald for social change and what happens in music happens here first. Indeed, the cycles of twenty-first-century technological disruptions provide evidence that Attali is once more correct. Then, in that case, our present musical entanglements with AI may produce wisdom for both the broader macroeconomic and the environmental ecosystems, and that is something surely worth our embrace, curiosity, and vigilant suspicion.

It may be that a renewed global appreciation of the music ecosystem’s economic brittleness will stimulate initiatives to invigorate human-centred values within music, though that is said with as much hope as forecast. Nevertheless, we should remain playful and open-hearted when engaging with AI technologies; as Holly Herndon writes, ‘Things will get a lot crazier!’ and Scott Cohen’s mindboggling chapter indicates how near that ‘crazy’ future is. Therefore, it is shrewd for music makers to continue reimagining innovation and influencing its destina- tion, as this book intends to do through a fresh transdisciplinary approach to AI and the music ecosystem.
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