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  • Writer's pictureGrace Elmer

How AI is Shaping the Music Industry with Aimi’s Brooke Jackson

In this week’s episode, Dmitri Vietze sits down with Brooke Jackson, head of operations of Aimi, to explore how AI is shaping the music industry.

Learn more about Aimi, the generative music platform allowing users to interact with composition of music in real time and create continuous music experiences. Find out how AI is streamlining the creative workflow with Aimi studio. Grammy award winning singer and music industry veteran Brooke Jackson tackles the latest issues in generative music including copyright, vocal synthesis, and ownership. Look to the future of the possibilities powered by AI. What’s next for generative music? Find out on this week’s episode.

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Find a full transcript of Dmitri and Brooke's conversation below:

Dmitri: Welcome back to Music Tectonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm your host, Dmitri Vietze. I'm also the founder and CEO of Rock Paper Scissors, a PR firm that specializes in music innovation and tech, and today we're jumping further into a very hot topic, AI music and how it's shaping the industry as we know it.

What issues is it presenting? How does it relate to music creativity? What are all the things that we could be talking about there? So today I'm sitting down with Brooke Jackson. Brooke is a Grammy award-winning singer and music industry veteran. Most recently, Brooke was a researcher and Head of Business Operations at Water and Music, which has gone deep in the AI music world lately.

Previously, Brooke was a concert promoter for theaters and clubs, was general manager at Paradigm Talent Agency and at the global talent management company YMU, where she was COO of North America. Now she oversees operations, HR, and finance for generative music platform Aimi with such diverse, significant industry experience.

I am pumped to have her on the show. Brooke, welcome to Music Tectonics

Brooke: Hi, thanks so much for having me.

Dmitri: Yeah. I mean, that is a really cool mix of things that you've done from working, kind of in this, I don't know what you call Water and Music, this media research community entity working as a concert promoter, that's like right in the field as well as with management companies. Being a songwriter, a singer yourself pretty cool. And then now you're working in AI yourself. So we've got a lot of the boxes ticked here.

Brooke: Yes. I've covered almost all of the music industry, except for labels, which is a big one. But yeah, I've been following a thread for a while. It also takes some time. So I've been doing this for a while.

Why is AI such a Hot Topic?

Dmitri: Nice. Well, great to have you here. So we're going to dive right in. Why is AI such a hot topic for music right now?

[00:01:43] Brooke: Yeah, so right now clearly the big thing that's happened is Chat GPT and Dolly2, all the stuff that OpenAI is doing has captured probably the hearts and minds of people and generally it seems like people are using it as part of their daily lives now and it's really so mind blowing what it can do and so well that I think everyone's thinking about, okay, how is this going to change all of the other industries?

So, really, when it comes to why everybody's talking about AI, it's because there have been so many advancements over the last few years in terms of compute and CPU and the cost of compute that makes all of this possible. So it's not that it's a new thing, you know, it's not a new technology.

It's just that what's possible thanks to advancements in compute have made all of this really just take off over the last couple of years. And I think with what we're seeing in terms of what OpenAI has done, it's really advancing it into the future in a way that we haven't seen prior.

Dmitri: So really a combination of just sort of efficiency in technology, as well as a use case that kind of sparked everybody's imaginations.

Brooke: Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And we're seeing some neat things. And a lot of stuff that's been, you know, headline clicking kind of stuff that is bringing everyone into it. And , everybody's imaginations are really running wild now.

Dmitri: It's so funny to see all the LinkedIn posts about prompt engineering and this whole field that comes up. It makes me wonder, like, is that going to be what some future music components going to be? It's like prompt engineering for music.

Brooke: Maybe. It might be a genre.

Dmitri: Yeah, there you go.

Brooke: I sort of hope not. But I, yeah, I definitely think that it's going to be a new type of creativity that people are getting into. And I assume you've dug into it too. It is a bit addictive and it does feel like a new art form.

Dmitri: It's true. But on the other hand, it kind of reminds me of Microsoft macros. When you were trying to accelerate how quickly you could do stuff in Excel or Word or something, you'd be like, I'm going to create a macro to do this, this, this, this.

Brooke: You can really nerd out on it, right?

What Issues is AI Presenting in the Music Industry?

Dmitri: Yeah. Get really complex and it feels like you're doing computer programming without doing computer programming. I guess the natural language component of it for the prompt side of it is it's addictive because it's so accessible in some ways and you can play with what's going to happen.

So what are the issues in AI music specifically that the music industry is grappling with right now?

[00:04:12] Brooke: I think the most obvious one is copyright issues. So a lot of the advancements that's been done in terms of music has been trained on copyrighted music. So there have been a few companies that have gotten in trouble with that.

Clearly, some of the voice synthesis stuff that we're seeing grabbed the headlines like the Weekend and Drake song and some of the tools that are being used you know, even with consent to use other people's voices. I think that's sort of that, ooh, robots taking over our jobs and, kind of deepfake stuff that's getting people afraid.

But I think in terms of actually working with artists and doing things alongside and collaboratively with artists is sort of the, the ethical mix of not doing harm with tech and making sure that we're including the human aspect and not just taking what's been done and then monetizing that in some sort of like plagiaristic kind of way.

So, yeah, I think the consent and understanding the laws are the big issues in terms of music and artistic AI right now. And that's something that Aimi and we can certainly talk about Aimi as we get into this too, that's something we've really taken a lot of great pains and measures to make sure that we're not taking advantage of artists or just directly plagiarizing work.

We're not even really trying to make music, money off music at all. We're really trying to make a tool. But that's what I would say is probably the biggest issue right now with music AI.

Dmitri: So you've got on the copyright side, it's really about what people are ingesting.

Brooke: Intellectual property, I guess.

Dmitri: Yeah, intellectual property. What are people ingesting to then generate, in a sense, AI derivative content based on, and then you mentioned sort of the deep fake or just the use of somebody else's voice or identity, which I guess is kind of like rights to publicity side of it as well. I guess the other thing we haven't touched on yet, although it kind of comes up as you describe Aimi, that you're not trying to make money off of music is if you are a human that's using AI music tools, the other issue that I've seen arise is sort of who owns this and how are splits and royalties paid out as a result to that's the other issue, the third, I guess the third issue that I've heard about a bit.

Brooke: Yeah. So I guess part of it is, if you're using copyrighted music or owned intellectual property, you know, really got to be very careful about how you're then monetizing that.

And I think so much of this in terms of the voice synthesis and stuff, and some of these more novel things are truly that it's just novelty and it's a fun kind of party trick and it's neat to see what tech can do, but in terms of actual usefulness, I think that's really where we're trying to in terms of business, what's the use for these kinds of things, you know, what really is going to advance music if you're just making songs that sound like, so, I mean, it's a game, I think, almost and maybe fun, but, I did Drake or the Weeknd make less money because

Dmitri: everyone was talking about them that week.

Brooke: Yeah, I don't think so. You know, and did it advance the world of music? Maybe, maybe got people inspired to make music or something, but I don't see how that kind of technology is necessarily driving things forward. I think we'll get into this, I know you've got a few questions, but I think the usefulness of this compute power and these deep learning models and these neural nets and expert systems aren't that novelty. I think it's actually going to improve the workflow for musicians in the way that some of the chat GPTs and some of these other language learning models have helped workflows in other industries you know, healthcare and whatnot is definitely going to be affected by this too.

So it's getting to the boring part. I think we're getting all the fun, like, Ooh, cool. You know, you can sound like the Weeknd. You can sound like, this artist and or Beyonce or whatever is the new voice that's coming out. But what's really driving that forward for human creativity, you know?

So those are the areas of like, what's the point of all this.

The Issue of Intellectual Property

Dmitri: So I want to go back just a little bit to another boring part maybe because it's business model stuff. That third point that I brought up, for me it's not solely about are you making royalties off of content that is derivative on somebody else's intellectual property. Even if an AI platform or tool or instrument is using its own music for training data, there's still the question of who owns a track that's made on that platform. And that's the issue that I was talking about. The reason it's boring is because it's like, did you read the terms and conditions on the website you went to, to build a song and do you own it? Do they own it? Can you make revenue? Can you not make revenue? That's, that's another one.

And maybe we haven't gotten there yet as an industry to even talk about that cause we're still busy talking about those first two issues. The issue of intellectual property is training data and rights to publicity by sounding like, or claiming to be other people.

[00:09:12] Brooke: Yeah, I can talk about in terms of Aimi, so right now we're not even creating songs. We will get there, but the current experiences that we call 'em, cause it's not songs, it's not necessarily tracks. We have algorithms that create genre specific types of music based on ideas that are coming from humans.

And, we've paid them to be a part of that. So in that case, they've been paid for their musical ideas. And then there is no content really to monetize because it's being created new always. So that's what's slightly different about a continuously generative platform like Aimi versus, , I know, and there's plenty of companies that are doing this that are saying, we will help you create a song, and then whether that song is being based on copyrighted material is, probably part of, you know the internal business structure. And I suppose you'd need to read the terms, whether or not you own that song or not. And I suppose there's probably all sorts of, I'm not a copyright lawyer at all, so I don't want to speak too much about it.

And it's certainly something that the industry is grappling with, clearly. But I've heard stats that something like, so, normally, there were about 60, 000 songs being uploaded to Spotify every day and now it's something like 150, 000 songs every day. So, clearly, one, nobody's listening to all that. And two, probably not all those copyrights are cleared. And three is anyone actually making money off of it at all?

So, what's, again, This is going to play out as probably the music industry starts suing when some obvious things come up and start actually making money off of copyrighted materials.

But if there's no actual music, if it's only being generated off of algorithms, that gets a little wishy washy cause it's you know, there isn't even anything to own, we own the algorithm that's been trained off of copyright cleared, commissioned music and made in collaboration with artists and professionals that's a slightly different business model than, okay, here's a song, now you're going to publish it, and we're going to split up these royalties like the historic copyright royalty payouts have always done, nine cents per play or whatever it is. And split that up amongst our labels.

Whereas is there a label involved? Do you own your masters. You know, all that stuff is still wrapped up in the old system and Yeah, I mean, that problem is going to be the same problem that's always been the case. So, who is considered a publisher?

Who's considered the master owner? Who's considered the rights owner? Who's considered the songwriter? And I suppose, yeah, depending on which tool you're using, I would recommend you reading the terms and conditions if you're going to use a tool and then plan to make money off of a song that you produce with one of these new tools, because it's all a little bit wild west in terms of what types of money and what types of tools you can be using.

What is Aimi?

Dmitri: So before we get started, why don't you describe Aimi a little bit more so that our listeners who haven't checked it out yet, just have a little bit of sensitive and then we'll go back into our issues and use cases.

[00:12:30] Brooke: So I'm realizing there's a lot of assumptions that come about AI music.

And, again, it's all the headlines that everybody comes to Aimi with, you know, this sort of idea, but we call ourselves a generative music platform. And the reason we're a platform and not a streaming service or a playlisting kind of maker or, that kind of tool is because we've literally created a platform and operating system, programming environment and scripts that allow us to capture different types of genres and then make music from that.

So we use AI, not as the primary, like we are an AI music company, we use it to disassemble music so that then our algorithms and expert systems can reassemble music in ways that can be steered and manipulated and actually be useful for both the listener so you can manipulate what you're listening to on the app in the experience, and for the musician that might be using our tools to actually create music.

So that's sort of the difference. We're actually breaking down music itself and then sort of training it on here's what trap is. Here's what amapiano is and this is how our system can now then make new music that can loop forever or that can be used by hobbyists or professional musicians to ideate, to remixed master produce their own musical ideas in collaboration with that expert system.

So it really is a tool. We have a few products that are being built on top of that platform and that script. One is our website, which has several Aimi music experiences that have been created via these expert systems. We've had professional producers that have basically helped us train up on mixing and mastering and producing techniques that now are incorporated into these various types of music and a lot of it's ambient right now.

But they're going to be a lot more new experiences and new genres that are going to be coming actually soon. We've got about 200 artists that we're working with right now to produce some new types of experiences. We also have our app, which is an interactive, so this is more fun for the listener,. We expose kind of what's going on underneath the hood a little bit in kind of a fun gamified way and allow you to kind of mix and match what you want to hear, so you can start with a genre experience and then you can drill down into, I want to hear more or less bass, I want to hear more or less vocals, I want to hear more or less organic versus synthesized types of sounds and on and on and on.

You can also adjust how fast Aimi's algorithm is exploring these ideas and say I really like this idea, but I'd like to kind of move along a little bit. And then you can also thumbs up and thumbs down. Like areas that you really like. And we're capturing all that data, which is going to go back and retrain the algorithm.

Obviously you can go on and on. And the artists that are producing that can also get that data to say, Hey, people really seem to like this thing here, but they want to hear, you know, less bass or less tops, or they really like the vocals on this. So you can go on and on and on about what kind of data that we're capturing in terms of both the music making experience and the music listening experience.

So that's the app. So the obvious next step is actually making music alongside our professionals that have already done it as a hobbyist, as a professional musician using this system to make your own continuous looping music or songs that you might want to download, take it into your DAW, bring it into Ableton and mix and match from there.

So yeah, so that's going to be called Studio. And then we'll have a pro for professional musicians that will expose even more and allow you to manipulate and make your own music using our system.

[00:16:17] Dmitri: Interesting. I'm glad to have the explanation. The lightest version, the web version that you mentioned sounds almost like what Instagram filters did for photography in a way, like you could take something and put this other thing on top of it and it's still there, but it becomes something a little bit different. So it's a lighter tool to just change what you're listening to. But it sounds like you guys are going deeper and deeper and deeper beyond something that light.

Brooke: I like that because I remember having that experience with Instagram and going, Oh wow, now my pictures are beautiful. And I can take pictures like a professional and now you can have sort of see the, these were the original tools, but now you can go on and on, but you're exactly right.

It's sort of that democratization of music that you hear people talk about. How do I, as maybe not a professional music maker make beautiful music too. I've got ideas, there are certainly new companies that are starting to make, make songs from humming, you know, a tune or whatever, there's going to be a lot of that.

But yes. Being able to expose that to people and allow people to play with it and not just with text I think is gonna be a big innovation for both people that wanna be hobbyists, but also professional musicians that just need to save time on stuff.

[00:17:27] Dmitri: All right. We've gotta take a quick break, but when we come back, I want to ask you about, Musical creativity and A. I. We've kind of started there, but let's get deeper into it will be right back.

AI and Musical Creativity

Okay, we're back. And Brooke, as I mentioned before the break, I'm curious. How do you think about generative AI and music as it relates to musical creativity? We talked about some of the issues, we got into a little bit about where Aimi is going specifically. But how does this all relate to musical creativity, non AI music and the future where things are going?

[00:18:23] Brooke: So what we were talking a little bit about before the break was the idea that AI has the ability to take out some of the mundane versions of parts of making music. Well, really the mundane parts of making anything, but some specific examples of that are mixing and mastering.

So some of that takes a long time to do, and you have to have a professional studio, or you have to have somebody doing that. This is stuff that can be captured through AI, and really will take a lot of time out of the music making process. We've got it to where it's happening instantly. So there's that. Otherwise, there's a billion use cases for what people are already doing with AI. Stem splitting, ideation, songwriting, lyrics gosh, I could go on and on. And I probably should have taken better notes.

I'm trying to think like, even music for visuals, soundtracking for mood music and commercial use cases, continuous music for gaming you know, all that kind of stuff is really, really useful in terms of just like the mundane part of being a musician not that that's all mundane, but some of it can be really task oriented and tedious.

And in terms of just using the tools in terms of creativity, there's a lot to having that idea spark. So you have an idea and maybe you've been grinding on something, something, akin to writer's block and you put it into one of these tools and it spits something out that maybe you would have never even thought about going that direction.

I think that's really appealing. And it's an immediate use case for people and how they're using it now. So that again, it's not doing it for you. But it's sort of sparking that direction for you and the fact that you can then publish it instantly just makes it all the more more better.

Dmitri: I think it's pretty funny that you rattled off a bunch of interesting use cases and then said, I should have thought of more. I'm like, actually, each one of those was plenty like you might have to slow down.

Brooke: Probably 50 more.

[00:20:25] Dmitri: But seriously, like, I think partly what I'm hearing you say is that, you referred to them as mundane things, but really I think in terms of like, they just take a lot of time to do something.

If you want to separate out stems and didn't do something, it takes a lot of time. If you want to make a type of music that has a more adaptive quality, not because you're excited about AI or because you want to rip somebody off or whatever you specifically just have it. There are these emerging digital use cases that make sense in a different way.

Like games is a great example you used of like, well, how does it adapt and how does it extend and how does it change up based on what's happening for the player? And you mentioned with video too, like there's been a lot that's been done on the innovation side of music to figure out how to make music work better for video or vice versa. And everyone knows that at least the way that I put it, I've probably said on past episodes, music owns the emotion in film and TV. You watch it with music, you watch it without music, and you can like, you just feel differently.

But now you have to apply that to all these other digital experiences like video games, for example. I wish there were soundtracks inside my zoom calls, like automatically generated that changed the energy of the quote room, something like that. Like nobody's invented that yet.

Brooke: Yeah. Well, that's interesting.

And that's kind of the kind of thing that we're trying to do. So I mentioned the app allows you to customize the experience, but that can be true in a real venue too. And that's what I keep thinking is like, we've got all this data that we're collecting on our watches and heart rates and, you know, temperature and all this kind of stuff that we know about.

And we know that our bodies interact with music and these experiences. Why aren't we piecing this all together? And that's really what we're trying to do. So being in a conference, for example, and being able to say, we really need to pump up the jams a little bit or the energy or bring it down. It's time to calm people down.

And we know there's been plenty of psychological research about what happens with music in terms of, you know, affecting moods and affecting the vibe of a place. And it's like, it's one thing to have a DJ going, okay, we're going to play this, play this something and do that live, like you can actually potentially automate it or at least give somebody like you as a conference host the ability to just kind of let's turn down the progression a little bit. Let's go a little more organic with that. You can see really how you could just keep going.

Trying not to speak too fast about it because you can really, you can see what we're talking about when you start imagining it.

Dmitri: If there's anybody out there in Music Tectonics land who wants to partner on having a music experience, that you've already licensed, at Music Tectonics. Maybe as people register, they listen to a one minute something to get their brainwaves going in the right direction or as we're transitioning from sessions to a break or a party or whatever, let me know, or lock in learnings. Maybe we need a musical experience where people can lock in learnings as they are leaving at the end of the day.

Brooke: Seriously, we should do a Music Tectonics Aimi experience. We can absolutely do that.

[00:23:24] Dmitri: I don't want to go too far off our topic before moving on, but when we were talking about creativity, you talked about these use cases and I think partly what you're saying is AI can be used to create these tools that actually bring more creativity or expand what the playing field is for music making, whether it's in the form of splitting up stems and mastering and mixing, or if it's in the form of creating new formats for other types of digital experiences, et cetera.

But what I'm hearing you say is there's a lot of tools that become available as a result that can lead to more creativity.

Brooke: Mm hmm. Exactly.

Supporting Artists and Labels

[00:24:00] Dmitri: Got it. Okay, cool. So I want to go back to one more tough issue and then we'll go back to the more like future visioning and stuff just because, I'm sorry I'm very focused on business models and the music industry and I'm interested in disruption, but I also want to, I always want to explore like, how can you simultaneously innovate, but also bring everybody along for the ride. So I'm going to throw out one more of these tough questions and then we'll go future finding again and trend spotting. What measures do you think should be put in place to support existing artists, you're an artist, and record labels?

[00:24:35] Brooke: I think education is probably key on on all sides. And that's pretty broad, but also really important. So education, what do I mean by that? So clearly understanding copyright in general is weirdly complicated. So as a musician, as a music manager, as a person who's licensed music for use cases or paid my PROs for having a venue.

There's so much that just happens, and that's been in place for a very long time, that so few people understand, like surprisingly this is a, shouldn't be such a big secret, but really people who are doing this for a living don't fully understand that and there's about licensing and publishing and rights holding, and there's plenty of people who have taken a lot of advantage of that and there's plenty of documentation on that, and we know that's true.

Nonetheless, there's new musicians coming in every day, there's new people trying to create products that will quote unquote solve or fix the music industry that still don't understand the true issues behind what's causing broke artists, or what's causing some of of the issues in terms of copyright piracy and not actually even being able to get paid and black boxes of royalties that are out there and both sides not knowing how to get to the right person and there's all that and it's like that education just needs to be there and it's, and it's murky and muddy by design, really and it's unfortunate and there's plenty of people who are out there educating people.

But as we start to advance, that education is going to need to be right there beside it all the way. And that's including for the people who are creating new products, again, that are quote unquote supposed to be fixing the music industry, even though they may not understand what the problems are.

And for those who want to be artists or want to be hobbyists or want to be professionals in this space, understanding what it is that they're getting into. There's plenty of people who have been wary of music labels because they might take advantage of you. That's not inherent to a music label.

It's like, read the deal, read what you're getting into. I think this is kind of to your point earlier about who owns the music, it's understanding the deals and understanding the terms in which you're operating that's going to be necessary. And it's not fun, so I guess those measures in place, like, one, try not to take advantage of musicians, I think that's just, like, that can be built into a music model, if you actually want to support musicians, try not to take advantage of them or try and monetize every single instrument moment of, the experience. I think that's just being a decent ethical business owner or, you know, human. But yeah, just having access to education saying like, what is it that I'm actually doing right now? And it's, it's not, it's weirdly complicated. And I've read a lot of books on this kind of situation.

I'm still probably not, I do not consider myself even close to an expert at all. It's like knowing what to be conscious of, but so, yeah, in terms of measures, more dashboards, I suppose about like, here's what this is going to mean. You do this and that will equal this or now you've done this and so that means bringing in this amount of money or this amount of people or fans or now you've got this. So yeah. I'm not sure if I answered your question in terms of measurement. Just transparent measures is transparency. You know, ethical terms. And generally making sure that people understand what they're getting into in terms of historical business and the future and what it is that it's solving.

[00:28:11] Dmitri: I mean, I think part of it is, artists are looking at what's going on with AI and music and wondering, like, is this going to be another thing that they have to fight against?

And I think record labels and publishers are also wondering, although some of them are jumping in and saying, yeah, you know what, this is another revenue model. There's an opportunity.

Brooke: We're working with labels and I can talk about this. This is something that's coming, but we're working with labels to, to be able to say, Hey, now you can, I can't say who, but there's some major independent labels that we're going to be working with that you can put your musical ideas in and then collaborate with some of your favorite artists on making new music experiences, those that are jumping into that, that is a new label.

That's not going to replace the music industry. It's not going to suddenly say like, okay, Brooke Jackson and all these other musicians are now like taking over. But as a hobbyist and as somebody who might have fun with that, that's a fun tool for me to use. Is that going to change the direction of the music industry? No, but I think it's another lane for people to dive in. There's definitely monetization there.

Dmitri: So I was on a, there's a festival here in Bloomington called Grand Falloon. And I was on a panel with one of the members of sun Lux and Pat Kearns from the Pat Kearns duo.

And it was on kind of music and creativity and technology. I was the rabble rouser on the panel. I was sort of putting out there this idea of like, you can, you know, you can sort of fight against these things, but these things are going to happen in our society.

You can kind of be off on the side doing your own thing. Like if you're an acoustic musician that loves analog equipment, I mean, Pat Kearns actually said that what's the technology that he's focused on, he lives off the grid, he's got solar power. And he says the electricity that comes through to his studio is so pure that it sounds different in the musical gear that he's in the audio gear that he's using, there's less of a buzz.

And he loves that. And I'm like, shit, that is kind of innovative. It's not disruptive. It's like the opposite of disruptive. And it's the opposite of Jimi Hendrix who wanted more buzz or, or whatever. But it was really interesting to talk about. And you know I was kind of pushing to say, Hey, I mean, There's there's a revenue opportunity here if you can figure out how to do it.

But then later I was feeling kind of guilty. I was sort of like, those guys are artists for the sake of making art. They don't give a shit what's happening in the technology world necessarily. I mean, SunLux, I think had a whole other take on it and definitely uses a lot of computer based stuff.

But I was feeling a little bit bad, like maybe I shouldn't be pushing in this direction. Like, no, make whatever music you want. But, what I was saying is ultimately you might need a way to protect your digital identity, actually, depending on how big you are and so forth.

[00:30:44] Brooke: No, you said it, it's coming, whether you want it to or not.

So as long as you are embracing the fact that the only constant is change, that cliche, but you know, this can be useful. You don't have to embrace whatever AI music or generative music to understand that this is going to change things. Yeah, protections, I suppose, are part of it, and understanding , what Copyright issues might come up, I guess, are part of it, but Yeah, no, you're absolutely right, and I think those that can lean in and embrace the fact that there's going to be change, there's going to be plenty of opportunities, and it doesn't have to be, everything's going to be terrible for artists, that's not going to be true at all. It could actually be great and make life better for artists. At least that's my hope. And that's why I've joined these kinds of companies.

Dmitri: All right. I've got a few more questions for you. But we've got to take a quick break when we come back. I want to ask you what other companies you're tracking in AI.

Companies to Track in the AI and Music Space

All right, Brooke. I'm curious to know what other companies you're tracking in AI and music that interests you.

[00:32:20] Brooke: So there's a lot of companies doing music AI right now. I think Water and Music, which I know you mentioned I came from and I really admire all the work they're doing.

They've got something like 85 companies on a list doing something around AI music. And everybody's got a niche and there are some companies who are doing really well on that. Just a few off the top of my head are like Boomy ,Never Before Heard Sounds, can't remember the company's name, but the artist Holly Herndon and Matt Dryhurst are doing some really interesting things in terms of vocal synthesis.

And again, taking this technology and showing what can be done creatively. I think it's just neat to watch what these companies are doing. And some of them are focused on games or, continuously looping music. Some are more focused on songwriting, I really should take the names, but yeah, I'm sort of watching the space as more broadly than maybe specific companies, I'd say the specific companies that I'm watching are, of course, open AI, which is just really blowing the lid off of what is possible in terms of creative AI and also the way that they are so quickly integrating with our day to day workflow. So I think that version, whoever can like, start to integrate that kind of this makes sense for my day to day life for musicians is probably going to be who I'm watching for the most. Everybody's got like a slightly different niche right now and hopefully what Aimi is trying to do is sort of integrate into the day to day life of either a hobbyist or professional musician in the way that chatGPT has. And the way, you know, even like MidJourney and Dolly2 are making what used to be incredibly complicated digital creation instantaneous, which is crazy.

So everything they do, I'm really quite interested in.

Dmitri: I kind of want to push on something here a little bit, because When you mention the companies that are going to help musicians and, Boomy is one of the companies you're tracking on. And we've had Boomy on the podcast and at the conference and a really intriguing model.

And it feels like there are some companies that are specifically helping people who already identify as musicians. Maybe they're already trying to make a go. I know you've talked about hobbyists versus professionals, but I think there's a tier. Another tier, even I don't want to say below, but maybe to the left of hobbyists, which don't even think of themselves as hobbyists, that's more like, Oh, here's a thing I can manipulate sound in a way I never could before. I can create something else there. And to me, it seems like that's both a potential threat for a traditional music industry and also a potential opportunity. Like it could actually grow the market as well, but it's kind of interesting to think about like these different, that's not mastering necessarily.

That's not like automated mastering or something like that. It might be automated mixing, and it's not quite automated ideation, which you referred to earlier in the podcast, but it's more like a musical emoji, you know, it's like really light.

Brooke: Yeah, well, so the way we talk about it is like casual listeners and that's the just hit play.

And I suppose there's casual musical music makers who can just hit go, cool, and then yeah, kind of color it with the various like tools. And I think that's great. Anything that brings people into playing or, you know, getting to sort of shape the world around them.

I think that's always interesting. Now, again, I know Boomy, I think I saw stats, you spoke to them, but something like tens of millions of songs that have been created or something like that. And I mean, are we listening to the, I mean, I, I guess are they good? I guess I haven't really listened a lot.

And maybe it doesn't matter, like if the point is to just create and have fun with the music making process, then is that going to destroy the music industry? Probably not, you know.

Dmitri: It's like a different category.

Brooke: It's a different category. Yeah.

Future Thinking: What will the Impact of AI Be in a Few Years?

Dmitri: So what, what do you think the impact is going to be of AI music in the next five to 10 years, Brooke?

[00:36:25] Brooke: I probably sound like a broken record, but I really think that the, the pros are going to be able to reduce the time to do the more tedious tasks that don't feel like the fun part of creating music. So again, that mixing and mastering, that's a big deal. Some of the, you know, visual to music stuff that just takes digging through catalogs or maybe spending time watching the music and putting or watching the video and putting music that fits to that.

I think a lot of that stuff that is a little more tedious is going to go away and open up time for people to either create new ideas maybe tweak and perfect those kinds of sounds or do even, this is why I like artists, and again, we're not just focused on artists. We're focused on everyone, but I kind of don't know what people are going to do with it because anytime there's a new technology, somebody takes it in a direction that you would have never even expected. But I think on the simplest side, the, the more mundane, tedious tasks are, are going to go away. I also think because, we were just on this point, there's going to be so much music.

And there's already still so much music that I think curation is going to come back and, you know, having experts that can sort of guide you through your experience, whether that's, and I would say probably human sort of expertsto help guide through that.

Dmitri: Oh, I'm excited. You're getting me excited. I want that back, Brooke.

[00:37:57] Brooke: Yeah, I don't see how that's not going to be the case. And of course, like recommender algorithms are definitely going to come into play in terms of this too which is helpful, but I mean, information overload has been something that's been rising over the last 20 years and in music, it's just, I keep coming back, there's no way anyone's going to listen to most of the songs that are being produced. And I think I, I saw some stat of just like catalog music is by far in a way what most people are listening to because people just go back to the thing that they already know. And that's not to say that people aren't interested in new sounds or new experiences or new music.

In fact, they definitely are. It's just, where do you even start when there's 150, 000 songs uploaded a day, you're never going to work your way through it. And so you're just going to keep going back to where you were, but you can find people. Or critics or expert curators that can guide you through the experiences and allow you to have a new sonic experience that you know, may inspire or may enlighten you or even encourage you to do something of your own.

I think that's going to be a necessary layer that's going to need to be entered in and whether that's a human. Or whether that's an AI assisted human to help that person guide to or whether that's a new system in itself to help guide us through, you know, say, I like this kind of thing please help me curate that. I imagine that that's all going to, I think that's all going to be coming.

Dmitri: You know, as you were talking about the human curator, not only did I get excited because I miss having DJs or go to people that, that just kind of know a scene. It's not just that they, and they have certain relationships where data emerges for them sooner than for others. They've created some ecosystem of knowing what's emerging that I've always, I've missed since we've moved to kind of the cosmic jukebox and algorithmic playlist thing and things like, and also the monetized playlist thing, which just kind of fucks everything up a little bit.

But as you were talking, they remind me of the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell. And he talks about, like, I think he opens the book talking about art experts being able to look at a, what appears to be an ancient or antique or something, Greek sculpture and saying, well, we can send it in for analysis and find out, but I already know it's a fake.

Like a human. This is, I just by looking at it, I'm not even, I'm 10 feet away from it. I can already tell there's something stylistically there that I know that that's, I can't tell you exactly what it is, but I can tell it's a fake, that is a fake. And just that idea that there's so much complexity going on in the brain that yes, you can eventually train a lot of AI to do certain things, but there's that sort of element, maybe it'll be replicable by technology, but there's that sort of element of, yeah, but there's some other piece of this where you need a human brain to tell another human brain, this is what you're doing, or this is what you're looking at, or this is the stuff to check out, which is super interesting.

Brooke: Yeah, and that goes deeper. I don't know if you saw the, the response that Nick Cave gave to the fan who made a Nick Cave version song, and I think he nailed it. He nailed the whole idea of what we're all feeling a little, off about, about like AI creation, like, writers are on strike and they're worried about AI taking their jobs and, for good reason, there's plenty that's going to be done faster and quicker by our AI tools, but the fact is, computers don't have human experiences and therefore the poetic sort of humanity in art and poetry and music that we feel like Someone else has been through this too, and you sort of look to the art to find solace or solidarity or a better way to explain what it is that you're feeling, either good or bad.

And we know, inherently, that if it wasn't written by a human, it makes you feel lonelier. It doesn't, it doesn't provide that solace or that solidarity or understanding. It's almost meaningless. So again, I think doing just letting computers do their thing. And again, it's not, none of this is being done without human input to begin with.

We know this. But without even a hand on the wheel in terms of this creation, it's going to not feel, it's not going to feel like anything. So again, I think all the way down the line, 10 years, 5, 10 years down the road, there's still going to be humans Alongside this. So that's why I keep going back to these are tools that we can use, not this is the future of art.

Dmitri: Whew. Thank goodness. Well, Brooke, this has been a blast. Brooke's with Aimi music. You can check them out at Aimi is a I M I dot FM Brooke. Thanks so much for joining us on the podcast. I hope to see you at the music tectonics conference this year.

Brooke: Thank you so much. Yes, I hope so too. So get back and get back in real life. It'll be great.

Music Tectonics at NAMM 2023

Let us know what you think! Tweet @MusicTectonics, find us on LinkedIn, Facebook and Instagram, or connect with podcast host Dmitri Vietze on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.

The Music Tectonics podcast goes beneath the surface of the music industry to explore how technology is changing the way business gets done. Weekly episodes include interviews with music tech movers & shakers, deep dives into seismic shifts, and more.


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