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  • Writer's pictureEric Doades

Music, Crowd Creativity, and Online Communities with Mark Redito

What do we really mean when we talk about communities in music and technology? This episode shines a light on the remarkable role that dedicated groups of fans or creators can play when they come together.

Our guest, musician and tech thinker Mark Redito, shares his journey from the early days of the internet to the decentralized and synthetic music worlds that are unfolding now.

On the way, we dive into headless collaboration, where no single leader takes center stage, as we chat about Songcamp, a large-scale artist collective pushing the boundaries of music and technology. Mark shares fascinating insights into collective decision-making, the role of AI and natural language processing in music, and the challenges of a web3 music project.

Next, we grapple with the ethical considerations and potential impact of AI on the creative industry. We explore the need for a consent layer to protect artists' work and the potential of AI to revolutionize music production, game design, and video production. It adds up to a friendly, compelling discussion on art, music, technology, and the beautiful futures that may lie ahead.

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Episode Transcript

Machine transcribed

0:00:00 - Tristra

You're listening to Music Tectonics. Welcome to Music Tectonics, the podcast that goes beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm your host for this episode, Tristra Newyear-Yeager, chief Strategy Officer at Rock Paper Scissors, the music innovation PR firm. Today I'm really excited to speak with Mark Redito, a musician and tech thinker who has done some really amazing projects in the past few years, after a previous decade or so of making some great, diverse music. You may have heard of Mark thanks to Song Camp and their huge quote-unquote headless band Chaos, or thanks to his thoughtful writing on music, creativity and technology. Hey, Mark, I'm really glad you're here today.

0:00:47 - Mark

Tristra, thank you for having me. I am very excited for this conversation and also like finally getting to actually talk to you one-on-one. I've been a fan of your room for a minute. So yeah, this is exciting.

0:01:00 - Tristra

Oh yeah, awesome. This is going to be a lot of fun, so I wanted to set the stage for everyone who may not be as familiar with your work. What do you tell folks when you meet them for the first time about what you do?

0:01:12 - Mark

So my default is you know, I usually tell people, you know I'm a technologist, an artist and a community builder based in Los Angeles, and you know, like you said, you know some people might know me from my music and some people might know me from my work at Song Camp and all these other projects that I've been doing. So yeah, that's pretty much how I introduce myself.

0:01:37 - Tristra

Awesome. Yeah, I'm curious to talk a little bit more about the community side. How have you you know that can be defined in a bunch of different ways? Community is one of those terms that sounds really cool, but it's. Everyone defines it a little differently. How do you define it and how do you see the role of community in very much digital spaces?

0:02:00 - Mark

Yeah, Well, like you said, you know, community could be defined in different ways, multiple ways. You know there's like music communities, there's like tech communities, there's local communities and all that stuff. And you know communities in general I do have a lot of experiences with, especially like digital communities. I mean, you know, maybe I'm dating myself, you know it's it's you know. I have seen the internet from its early inception, from, like the dial-ups you know, and from that era of, like you know, BBS Bulletin Board Services, where you have to be dial-in.

0:02:40 - Tristra

Oh, you're going way back.

0:02:42 - Mark

No, it's way back you know, and you know as a young kid you know, with internet access, you know I would find sort of like these, like BBS services that are essentially community run.

You know where you access that server and you get like all these like cool content, writings, images, sometimes music, and that itself could be like music could be seen as a community in itself. And so from there, you know, when, with the whole sort of the 90s, early 2000s, internet, you know bloomed, you know there were like geocities and forums, and you know which I'm all been a part of, and so early on, I sort of like saw like how important communities are, and so, if I could define, say, a digital community, it's a group of people not bounded by geography, but of like shared interests and shared goals. And so I look back to my this community that I still always remember, back in the 2010s. It's called SPF 420, which is like I mean, from the name itself, you could already sort of like get a sense of like what this community is. It's really a community of like weirdos and outcasts, you know, like very highly created people making really weird electronic music, you know, and so.

I was part of that and we hold shows in these. I don't know if you're familiar with this service called Tiny Chat no.

0:04:15 - Tristra

I'm not Tell me more.

0:04:17 - Mark

You can think of it as like an early version of Discord, but super janky, you know, and you know the video conference calls are sort of like 480 by 480, like very tiny and pixelated. But we would hold shows there and, dude, I'm telling you, it would go off, man, like we would have like 500 people like tuning in, you know, and sometimes it would break.

0:04:39 - Tristra

but because it wasn't made for that, you know.

0:04:41 - Mark

But we would actually sort of like hold shows there and it was just a lot of fun and there was a community there and everyone felt like they belong. You know, everyone felt like they had a place, you know, and a lot of the artists who actually were part of that cohort, you know moved on to become like bigger artists. You know, like, like, for example, ryan Hemsworth, giraffe, xxyxx you know all these like bigger artists that became like well known. So yeah, communities, digital communities.

0:05:15 - Tristra

So they've been. Basically, you're saying digital communities are just have been baked into the internet from the get go.

0:05:20 - Mark

A thousand percent. A thousand percent.

0:05:22 - Tristra

Yeah, so nowadays. So there's a lot of complexity that's been added and maybe a lot of like cultural, social, political baggage. In this day and age, how do you see yourself? Both? You can speak either as a musician who has tried to reach people and you know share, to share your music, or to share, have them share their music with you, or you could speak as a, as an instigator, which is the way I kind of imagine you at song camp, but you can correct me if I'm wrong in a second. Anyway, how, how has that changed now? And what are we? What are we looking at today?

0:05:54 - Mark

Like what are some of the foundational first steps if you want to cold start a community or if you want to add new vitality to an existing one online, I mean, building communities are hard but then at the same time too, can also be easy or made easier by, you know, maybe a compelling story or a compelling lore or something that sort of like binds everyone together, something that sort of relates everyone together, like, for example, I'm thinking of like a community right now that that stands out to me. I wouldn't call them a community per se, but maybe there's some parts of them that feel like community, like, for example, if you're familiar with the music collective called PC music agey cook.

You know, Sophie, you know there's a shared sound, there's a shared sort of like, lord, there's a shared aesthetic, you know, and all the participants, sort of like, embody that aesthetic, you know, or the spirit of it. I'm not too sure if they have actually have a shared space where they actually all connect. Maybe it's through Twitter or you know. Maybe they have their own discord, but you know, that to me is like a good example of like what a modern digital community might look like, and so, yeah, let's go back to chaos.

0:07:31 - Tristra

First of all, can you just explain for folks who may not have been tracking as closely as some of us were, what exactly song camp was and how chaos? Rose out of it. That sounds very epic right there and there was song camp and from song camp it emerged chaos. I love it though I mean you know.

0:07:49 - Speaker 3

It's great, it's perfect.

0:07:52 - Mark

I love that voice. It's perfect.

0:07:56 - Tristra


0:07:59 - Mark

So, for people who aren't familiar, song camp is an artist collective and you know, within song camp we are well, we define ourselves as an artist collective exploring the edges of new technologies and the internet and collaborative ways of actually making music together. And so what that means is that you know we make music and then we use the new technologies especially, for example, web 3, you know to distribute our work. And how we do that is through camps, and you know the first camp, which is Genesis camp, was a group of 15 folks, you know, banding together to create music and then offering the pieces of work as NFTs, and so that, you know, moved on to Electra, which is our second camp, and then Chaos, which was one of our biggest camps, you know, with 77 members strong and so insane, dude, you know. And within that, within Chaos, you could maybe, if I could define it, like you could, think of Chaos as a pop-up production shop where we made the music, we made the artwork, all of us.

We made the website, the tokenomics, you know of it. Also, we also have a podcast, we also have a marketing team, like all of that, within this one headless band called Chaos. So it doesn't matter if you are a marketer or a podcaster, you are part of the band, you are Chaos also, and so that was sort of like, maybe what made it unique, what made it stand out that everyone who was contributing, was Chaos, you know, and headlessness, if I could define it would be yeah please do If I could define it with more of an example.

like I look at the headless groups that came before us, you know music groups, for example, odd Future would be one of them. There's no clear leader, you know, but they all make music together and they collectively release stuff together. Brock Hampton is another one. So from that concept of headlessness we sort of like overlay that also onto Chaos. You know there's no clear leader there are. There are no swords, you know, but there's no one main person. You know that's saying here's what we need to do.

0:10:26 - Tristra

So yeah, how do you get so? Let's talk for a second about the mechanics of the dynamics of that a bit. How does anything get done? I'm thinking of, I mean, humans are so fascinating the way we can reach consensus. I don't know if it's a consensus-based approach where you know, are we talking like a Quaker meeting, or are we talking more like okay, that's cool, you seem to really want to do this. You run Mark and you go do this thing, and then we'll all weigh in after you've gotten to a certain point, or how did it work? Hmm?

0:10:58 - Mark

Yeah, how did it work? There's so many components, how did it not work you?

0:11:05 - Tristra

can also like what were the pain points, like what did you learn about people trying to work together that maybe, moving forward, you'd keep in mind? You know what were the biggest surprises for you.

0:11:19 - Mark

Yeah, well, that's a good reframing of a question, but if I could maybe go back to the initial prompt, Go back.

You know, getting 77 people together and to make stuff together is not an easy feat, you know, as you may imagine. You know there are coordination costs. You know how do we actually collectively decide together? And so one thing that stands out to me is like what are the incentives? You know? What are the containers that contain us, you know, and I think about containers, sort of like things that hold us, you know, together. So one container could be like space. What is our shared space? And our shared space is Discord. That's where we actually talk in real time. Another one is time.

You know, when we were doing the chaos project, you know we have we have this thing called acts. You know, you could think of it as sort of like a acts, as like a theater. You know, act one is this, act two is this, you know. So, act one music is being made. You know. Act two the second part of the music being made. Act three you know we're now building the website, now we're making the marketing campaign, now we're making etc. Etc.

You know, and so that's sort of like made everything like digestible and also like coherent to everyone sort of like involved. You know, okay, everyone's like sort of like moving in the same direction and then lore lore is very important that really like bound us together. As you may know, heiress is the goddess of chaos and so, you know, we sort of like, sort of like propagated that story within us that we are heiress. Heiress actually lives inside of us and we're all her hands, you know, and we're all just moving towards this, you know, and that was really powerful, you know, and just it made me learn about how us as humans, you know, are we're story-based creatures. You know, we love stories and once we believe that story, you could actually do anything, you know, and so I'll pause here If there's anything that comes up for you.

0:13:35 - Tristra

No, that's fantastic. I love how you sort of made two really important points and that are probably applicable to other projects and other endeavors as well, which is breaking it down into sort of pieces, whether there's our time, like time bounce, so people can kind of organize something. There's like a little tiny bit of a limitation around it and then but it's all threaded together by a story that has enough room for different interpretations, right? Do you think of of Eris as a beneficial goddess? Is she neutral, is she kind of evil? And all of those things could be really fun to play with as an artist, right Like so you could think 1,000% yeah.

And how would you be a chaotic drummer and still feel like you were doing what you wanted to do, as you know someone who's in charge of rhythm or whatever. Like it's kind of fun to imagine that as a prompt. But it's got enough space, right? Yeah, it's totally if you have it totally locked down, and I think that's where lore can get a little bit misleading. Sometimes people create these like really elaborate, almost like Marvel universe level stories, whereas sometimes all you need is like here's Eris, the goddess of chaos.

0:14:44 - Mark

There you go, go make some music no totally yeah, and on the extreme end of it it can also be. I mean, it's the same device being used by cults, you know it's like.

0:14:57 - Tristra

Okay. So what you're telling me is you started a web three music cult. I get it okay, but there's no leader.

0:15:03 - Mark

That's good, it's good, so you are.

0:15:05 - Tristra

Quakers, you're like the Quaker web three music cult Got it.

0:15:08 - Mark

Yeah, I think Quakers are definitely like the closest yeah.

0:15:14 - Tristra

Well, what was the hardest part about all this? You just talked about some of the beautiful organizing principles that you all discovered together. What was something that you felt like kept getting in the way that you wish, kind of that maybe has some broader applications too, whether we're talking about running a tech project or creating something together.

0:15:34 - Mark

Yeah, coordination, coordination definition.

I mean you know like you know, like like suffer devs and tech people, you have frameworks to do things right, like, for example, the scrum framework or the agile method. You know where, step by step. You know it's fast. You know we sort of like took inspiration from those principles and sort of like made it a little more artistic. You know that would speak to people who are like us. You know more on the creative side, more on the artistic side of things. But what was challenging? Dude, like yeah, going back, it's coordination. Like we do, we did have fancy tools for coordination. Like you know, we played around with DAO tools and for people who are not familiar, dao means decentralized, autonomous organizations, very much an ongoing experiment and research in Web3.

And you know one of these tools is called Coordinate. You know Coordinate like an ape.

0:16:39 - Tristra

There's gotta be an ape in there. Somewhere there has to be an ape.

0:16:42 - Mark

There has to be. You know we're talking about crypto. There has to be an ape. So the way Coordinate works is that you know you give to your collaborator. So say you start with like X amount of tokens and then, for example, tristra is my collaborator for, say, a specific task and I was impressed with like how Tristra collaborated or made that task, or you know, and so I give you X amount of tokens to signify. Yeah, I appreciate you, thank you. You know, and we do that for everyone.

You know Everyone sort of gives you know, and so that becomes a sort of like a social graph, you know, and that social graph can now be used to like how we actually distribute the profits of the project which we've done like automatically, you know, and so it's a beautiful thing.

But then, at the same time too, I think everyone had different sort of like, maybe interpretations of like, how this token actually signifies. And so that made me think of like, well, like information flow, like how do we sort of like, share understanding of certain things? And it becomes hard. The more complex an organ, if we see chaos as an organism, the more complex the organism is, the more latency, the more lossy communication flows could become, and so that was also a challenge. Everyone had different interpretations. Collective decision making was also a challenge too, in that, you know, we would hold like, you know, we would write proposals about like hey, here's how we're thinking about things that everyone agree, you know, and people participated, but not everyone, because everyone had their own thing, you know, and so that's more of like a social, sort of like human thing too, and so, while technology aided us, at the same time it also comes down, boils down also to the human who is participating, you know.

0:18:47 - Tristra

Yeah, that was one side of DAO's I've always found Interesting in that. You know, it's really designed for people who have a certain amount of time and you're excluding people who may be valuable to a community, who don't necessarily have the same amount of time, even if they're pretty committed. So it's an interesting you know I guess this is my me speaking as like a working mom Mm-hmm, mm-hmm that there's been. I always felt like like that was something that was kind of missing from the conversation, but I really love that you brought that up. That participation isn't always limited by will, right, it can also be limited by other external factors, and that's like a part of like something that you know is hard to cope with technologically and is more, you know, bigger systemic question. I really love the way it is. That's really cool. So making collective decisions is always a practice. I admire it is a practice. Yeah.

Because it is so hard, it is hard, it is hard. Dude.

0:19:51 - Mark

Yeah, yeah, yeah. So yeah, I mean even like you know, like that's a perfect example. You know we have some. You know we have some members who also have families, you know, and they're not on the internet all day. You know they don't have time to actually write a proposal or read through a proposal and then vote. You know it's like dude, that's too much overhead, you know, and so we try to maybe like simplify it, but still, you know, it's not perfect, so yeah.

0:20:23 - Tristra

Yeah, it'd be interesting to think of a system that added like a layer of efficiency for people who are just like. I don't need to read all the like. What's the basic premise here? You know well. I think we'll get there. It's a matter of practice, but it's very interesting. Okay, I would love to switch gears for a second, mark, and to thank you for exploring the creative, some of the creative side of your work. I would love to talk to you more on the technologist side. I know that you've been thinking a lot about AI and natural language processing and all sorts of other very you know Ocaron things that are on a lot of people's minds. So I'm wondering if you could explore a little bit how you're thinking about AI, you know, as someone who's coming from the strong creative background. How do you see it? What are you intrigued by and what concerns you, mm?

0:21:13 - Mark

yeah, I mean there's well just to preface this. I'm. My personality is more optimistic, you know.

0:21:24 - Speaker 3

I love it.

0:21:24 - Mark

I'm a pretty like positive person in general, and so I tend to maybe focus more on the positive side, although it's important to also like really think about the negative side, because these are powerful systems, man. You know, and it's like you know I'm on this journey to actually contribute more on the engineering side of AI, you know, along with machine learning and all that stuff, and in this journey where I'm studying, like how these systems are made, they're so complex, they are so complex.

There's just like math on top of math. You know, and so you know Some of it. You know, when we actually look like peel off the layers, it's so hard to understand the human brain could barely understand. You know, like, how all these things make decisions and why they made that decision. Sure, some of the AI scientists would tell you, oh, it's all the algebra, it's all this, it's all probabilities. You know, sure, but why, though? How? You know? Why did it lean towards this decision rather than this one? Right here? You know, yeah, we can say so anyway. You know these things are powerful and, you know, to me, as someone who is a creator and artist, I can see the possibility of this really augmenting. You know creative work Like, for example, the latest. You know, stable audio made by stability AI. You know, which generates like pieces of music, stems, sound effects, et cetera.

0:23:11 - Speaker 3


0:23:12 - Mark

To me. When I saw that, I was like, ooh, splice is in trouble.

0:23:18 - Tristra

Yeah, yeah, and the sound effects, like the smaller snippets, are in some ways easier to work with as an artist or producer than you know. I see them like a longer stem which can be a little bit less predictable, have more artifacts, but like when my kids and I were playing around with generating just, for instance, like church bells, the sound of different kinds of church bells, church bells from an early film, church bells like ringing in a valley, like all these different sounds, and they would you know, they were really, really cool and really interesting and they're discreet enough that you can just grab them and put them in something else. A thousand percent yeah.

Yeah, so that is. I feel like the sound effects and like the individual sounds are almost like the most exciting part of generative AI, even though it's not what everyone's you know, it's not the most like wow factor stuff, but like you can, make a yeah, an alien snare hit. It's so awesome.

0:24:09 - Mark

Anyway, to add to what you're saying, you can now imagine like like implications of like you know how it's just being used for like game design or game production or video production. You know, instead of you going to some sort of like a Foley library, it's like.

Oh, you know what I'm just gonna like, this needs footsteps you know, and these would be like heavy footsteps in the snow, you know, and you could just like type it up and just there's your sound and you know, I think for me, you know it did sort of like in my sort of like music production workflow, there are certain things that I would like to be automated, you know, for example, like oh I want a certain piano with this sound and I could like describe it and I could get the stem, you know.

But a part of me is also craves that, oh you know what? It would be cool Like this thing actually incorporated into this, my software. You know that I don't need to actually open up a tab and sort of like generate there.

0:25:10 - Speaker 3

And maybe in the future.

0:25:12 - Mark

that could be a possibility. But you know, on the other hand too, speaking of like challenges, data you know data. We all know that all of these really massive, like powerful models are powered by data. You know If there's no AI without data, and so data is a very, very valuable resource and to me, you know, I think about, you know, and you probably know them. You know the company called Spawning started by.

0:25:47 - Tristra

Oh yeah.

0:25:48 - Mark

Yeah, holly Herndon and Matt Rehearsed and you know they're building a consent layer of data. You know for AI systems. You know meaning if you're an artist and you don't want your work to be part of a data set, of a training data set, you can opt out of it. It still remains to be seen if AI companies will respect that. I did know that stability already have said yes, we will respect this, but I don't know about open AI or others.

You know, but you know there's a challenge there, and then you think about it because this is very close to like creators like ourselves, right, like, how can I say yes or no? Because right now it sounds like, or it seems like we don't have a choice, we're just all of our data is just being scraped, you know, and so that to me is like a short-term, maybe like challenge that we need to figure out.

0:26:47 - Tristra

Yeah, and in some ways it feels like an extension of the discussion we've had about privacy and personal data. Yes, and we haven't solved that. And now we have another group of people, some of whom really do wanna take the most ethical and, I think, long-term, like smart business approach, and some who are like man, we'd rather make a bunch of money right now, like I believe it was. You know Mark Andreessen's like hey guys, let's stop talking so much about copyright and AI. I was like, well, hey, like really, how about we stop talking so much about, like I don't know tax breaks for VCs? You know like, or some of the other things that benefit you?

It's really easy to play fast and loose with what you don't consider valuable, which I think some of that rhetoric is implying that they don't see the value in what people are making. On the other hand, there are people who really do see the value and who really want this to be a mutually beneficial. You know new technology that doesn't necessarily harm people and I don't know, mark, when you're talking about spawning, it just makes me think of, like, what is gonna be the like. You know DMCA, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, equivalent of for AI, of, like the endless takedown question. Yeah, yeah, I mean, or you know, I don't know. This is thank goodness there are lawyers in the world, because I don't wanna have to think through these problems, but they're really, really tough. They're really tough.

0:28:22 - Speaker 3


0:28:26 - Tristra

And it's gonna be interesting to see how you know where various people fall as everything evolves.

0:28:33 - Mark

Yeah that's a good point and you know, if I could add to that real quickly it's like you know copyright and IP definitely is on top of mine for a lot of like folks, not only in the music sectors but also like in other creative circle sectors. Oh, absolutely, and it's like how is this enforced? You know, and I started to think about well, you know, our copyright systems have been there for a long time. You know, like from the industrial era. Will you correct me if I'm wrong?

0:29:03 - Tristra

You've been a prey, right Like just talking about the first copyrights were directly from like European monarchs. Exactly a thousand percent. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

0:29:12 - Mark

That being said, like, is it time for us to maybe upgrade or update this according to the context that we have now? Because to me, sometimes, speaking of music, music industry, which we both share, you know we're both participants in that sector. As a musician dude, our copyright system is just so complex. I couldn't even understand shit, man. You know, like I've been doing it for like a decade or more, you know, what does this mean?

What does that mean, you know, and it's like, is there a way that we could maybe update this such that, again, you know, to reflect what's going on, you know, and hopefully get to a point where it respects the creators and also moves forward towards like a much more augmented sort of like creativity, you know, like I don't know, man.

Like it's like when they think about AI systems, I think about this amalgamation, a constant distillation of human creativity and, of course, just speaking for myself, I wanted to participate in that. Yeah, please use my dataset absolutely. I want to contribute to humanity's creativity, but I also wanted to be respectful of people who may not see it in that way too, and so I don't know, do you?

0:30:35 - Tristra

have any thoughts there? I do. I mean, I definitely have some thoughts, and I love what you're saying about rethinking copyright fairly fundamentally, because I've had the question is what really copyright was put in place to motivate further innovation and creativity, right, so is it accomplishing that? And not as someone who I have my own creative practice that revolves around IP, and so I'm not saying, and I definitely don't agree, that IP isn't important, but what really matters to us creators is it control, is it ownership and all the sort of monetization possibilities that come with that, and I don't know. I think this is like a bigger societal conversation we need to have about what all this really means to the people making this and what would actually inspire them, because in our current copyright regime, in some ways, the creators are the last to benefit and the question of control is tied up with the cost of enforcement. So how could we make this much better for people? And maybe AI will be.

This opportunity, like this whole discussion, will lead us to a better understanding of, first of all, like what you're saying, that there's a human collective creativity that we all are in debt to. We all have a lineage, we all have a cultural cloud that we come from and that we're just like raining. We're bringing out little tiny bits of all the stuff that's gone before us and has been given to us, agreed, and, at the same time, how do we encourage those individual moments of taking a risk, really spending a lot of time and investing in something that will make meaning for other people? So yeah, I don't have the answer, and I'm sure there's a lot of lawyers out there like pulling their hair out and being like please shut up, like you're crazy Bohemian lady, like stop it. But the fundamental question is is it going to make, is it going to help people be more creative?

0:32:45 - Speaker 3

in the end.

0:32:48 - Tristra

And all the other like commercial questions, in some ways come after that for a lot of us, maybe not for everybody, I'm not gonna speak for everybody, but anyway, that's my very rambling answer. No, no, I think it's really very additive.

0:33:02 - Mark

And when I think about some of my peers who are artists and maybe some in your circle too they're like no, definitely not. I'm not gonna use AI systems and I'm not going to take the time to actually understand them and I respect that. I think if your creative practice is your creative practice and you should respect what your values, are yeah totally.

But at the same time, too, a part of me is like, if this is happening right now, it is my job as an artist to understand what's going on here and try to see if there are solutions that I can present, you know to actually like, help shape this so that people like me can actually benefit from it too. And so, yeah, it's good to critique, you know, like new systems, but then at the same time too, please also educate yourself so that you can have the formed opinions about it.

0:33:56 - Tristra

I like the fact that you're suggesting artists as almost like guides to AI and that a lot of people who are just are living their lives trying to make sense of existence, busy with work and obligations and just everyday life, are gonna be confronted by this whole new world of stuff that will be both disturbing and enticing, and in some ways, it's everyone's role who feels inclined to make art, to help people you know, to set up some signposts or to give people new ways for understanding what these machines are, that they aren't Like that chatbot isn't conscious, but it's doing things to you that you should understand or that you can, that are still and that may have some value, or that that image comes from. That image might be distorted by certain biases or it might present a whole new bunch of opportunities, because AI will sometimes throw stuff together in ways that are like wonderfully exciting and inspiring.

0:35:05 - Mark

So I mean I look back yeah, how do you see that role, dude? I mean I look back at, like, the history of the artistry, right Like, and you know, most artists that I admire work with the technologies of their time. You know, and I think you and I Trisha, this is the technology of our time, you know, and so you know, and maybe this is not interesting to some people who created practices, but I feel like it's also part of our responsibility as creators to also understand the tools of our time and maybe there could be something here that could possibly augment or possibly lead to new and novel ways of creating. You know of art, even, maybe the concept of art is even being challenged right now. What is art? You know?

And so which I feel like, in every generation, every era, that's always being challenged. What is art, you know. What is human creativity? What does it look like? And now, here we are, you know.

0:36:00 - Tristra

Yeah, yeah. And if you think about, like the I don't know, for example, the painting movements of, you know, post-war, post-world War II in the West, of abstraction, and or using, like, mass produced items to inspire the visual elements, et cetera, people were doing just that. They were turning to the tools of their time to make something which suddenly felt very fresh. You know, and we're in such a great moment, mark, because we are, you know, we're kind of able to listen more globally, so, you know, people can talk across spaces that would have been really, really difficult to achieve at the scale that's happening.

So, one thing that I'm really excited about in music, and then we can get back to sort of the future and what you're seeing, because I'd love to talk more about that. But I mean with these mass collaboration approaches or just even the ease of collaboration across the internet. You know, now we can have, you know, a kid making beats in Indonesia that end up in a, you know, a big hit by a young, you know guy from Northern Mexico, and that's like nobody even blinks an eye. Right, it's not. This isn't anything like weird. Now, yeah, and that would have been like unthinkable for, you know, I say, our parents' generation, like that, something like that would happen would have been so strange, but it's normal now. It's kind of cool.

0:37:24 - Mark

It's really cool. It's really cool and I feel like I don't know man about you, like I feel like it's enriching. I feel enriched by it. You know, totally Like I can go on the internet and find the weirdest, newest, like Brazilian music, you know. And it's like, and when you actually look at the stats, like, oh, this is the two million place. Whoa, everyone's into this. That's really cool you know Exactly. And it's so like niche and it's so like obscure, you know, but it's amazing, you know yeah.

0:38:02 - Tristra

So you're thinking a lot about AI and things like natural language processing and all sorts of interesting stuff. What are you seeing for, like, the coming year, for 2024? What are you dreaming about? Where do you hope things heads? I want to hear your super optimistic, informed approach to what you're seeing in the near future.

0:38:23 - Mark

Yeah, yeah, it's hard to predict, right, it started. But definitely, like you know, I I'm definitely, you know, dreaming about certain things that that could happen and some of it are already happening. You know, like multimodal AI is already here and. You know with you know I mean just this week, right, like open AI, you just released their updates and all that stuff and you know, within one interface, you know you could have access to a language model, an image generation model and also do some data analysis and coding All in one interface you know, and that's more multimodal, multi modes.

You know I Started to imagine what would it look like, you know, for musicians, for whoa not only musicians, but all like people who have creative practices, you know to have an AI assistant that is multimodal. Like I start to think about, was it yesterday or a few days ago? You see, the, that AI pin device that was just released.

0:39:27 - Tristra

Yeah, yeah, yeah was a humane. That's yes. That both is intriguing and really creepy, like I don't want you recording what I just said to you, my friend. No, I'm not gonna say it's a big weird going in some really weird directions anyway, but yeah, okay. So what were you gonna say about that?

0:39:44 - Mark

Mechanics behind it, right like how we actually operate. Yeah, you know yeah it's truly recording our everyday lives. But I start to think about what would it look like if I actually have, like, an AI pin you know that that I can actually jam with you know, musically, like, for example, I'm working on a dog, you know. In a digital audio workstation, you know, and they play a beat. What do you think of the speed? How can I improve this?

you know you know, with knowledge of the previous context, like it knows all the songs that I made previously and what are things that I have not explored yet. Like what would it look?

0:40:20 - Tristra

like so great. Yeah, yeah, yeah imagine with me.

0:40:25 - Mark

So. So that's one application. You know that I sort of like, oh, this could be cool, it is really cool yeah but also sort of sort of like creepy also, just like Someone, actually just like monitoring what you're doing.

0:40:39 - Tristra

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, there's, there's some, though you could also imagine, you know, like you're saying it could break you out of a rut. Like if you're say you're trying to talk, some people talk to think, and I think that's a really underappreciated human, human thinking mechanism. You're talking to it and all of a sudden, it's like you know you've thought of this before, like maybe you should try thinking about this instead. What if it could, like break you out of your own like doom loops or your own bad habits of? Like you know, mark, you write everything in E. Like no, exactly, try another key friend.

0:41:13 - Mark

Yeah, I 100%, no I think that's one, like you know, possibly a great application of it.

0:41:21 - Speaker 3


0:41:22 - Mark

And in terms of like dreaming, and this is also inspired by one of your writings. You know, at music, thank you. I start to think about Going back to data data is very valuable, you know. High quality data is very valuable. Data that has an opinion is really valuable, you know, and so that's our starting point, right.

What would it look like if a group of musicians, a collective, a label perhaps, or, you know, just a band with a shared sound, a shared aesthetic, pull all their data together? Right, and and, and obviously you know that could be that could take a formation of, say, a data co-op, everyone just, yeah, you know also data consents to it and could make decisions.

All the data is now fed into like an AI model, you know, preferably open source, so that we could all sort of like benefit from it and then fine-tune that AI model according to the data of the collective and from there, once it's trained, you can now offer that to the collective itself so that they could actually started to generate, you know, stamp samples, whatever content, or there could be a possible business application here or business model. They could also offer it up to the world, you know, and you know that could be a subscription service, you know. But the important thing is that this data, this collective, it has to be a subscription service. The important thing is that this data, this collective, it has to be a certain aesthetic, you know, a certain sound, a certain way of doing things that is unique, that makes it valuable. So Early thoughts that that's sort of like something that I'm sort of like I've been thinking about.

0:43:09 - Tristra

So yeah, and you could even like the sort of enrichment of that data with by making it multi-modal, like you could have all sorts of visual stuff that was associated with it and sort of, you know, approaching that dream of having the artwork that's in every media at once right. That would be. That would be really, really interesting and, like you said, it would give it more of an opinion. Yes, I love the idea of data with an opinion.

0:43:35 - Mark

Yeah, I mean it has an opinion, you know, especially if it comes from people or a group with opinions, you know so.

0:43:44 - Tristra

so yeah, yeah, that's awesome, so we'll look out for opinionated data in 2024.

0:43:51 - Mark

Yes, yes.

0:43:53 - Tristra

Well, thank you so much, Mark. I'm sure we could talk for hours more, but thank you so much for for giving me a little bit of your day and diving into some of these crazy Are they wormholes? Are they rabbit holes? These wonderful nooks and crannies of all that's happening right now in music tech.

0:44:09 - Mark

Thank you, Trisha, I'm really yeah. It's been a great conversation and I hope for many more in the future.

0:44:17 - Tristra

Yeah, let's do it.

0:44:19 - Dmitri

Thank you. Thank you so much for making my day. Thanks for listening to Music Tech Tonics. If you like what you hear, please subscribe on your favorite podcast app. We have new episodes for you every week. Did you know we do free monthly online events that you lovely podcast listeners can join? Find out more at and, while you're there, look for the latest about our annual conference and sign up for our newsletter to get updates. Everything we do explores the seismic shifts that shake up music and technology the way the earth's tectonic plates cause quakes and make mountains. Connect with Music Tech Tonics on Twitter, instagram and LinkedIn. That's my favorite platform. Connect with me. Dmitri Vietze, if you can spell it, we'll be back again next week, if not sooner.

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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