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  • Writer's pictureEric Doades

The State of Creativity in Music Tech

Let's go back to the 2023 Music Tectonics conference and listen in on some of our favorite people talking about the state of creativity in music tech.

 You can find more conference takeaways in some of our recent episodes. Listen to catch what you missed or refresh your memory. At Music Tectonics and Rock Paper Scissors, we are fascinated by the explosion of music creator tools that are democratizing music making and fueling a powerful new creator economy. In this episode, you'll hear from some of the people driving those shifts Matt Henninger at Moises, Daniel Rowland at LANDR, Dani DiCiaccio at Splice, and the session was moderated by Dani Deal of BandLab. That's a lot of Danis. You're in for a treat with the state of creativity in music tech.

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Episode Transcript

Machine transcribed

0:00:11 - Tristra

Welcome back to Music Tectonics, where we go beneath the surface of music and tech. I'm your host, Trister Newyear Yeager, Chief Strategy Officer at Rock Paper Scissors, the PR firm that specializes in music innovation and music technology. Let's go back to the 2023 Music Tectonics conference and listen in on some of our favorite people talking about the state of creativity in music tech. You can find more conference takeaways in some of our recent episodes. Listen to catch what you missed or refresh your memory. At Music Tectonics and Rock Paper Scissors, we are fascinated by the explosion of music creator tools that are democratizing music making and fueling a powerful new creator economy. In this episode, you'll hear from some of the people driving those shifts Matt Henninger at Moises, Daniel Rowland at Lander, Danny DiCiaccio at Splice, and the session was moderated by Danny Deal of BandLab. That's a lot of Dannys. You're in for a treat with the state of creativity in music tech. Now over to Danny Deal. Thank you. 

0:01:21 - Dani Deal

Yeah, welcome to the Danny panel and Matt. Also, thank you all for being here so early. I know 10 am is a lot to ask of people in the music industry, so I'm happy to see you all here. So to start, I would just love for everyone to introduce themselves, say who you are, what you do, and let's see one line about what you think about the current state of creativity in music tech. 

0:01:50 - Matt

No pressure, Well, that's an opening. I'm Matt Henninger. I'm VP of Business Development at Moises and state of creativity. I think we're witnessing a rather unprecedented democratization of technology that has been not tucked away but sort of limited to highly skilled professionals and audio engineers, and it's really been exciting to watch that filter down and watch more casual musicians and embrace it. So I'm really excited to see where this goes. 

0:02:26 - Daniel Rowland

Cool. So, Daniel Rowland, I'm an audio engineer and producer, head of strategy of partnerships at Lander and college professor, so I kind of dip into a few different things. And yeah, you pretty much stole my answer on the yes, state of creativity. But we'll talk a lot more about this today, about AI and some of the opportunities that are coming up and challenges around that. But I think it's like in my professional lifetime, it's the most exciting time ever for creativity in music and just the arts in general. So super excited. 

0:02:55 -  Dani DiCiaccio

Hi, I'm Danny DiCiaccio. I'm the VP of content at Splice, so that means the people that make the sounds, the folks that are booking the studios, etc. I'm also a producer. One line about creativity in tech. I guess I've had a little time to think about it, so I would just say that it's wide open. 

0:03:16 - Dani Deal

So, in this conversation, I want us to get into deep dives, I would like for us to get granular, I would like for us to not feel afraid to get into the nooks and crannies and to kick things off with instant connections to global audiences, because how do you feel the feedback loop is influencing artist's creative processes? 

0:03:45 - Daniel Rowland

Okay, I mean that was interesting. There is the immediacy of when you put something out. We get feedback faster than you ever could before and you see a lot of artists and this has been going on for a long time Even workshopping ideas, because what is music as content? Right, and people are trying to monetize content in eyeballs and ears and all that kind of good stuff, so even showing more of the creative process. I think it's been interesting to watch how artists have engaged with that and even iterated, sometimes with fan feedback and stuff, and that extends to again stuff we'll talk about on the creator tool side of things where fans can actually participate with an artist's IP and they can share in revenue and things like that, which is a fascinating thing. That's, yeah, exists now and is certainly going to exist more in the future. 

0:04:26 -  Dani DiCiaccio

It's an interesting question because I think, as an artist, there's sort of two sides to it. Sometimes, when you're making something, you want to keep it closed right. You want to keep it close to you, nurture it. It's an early idea. Feedback can really influence what you do next. So it's not ready to go out and with all of these tools that are available, you can. I think early stage creators can keep it closer to the vest for longer, which is nice, but then the minute they're ready to get that feedback, they can go wide with it, instantly change something, tweak it. So it's more in the hands of the person who's making the thing than ever. 

0:05:10 - Matt

Yeah, I think I see a pre-creation of a new sound recording or something new. I talked to a lot of artists that want to you mentioned really want to protect that process, because influence can be positive and vastly negative, right, and that can influence the art. So I see that as like one component of the feedback loop. But then I see a feedback loop once you've created it now, what you can do when you talk about sharing the IP or like exposing stems or doing these things and engaging with your fans and maybe getting remixes back or something that you can have. That feedback loop sort of post creation. I see more folks in that space right now. But I also see needing to protect what you let in as an artist because you don't want to be influenced too much, right. 

0:05:52 - Dani Deal

Let's talk a little bit more about post creation. That's a really interesting idea. How are tools creating greater opportunities for post creation now that we no, we truly no longer live in a one master world and every piece of content can be exploded into a hundred different things? 

0:06:15 - Matt

Yeah, no. So I think it goes to that sort of the da in your pocket idea. Right, it's now that, as these technologies can proliferate into social media and other services and you're getting to see unintended consequences of technology right, that's what you were talking about earlier, like you have an idea of what it could do or how it could be helpful, but once you start to see how users are interacting, it can completely pivot the way. I see that feedback as being probably the most interesting right now. It's like we don't even know and an artist are probably learning and I'm I say it all the time I'm just in awe of independent artists and what they have to manage and understand and learn. Like this is just another thing, it's another fee, it's a feedback loop. I'm like, wow, if I create music this way, it can be now consumed in these different ways. Should this lend me? You know, take me down a different path. 

0:07:04 -  Dani DiCiaccio

What was the question you were talking about? Post creation. Like. It's kind of interesting too, because I think another thing we were going to talk about is, like is when is something done? Is there a post creation Like? Is it something just forever remixed? You know, I'm for me like, I have to like decide, okay, this is done, I'm going to commit to this being done, but I don't really want it to be, you know. 

0:07:25 - Daniel Rowland

Well, and it's this kind of speaks to a broader issue. It's our movement away from traditional static content, right, and that's whether you're a musician who writes and records a song and that's the song and you give it to your fans and all of that. Or it's a lander or a splice loop or something like that or something on BandLab, where it's no longer the static piece of content. It can be malleable right through AI and various other things. So the idea that now you can put something out in the world and there's even some companies here doing things like that, I think Ever FM and Bronze AI, new formats where the song is never done, it just evolves over time based upon, you know, input from the user or like end all the time of day or their heart rate or whatever, right, so we're entering into a very interesting time Now for functional music. That makes sense. I often ask myself do fans really want that kind of stuff? Like, how practical is some of that? But I find it fascinating, you know. 

0:08:17 - Dani Deal

Can I poke you a little bit more, because you called it an issue. Why do you call it an issue? 

0:08:22 - Daniel Rowland

Which the maleability of music. 

0:08:25 - Dani Deal

The idea of something never being finished. 

0:08:28 - Daniel Rowland

Oh, I am a huge. I mean I've probably said this on another panel, but 12 years ago we put out an iOS app that was an album that never played the same way twice, right? So every time you put it on, it would be. It was pop music. It wasn't like functional music or yoga stuff. It was like really composed music, but you know, combining stems and things. It was always different because we thought that was a really cool idea and there's Easter eggs and a lot of stuff you can do with that. So I love the idea of something evolving over time. So I don't think it's an issue at all. I think it's more. If there's an issue, it's fans. Is that something people will embrace at scale, right? Or is it a novelty? And I actually don't know. I mean it makes sense in the context of gaming, a lot of other things, but in like the traditional way that people engage with music. 

0:09:13 - Matt


I don't know. I wonder if we're making it like, if this proliferation is making it more difficult to be a songwriter than an artist. Right To know how easily it has to live. On To Danny's point, like when is it done? I have to tell myself it's done, I've got to have a deadline, like now. If that doesn't exist, right Like. I find it like how do you conceptualize where you need to be to create your art? You've curated yourself, you've created your space, you want to be done. You have to that moment of release when it's complete. And now, like I wonder if that's being actually taken away a little bit. 

0:09:46 -  Dani DiCiaccio

But at the same time, what's happening is people are putting out lots of little things and kind of getting feedback at the same time, and I wonder that sort of your first question is how does that feedback loop influence your music making? And I don't know. I mean, it seems tough because I feel like for me I'm a creative person who wants to hold on to things until I feel like it is mature, it's developed, like my voice is in it, because I don't, I don't. Sometimes you don't care what other people think. You know, you don't really want to know, and that's okay too. 

0:10:19 - Daniel Rowland

And you said something I was about to pull on for a second, which is it's just taking this album never played the same way twice thing, which was more of a like an artistic experiment. We found it was actually really freeing because, if something could go out in the world and continue to evolve, you were more open to just putting stuff out like little snippets of things, incomplete things, because they weren't you know, you weren't planning a flag and saying that this is my final artistic expression and it was going to have a life beyond you, and that was actually artistically kind of interesting. 

0:10:51 - Dani Deal

So we've talked a little bit about the absence of limits that exist right now, but what do you think are some of the creative limits that exist today that music tech is still trying to overcome? 

0:11:06 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I would say access different people like different ages, different um that was dramatic. I'll sing my answer Like like ages, uh, price points, et cetera. You know like these things are still very expensive for a lot of people, and so I think we're all trying to figure out, like how do you get this into more hands? 

0:11:35 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, I think definitely that 100%. Also, you know we live in an inherently digital world now when it comes to creator tools, but everything is still based upon analog workflows effectively, like, we're still largely using, you know, linear timelines and things that are, yeah, it's just a recreation of stuff that we had in traditional recording studios. Even a lot of mobile applications for creating music are based upon that. So I think it's kind of I always think about it like when you know the metaverse is a big thing, everyone loves the metaverse and then somebody builds a shopping mall or some experience that you have in your normal life Well, what the you could have built anything Like why are you doing that? 

And I think I like to see experimentation with UX and UI when it comes to creator tools, because people who don't understand the aesthetic of a recording studio or what a mixer is like that, a lot of people don't understand that, and that's a that's friction, right, that's a barrier to entry. So I think getting some of that shit out of the way and just think making things more intuitive for people to create with is cool, and there's lots of companies experimenting and doing fun stuff, but seeing that kind of executed at scale. I think it's going to be cool. 

0:12:31 - Dani Deal

Is there any one that you can point to that you particularly like? 

0:12:35 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, so geez, a lot of the stuff. So I've been big in the mobile music space for a long time, right, companies developing apps and things like that. I think that still has been the most interesting. The multi-touch environment where you know creator tools like Fugue Machine. There's a cool app called Musics Borderlands, things like that that are just again, you just touch and you play with it, right, and you can create and I think that's just quickly. It's everyone's you know text to music. 

Prompt-based creation is such a big thing right now right, we're all hearing about that, but it's literally the worst way to create stuff. Right, it's the laziest way to create stuff. The hardest part about designing stuff for people to make music with is the user interface, and a blank page is not a user interface. Do you know what I mean? So, like music is about experimenting and tweaking and not knowing what an LFO is, but turning the knob and getting something right. And I think we haven't with a lot of the AI tools. We haven't put a user interface on it. That's going to make it be engaging at all. So it's another kind of barrier for adoption. Regardless of what the price point or the technology can do, you have to make it something people can use. 

0:13:39 - Dani Deal

Well, and thank you for teaming me up to talk about AI, because what would a music tech panel be if we didn't talk about AI? It is inescapable, it is prevalent for everyone's life in this room as it becomes an even greater player in music creation and production. What ethical considerations should we be aware of? How do we strike a balance between human assistant or sorry, machine assistance and human creativity? 

0:14:10 - Matt

Oh, that's a big one. I think it all starts with respect for music, respect for musicians and respect for rights holders. I think it starts there and I think that this is another iteration where the technology has sped up, has sped up the licensing. It's a head right. We're pushing the boundaries there and I think what I mean the conversations evolving how models are trained, where did it come from? What is its source? Right, these are very big conversations. 

But to take the time to take the pause to say, to understand the supply chain, to understand and to be thoughtful about how it can be additive, right, how can you sort of take because music distribution and it is so complicated and is by territory and it's by rights type and all these things, and it's like you could if it's brought into quickly, right, it can burn out and it can be very detrimental, but if it is paced and it's thought about in an ethical way and it's thought about, how can I enable a songwriter, how can I enable an artist and I think it just takes time, it takes thoughtfulness to put teams together that have enough experience working with the different entities in the space to say this is great, there's a lot of technology. 

I know a lot of companies that are sitting on a lot of things that shouldn't come out yet. Right, you've got to sit and think about their ramifications and also think about their ramifications for each part of the ecosystem, from the songwriter to the distributor, because it can impact it in so many ways and it can impact revenue models and livelihoods. It's just got to. There are ways, but we have to be selective. 

0:15:47 - Daniel Rowland

I mean please go ahead. 

0:15:49 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I mean, it's a really tough question to answer. I think about this a lot at Splice I don't want to quantify what percentage of time, but it's a meaningful amount of my job to think about this. I think we do a lot of stuff to combat this. We think about titles of sample packs. We think about the way things might be appropriated or what that line is between appropriation and appreciation. We think about who's making the pack. Are we getting somebody from? Are we getting a random producer who's making K-pop, who hasn't helped build up that movement in soul or something? Or are we like who are we giving voice to? Who's getting paid from doing all of this? And we think a lot about it. We don't always get it right, but it's like a conversation we're constantly having and developing a muscle around so that internally we're prepped for that conversation. 

0:16:53 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, I mean it's something that we're navigating currently on the lander side of things, where we have we get a lot of questions about this on the AI side of things, where artists actually shockingly to me actually are more looking to how they can not just use AI power tools but participate in data sets and training and they are more knowledgeable about a lot of the stuff that I would have imagined. And we're distributors. We have lots of tracks, we have samples, like a lot of our companies do in loops and things like that, and trying to find and I don't think anyone has an answer for this yet a way for artists to participate in a monetary stream from this type of stuff without it just being something that feels like this overwhelming thing that's going to take their jobs away and all this kind of stuff. So it's like I've been on a lot of panels recently talking about this with major labels and all sorts of other people it really has a compulsory license. Is it a? How does that work? And some interesting companies have popped up to try to solve that. 

Soms just released. Aai just released something this past week where you can go to them. They'll train, take your data, train a model and then provide attribution to the artists that were involved, and I think you're going to start to see more of that, but it's still a tough nut to crack. 

0:18:02 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I do think one thing we should all be doing, if we're not already, is making sure that our rooms and decision-making groups are full of a lot of different voices so that we can be checked on things. There's a lot going into this and the implications are huge for fans, for creators, so it's really important to surround yourself with a lot of different opinions. 

0:18:27 - Dani Deal

Are there examples within your individual companies of choices that you've made around how aai is implemented in the creative process and what ethical consideration does that demonstrate and why did you make that choice? 

0:18:40 - Matt

Yeah, so we at Moises have been working on a voice synthesis specifically for music production, so we were thinking about the application of that and the nomenclature between voice cloning and voice synthesis, which we found there's actually like a big disconnect between those two ideas. The idea that you can recreate someone's voice is not what that's cloning. That's not what we're speaking about. What we're speaking about is carrying over the timbre of someone's voice. The best way I can describe it is like a digital switching amplifier. You can switch, you can be a PB, you can be a Fender, you can be the things, but you don't actually. You still actually have to play the instrument. The tone is there, right, but you actually have to give it the performance. 

So a consideration that we made is we made and released 11 voice models in our platform, fully licensed by that artist, and it's a thesis. 

We're testing out where we're going to pass 100. It's a one-time fee for the model and then 100% of the revenue from that model goes to the artist. So right now we're experimenting at different price points $30, $50. But the idea is you purchase the model, you can use it, and we're seeing a lot of use in demo creation and song writing, and very much not in the final production but in creation and pitching, is OK. If 100% of that $50 goes to the artist and you replicate that 1,000 times at $50,000, that's impactful money. For a singer it's a lot of streams. So it's an idea of saying, ok, because of how, tracking and all these other things that are evolving, how can we be additive, selectively, have it done the right way, pass the revenue along and then let's experiment, let's collect the data, let's see if we can be helpful. So that's how we decided we were going to approach voice synthesis, rather than opening the models, for example. 

0:20:24 - Daniel Rowland

Which I love because right now it's the wild wild West with a lot of this stuff and you see a lot of companies not being that thoughtful of artists and their IP and just throwing it out there and hoping they don't get sued and not caring right now as they try to gain notoriety for what they're working on. And I get that. 

0:20:40 -  Dani DiCiaccio

But I much prefer bringing the artist in at the outset obviously, the main thing we're doing is just making sure that the sounds are made by people. It's literally people in studios around the world that are either making them or hiring other people to make them, so it becomes this catalog of thousands and thousands of artists that have artifacts of their hands on the strings, things that maybe AI will evolve to be able to do. But, at the end of the day, these were all people that were hired and put to work to make them. 

0:21:18 - Dani Deal

So earlier we talked a little bit about feedback loop fans having more of a participatory role in the process. As listeners become even more involved in the music creation process through tools and platforms, how do you see the role of audience evolving within the music ecosystem? 

0:21:42 - Daniel Rowland

I mean it's kind of what we were talking about earlier, seeing people being more free with their IP. So audience, I mean, what does every label pretty much want? They want something to go viral on TikTok. They want the fans have the power to make that happen, and giving them more ownership and more ability to participate in this kind of bi-directional creation process is only going to facilitate that even more. So I think that's kind of where things are, where things are heading, and you've seen that in other forms of media. 

We're just a little late to the game, as we typically are with music, with that type of thing. I love it, but I'm also a little concerned about the commodification of creativity in general, when everyone is a creator, which is great, but it also means that music just becomes. If I'm an influencer and I only have an audience and I don't know anything about music, I can use A and it becomes another vertical in my brand as opposed to something that I'm really passionate about, and I do worry about all the noise that is going to proliferate from that. 

0:22:39 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I don't know if I do see the role of a fan changing that much. I mean, it might evolve a little bit, but fans are going to fan. It's like you're going to love it or you're not, and then you're going to idolize that artist or you're not. I don't know that that's going to change. The only difference is that you might be able to kind of collab with that artist one way or another. But that's another form of yeah, that's true. 

0:23:04 - Matt

I can definitely see that on the definition of a super fan right, where you've got this feel that we'll do anything with your content. You can't produce enough, you can't engage enough. I see that. I see that on this, like the super fan, I totally can also see your point too. Then there's noise, and I don't know where that line lands. But I do see more engagement, the potential for more engagement at the super fan level. But then I just see brands, I see noise, I see it might even be harder to poke through the artists that earlier to our feedback loop, someone who is now more difficult to even poke through, I don't know. 

0:23:39 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, I mean, the thing I'm hoping to see and maybe this has already happened and somebody knows is when an artist gets on stage and performs a song that a fan generated with their voice model and that they share an ownership. That kind of stuff, whether it's rhymes or whoever, is going to happen where there's going to be this stuff that blows up that an artist maybe didn't even participate in, but Moises modeled their voice or something like that, and I find that kind of stuff interesting. But for the most part it's just going to be fans kind of being fans and just engaging with content in different ways, not being a threat to the artist's livelihood. It's just another way for them to feel kind of a personal connection with the artist at a scale that the artist can't do themselves but they can do through a lot of the things like Moises and other companies are doing. 

0:24:18 - Dani Deal

Yeah, I suppose what I think the difference is is that fan used to be more of a passive relationship you would consume merchandise albums that the artist would put out whereas now it feels like it's a more lean through experience. The expectation is to not sit back, but to actually lean in and be a part of the process, as the music is even developing. 

0:24:41 - Matt

Do you think that's an expectation? Do you think that's the expectation of the fan? 

0:24:45 - Dani Deal

I think we're seeing it as a trend with Gen Z and even Gen Alpha. There's an expectation that they be a part of the process. 

0:24:55 - Matt

I ask because I'm too old and I don't know. 

0:24:58 - Dani Deal

Yeah. So in another vein of opportunity, how do you think that new music tech is enabling microgenres or even new genres to proliferate? What are the different ways that tech is enabling new sounds to pop up around the world? 

0:25:23 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I see this on Splice a lot. Yeah, we've got however many millions of samples. They're tagged individually. They are often tagged with a genre, but then when people are downloading them, they're not using them for that genre. It might be like a boom-bap kick that's used in I don't even know what, a tech house track or something. So it's really enabling a cross-pollination of genre and sound, which is giving way to things like Bolle Funk, making very distinct collections of different genres. 

0:26:05 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, and I think it's one of the upsides of it's a cliche the democratization of creator tools, whatever is that. A lot of people who wouldn't typically be able to create now have access to that and they don't know the rules that they're breaking a lot of the time, and I think that's where new genres come from. A lot of the time and issues are pulled in this case via social media oftentimes into the spotlight where people are just doing whatever they want and they don't come with a lot of the formulas and the tradition that somebody like myself might, and I think that's amazing. 

0:26:34 - Matt

I see that lined up really well with your earlier comment about linear processes, that we can break those. It's like, as those are broken, new genres are created because people are breaking the things and turning the knob that they don't know how, and that, to me, is what's exciting about it. 

0:26:49 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, and it's also again being old. Like yourself, people now are drinking through the firehose of music that comes at people, and the access they have is also informing new genres, where it's like it's just, people are listening to way more diverse genres of music than they could before, and with the proliferation of collaboration tools and things, they're able to work with people from diverse backgrounds and collaborate in different ways, whether it's on social media or in traditional dolls or browser-based dolls or what have you. So I think that also is contributing to some of it. 

0:27:21 -  Dani DiCiaccio

Sorry go ahead. I was just going to say you had a good point earlier about now I'm forgetting what it was, but it was good it was amazing. 

0:27:28 - Matt

Yeah, it was amazing. He just said he was old, it's OK. 

0:27:32 -  Dani DiCiaccio

As the access thing, as you talk about maybe younger people having access to this stuff, I think there's a thing that happens when you are really early in your music-making journey where you're like I like it, so it's cool, and you're not really worried about what other people think, which is, man, I miss that. You don't really care quite yet, so it's like I don't care if this is in that genre or that genre. This is sick. 

0:27:58 - Daniel Rowland

I'm in a constant state of trying to get back into that headspace. I think a lot of us are. 

0:28:03 - Dani Deal

I want to really get into this idea of access. I know we've talked about democratization the whole music industry has really leaned into this idea of democratization over the past seven, 10 years but I think now we're actually at a tipping point where we are seeing the fruits of our labor and it's actually becoming a reality. What responsibility do you think music tech platforms have to actually make sure that these tools have greater access to people that are in underserved communities? And what does that look like? 

0:28:35 - Matt

The term. I think it's the goal. I mean a responsibility, I'm not sure about that, but I think it's as a musician, as someone, you sort of go back to getting back to that moment where you don't care the beginner's eye or all of those things, like when you got into it and you wanted to play the music that you loved and you wanted to get it to as many people as possible, to witness the expansion and the democratization of people enjoying music. To me, that's it. That's the point to watch. An odd example was we have an office in Jalapusol, brazil, and it went down and they were using the technology and listening to 90s grunge tracks and playing along with them like they had never heard them before and celebrating, and I just found myself caught up in this experience. Going like this wasn't available. This is a group of people that did not have this before and then expanded on that. The more this expands. You talk about creating new music and new genres Like that, to me, is why we're here. It's just the point to me. 

0:29:49 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, and I'd written an article in Billboard, I guess, earlier this year about this, which was needing to go out and meet new creators where they are, as opposed to kind of setting some barrier that they need to or threshold that they need to ascertain before they can consider themselves creators. That means a couple of things. It's the way you build technology right. It's the way you, how you package. You know Landor is an example of this, where you know, we've seen, you know, there's a lot of fragmentation in the music industry with creator tools. 

You can have a distributor. That that's one subscription. You have samples provider, you have collaboration, you have plugins, you have whatever right, your DAW, you know all that stuff. And for us to try to solve the problem, for the question that you asked, is to try to put that all under one umbrella and try to make it as inexpensive as possible with free tools in there as well. So people, no matter where they fall in their kind of creator journey, they're met within the same platform right as opposed to, because I think one of those daunting things for people is just trying to figure out what to use, where to go and where to start man, so trying to get that that cold start. 

0:30:51 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I spent the like beginnings of my career in nonprofits, like teaching beat making, taught beat making in a prison for a little while, like. So I think that listening to people in all those spaces like here is what we need. Here's the thing we're trying to achieve, and taking those spaces super seriously is a massive responsibility for all of these companies and for us. As you know, people are in positions to be on a panel like this. We should be bringing that back to all of our companies. It's really important. 

0:31:30 - Dani Deal

So I think we've got time for one more question up here before we open it up to the floor. I'm not too uh, get too big, but what? What are some of the biggest challenges that you foresee in the music tech industry, and we'll say the next five years? Specifically, when it comes to creativity, there are so many potential outcomes that could change the course of how tech is made. Tools could predict artist intent, become actual collaborators, adapt to people's music making styles. What is the trend that you think is going to happen? What do you think is going to be the biggest challenge? 

0:32:15 - Matt

For me it's respect for the art. I think that it's. It is with the how, the proliferation of, especially it's like AI wave and and to dance point, like earlier, like trying to make noise, trying to almost get in trouble, to get eyeballs, and these kinds of things Like to lose respect for what music is, what it's been, what it means to people. That emotional connection Like that to me is like where the focus needs to be. It's because you need to be as a company, as an organization. You have to be rooted in that. You have to be rooted in. I mean it's almost sounds like a little too pie in the sky, but you got to have that. You really have to have respect and the right intentions for artists at the core of what you're doing and then you can start to make decisions. That that, for me, is the basis for all of it. 

0:33:06 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, just to piggyback on that, I think authenticity is probably one of the biggest challenges, just to put a word on it, and yeah, there's a lot of great opportunity and awesome things that are going to come with a lot of the tools that we're all building and trying to shepherd forward, but there's a lot of challenges with that as well. 

So I think one of the challenges, just like a practical example, is a lot of the larger kind of glacial companies in the music industry how they are going to adapt to a lot of this new technology when they have tools that have been used by a lot of us for 20 or 30 years to make music. And then you see a rise of a lot of these, let's just say, ai native tools, just to look at DAW, user plugins, just to be specific, and they're much more agile, right, and they're built upon new technology, versus a lot of other companies that are trying to figure out how they tack that on or what have you. So I think we're going to see and we're seeing even at Music Tech Tonics right, there's companies here that are doing that this rise of this new creator tool, platform, band Lab, blander, splice. A lot of these kind of fall into that category, and how that kind of upsets the balance of the music technology industry. I think it's going to be fascinating. 

0:34:07 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I agree with what both of you said and I think you're hinting at this too but I think the Music Tech can move very fast. Right, our companies are moving very quickly. The rest of the industry is not. You said, glacial. I don't know if that's what you were hinting at. But yes, what about? Like, I don't know who is in this audience, I'll be PC, but I don't know if other parts of the industry are moving as fast, and so what we're finding is maybe the rights. When you talk about sampling and putting things online and sharing things quickly, there's a lot of coordination that needs to happen between different pieces of the industry to make that a seamless experience for a musician. 

0:34:58 - Dani Deal

And I'm going to open the floor up. If anyone has any questions, okay, right here in the front. 

0:35:05 - Audience Member

Hi everyone. My name is Matt. I work for Save the Music Foundation. We have a music technology grant that goes to schools all across the country, and so one of the things that has been in my head is how do we stay away from or approach AI in that? And, denny, you made me think of my question, which is what thoughts does everyone have about how AI should and should not interact with the educational experience of music production? How can it enhance it and how should it be removed from it, if any, if at all? 

0:35:43 - Matt

I can speak to a small piece of that. We've started a partnership with Berkeley online to allow the teachers to use STEM separation to isolate instruments and slowdown. So examples of bringing in guest artists and isolating the bass track from Earth, wind and Fire track and learning it in real time, slowing things down, changing the pitch, changing it We've seen those types of tools be really embraced by that community. But it's more for traditional learning. It's more for how do I use this as a tool to help my students and that has been wildly successful and we see that gaining some momentum as a teaching tool. But not in the production side, it's more in the practice and educational side of it. 

0:36:28 - Daniel Rowland

I've been a college professor teaching music production now full time for almost 20 years, so AI and being part of Lander now for almost a decade it's always been a thing about where we insert that in the process. 

In his example. Yesterday we were at 1500 Sound Academy in Inglewood. We put out this new plugin this past week. It's an AI mastering plugin where it masters for you and then you can make some tweaks and decisions and things like that, and they actually proposed to us to incorporate it in their program because their kids don't know what mastering is, but the ability to have something that gets them whatever a master that they can then reverse, engineer and see what did it actually do, and they can try to hit that target themselves and maybe even go beyond what we're capable of, which is amazing on all fronts. And I thought that was a really cool use case of that and a lot of our users have been using that in our cloud tool for a while. But now that it's in the DAW it's a little more hands-on for kids who are in school. 

0:37:16 -  Dani DiCiaccio

I don't have an exact answer or line in the sand about where it should or shouldn't be, but I think maybe a good rule of thumb for now is to just be transparent about where it is and isn't, and then the kiddos will figure it out. They'll develop their own opinion. 

0:37:34 - Daniel Rowland

And it will be built into every creator tool in the next few years. Every single DAW manufacturer is actively looking at acquisitions and or figuring out open source stuff and how to put that in, and some already have. So it's not even the term. Ai won't even be something we're talking about in a few years. Right, it's a software that's in other software. Right, it'll be smarter software that kind of again meets you where you are and helps you get to where you want to go. We won't see it as this big thing to be concerned about. 

0:38:00 - Dani Deal

Yeah, and I'm sure you're aware, bandlab has BandLab for education right, and one of our more popular AI tools is Song Starter. You can input a few lines of text and it'll generate a few MIDI options for you, and then you can open it directly in studio. And we joke that there's a reason why we call it Song Starter and not Song Finisher, because of all of the boundaries that we've put around it. So it will only give you a few bars of MIDI. It only gives you a few tracks, I think four, maybe four or five. But it's nice for people to have a starting point, especially when a DAW interface is really intimidating. Music production when you're starting is very intimidating, and so, from a student perspective, we find that it's actually incredibly helpful, and when people start a project through Song Starter, versus going into studio, versus any other entry point, they're actually 80% more likely to publish a song on their feed. Yeah, so we find that it is very helpful in the creative process. 

0:39:01 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, and I love that. By the way, a lot of times when we talk about people mentioned I'm not saying you specifically, but AI tools or whatever a lot of times we go to something where they can type in something and they get a song right. And, just to be clear, no one gives a shit about typing something in and getting a song right. So it's a novelty, it's a once-off thing. It's not something anybody needs to be scared of. It is going to be disruptive to certain areas of our industry SYNC and production, music libraries, samples is going to be impacted by it, of course, but for people actually making music, that's not what they want. So I think the way it's integrated into a lot of the technology will also not be a threatening thing, that we have to worry that it's going to remove some agency from students, as they're kind of learning the process. 

0:39:41 - Dani Deal

Do we have any other questions? 

0:39:51 - Audience Member

Thank you. My question is I think it's really easy for me to understand why like more creator tools is going to make more creators. It's more accessible to be a music creator and there's some obvious results of that. But you guys also talked about how that's very related to this maybe new expectation for fans to be like a collaborator, and maybe that word is up for interpretation. I'm curious if there are some really obvious ways that come to mind. First of like, what are those expectations? Is it through? How do they want to collaborate? What does that look like? 

0:40:29 -  Dani DiCiaccio

If I understand your question correctly, I think like the TikTok remix feature is like the top one that comes to mind. It's like the expectation is that you're then amplifying the artist that you are remixing by sharing it and working within it. 

0:40:50 - Dani Deal

Yeah, no, I think even when we don't look at platforms that created tools specifically for this, we've seen fans take the agency into their own hands, and putting sped up or slowed down songs on TikTok is probably the most obvious example of that. I've had friends that have gotten album deals because of sped up songs on TikTok. 

0:41:13 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, it's funny how that feeds back into the industry. So a lot of what I work I do is mastering. So a lot of John Wick and all these soundtracks and a lot of hip hop stuff as well for Atlantic and Def Jam. It's interesting to see how what fans have done exactly what Danny just said. Even just take a sped up and slowed down example. Or they add a little reverb and speed it up or what have you with the limited tools they have. And now labels, when I get a mix to master, they're also sending me the sped up and the slowed down version because the label is releasing those to try to get out ahead of the fans doing it. But they're in response to what the fans have been doing with the content and I think we're going to continue to see that kind of feeding back into itself sort of a thing where labels are responding to what fans are doing and trying to figure out better ways to monetize that for better or worse, get out ahead of it and respond to it. 

0:41:58 - Dani Deal

Yeah, a lot of artists have also been putting ideas out on social platforms. Just the spark of an idea, start of lyrics. What do you think of this? Give me your feedback and they might continue with that song. Take feedback from a user and use it to complete the lyrics, or it might not have a spark and so they shelved it and they go on to the next one. But there's definitely more of a participatory process. I think Charlie Puth did this on TikTok with one of his songs. Yeah, so there's this. There's this interplay that we really haven't seen before because the tools haven't allowed it. It's created where there was separation. We now see fluidity, and I think a lot of fans are rising to the occasion and asking for different experiences because of that. 

0:42:44 - Audience Member

I come from a background more like fintech and I know interoperability between platforms has been a huge reason why the banking sector and fintech has exploded in the past decade, so that everyone was doing things similar ways, so that you could go from one platform to the next. And so, as you think about creativity and music tech, how's it important that I can take a sample from Splice, go to Lander, then go to Moise and BandLab? How are you, how's the industry, thinking about making sure that you're not locking people into platforms? 

0:43:16 - Daniel Rowland

Yeah, we've started. Even in the past month or two we've seen some you know, one of the big issues, just to get granular on the creation side, like we all most professionally using DAWs right, so we're creating in some form of a DAW if it's an online DAW or it's a mobile, but oftentimes desktop right and there's no interoperability between those DAWs right, for the most part intentionally and you're starting to see some of that potentially go away, where we're seeing personas and some other companies develop what could become a universal file format that allows people to kind of migrate between platforms, and I think I think that is interesting because what ultimately what that does is it breeds more collaboration and more community around creation and people aren't so siloed based upon the tools they use, and then we remove some of that friction. So I'm hoping that that continues to see some adoption. 

0:44:03 - Matt

Seconded yeah, I'm sorry, the other sort of other piece that I think is sort of like how you approach I use the voice synthesis model. Right, the idea of like okay, because licensing right between platforms is very unique, very bespoke, very different. Right. So how content moves between them is subject to all of that. Connectivity too. Right. 

So, as we think about these tools and today's, as you all, right, if you create it and you have the rights for it and it can go everywhere, right, and it's not, then all of a sudden you're cleared for it to start to move around. Right, and especially as AR tools are introduced, like, if they're become roadblocks because a piece of technology is stopped or isn't licensed, then the wall hits right. So if we go keep going backwards and we say okay, at creation at source, now we've cleared everything, we've taken the time, you can use this, you can commercialize it. Now the distributors are allowed to pass it through, it goes through under those licenses, it makes its way through. So I think getting it in early and being thoughtful about what happens at conception is really important. 

0:45:04 - Dani Deal

And that puts us exactly at time and it's also a really lovely note to end on. So thank you everyone for being here. Please give it up for our panelists. 

0:45:13 - Dmitri

Thank you all. 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, our lovely podcast listeners, can 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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