How ChatGPT is transforming music


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Since OpenAI launched ChatGPT on November 30, 2022, the buzz around AI has only grown louder. This groundbreaking technology is making waves in the music industry.

It expedites the composition process, offers musicians new ways to express themselves, and opens new revenue streams by eliminating the cost of recording studios and producers.

The potential applications of artificial intelligence are virtually limitless.

A few groundbreaking artists, such as computer-scientist-turned-musician DJ SPLY85, are even using artificial intelligence technology to create entirely AI-generated music. 

“Some people are opposed to the use of AI in the music industry because they feel it takes away from the human element of music-making,” says DJ SPLY85. “However, I believe there is room for both humans and machines in music production. As we prepare for a new frontier in artistic creation, we should explore the potential ChatGPT brings to musicians today.”

Using ChatGPT to make music

DJ SPLY85 has said ChatGPT has proven helpful to his work in three main ways.

First, like other AI systems, this AI allows me to try out some fun things when writing lyrics, expediting my songwriting process,” he explains.

ChatGPT will also generate MIDI files that can be used to spur inspiration and even as backing tracks in some cases. Beyond that, I have found ways to use ChatGPT to generate chords and chord progressions for my compositions. As someone approaching the music production space from the perspective of a computer scientist rather than a musician, that can be incredibly helpful.”

Using ChatGPT to compose lyrics

Image: Pexels

Because ChatGPT is designed around the text-based generation of data, the system is inherently capable of writing song lyrics.

For example, if a user tells the bot to write a song about being dumped by their girlfriend in a tone reminiscent of Drake, they can get some fun lyrics in seconds.

When it comes to writing lyrics, ChatGPT is a helpful tool because the AI system has been trained in a wide variety of styles.

The software allows musicians to mix and match these styles creatively and create something entirely new.

“Using ChatGPT to write lyrics is the most accessible place for musicians to dip their toes in the expanding pool of AI composition,” DJ SPLY85 asserts.

LyricStudio, from WaveAI, is a system specifically designed to help musicians generate lyrics.

More and more professional songwriters are turning to the program to deliver original songs in their own signature styles quickly. 

“Think of the process as an all-nighter of bouncing ideas around with fellow musicians — the only difference is that AI can cure writer’s block in seconds,” DJ SPLY85 explains. “As a songwriter, you can pick and choose the AI output that sparks your creativity. Best of all, you never offend the machine by passing on its suggestions.”

The challenge of using a text-based AI like ChatGPT to compose music

person on computer composing music
Image: Pexels

The most significant challenge musicians will encounter when using ChatGPT to compose music stems from the fact that this AI is a chat and language bot.

In a nutshell, this system needs to be trained to make music. 

HR teams use ChatGPT to generate job descriptions, teachers use it to churn out ideas for lesson plans, and copywriters use it to create creative titles.

All of this happens in a back-and-forth conversation of typewritten text. This AI understands words but not music. 

Because ChatGPT communicates through text, musicians have explored entering text-based musical languages such as MusicXML or the older format known as ABC notation.

So far, ChatGPT demonstrates limited ability to generate music in these formats and a basic knowledge of music theory.

While it is not an AI designed for musicians, it can deliver some interesting inspiration in chord progressions or backing sounds. 

ChatGPT’s creator designed two other AI systems that are specifically trained for MIDI generation.

The first is MuseNet, which allows users to input a MIDI file and then generate an original composition based on the structure and pattern of the tune they have uploaded.

The second is called Jukebox and allows users to create audio files by inputting specific parameters such as a musical genre or an individual artist’s style.

The future of AI for music composition

ChatGPT on phone
Image: Unsplash

With newer, music-specific AI systems coming soon, ChatGPT is a great place to start dabbling with AI and tech in the music production process.

“We are in an exciting stage in the evolution of music composition,” says DJ SPLY85. “A new wave of AI tools for music generation is set to change composition forever. Google’s DeepMind lab has been building similar tools to ChatGPT and will soon roll out its eagerly awaited Music LM model. This is an exciting time in the AI music space. AI systems have the capacity to inspire our creativity and expedite some of the more tedious processes in our music-making journey.”

ChatGPT is only the beginning. AI systems trained in musical composition can potentially revolutionize the music industry.

In the not-so-distant future, human artists of all levels may be collaborating with AI. When we combine human artistry with AI’s efficiency, there is no limit to what tomorrow’s musicians will achieve.

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