In a studio over there in the musical part of Nashville, country artist RVSHVD and songwriter Nick Wayne sang, as we say in the business, “refrains” back and forth to each other, as the new-guy song played.”Should we say ‘driveway’ first?” Wayne asked. And then they argued about using that word in the lyrics for a bit there. This dude RVSHVD, who you say as Rashad, agreed that going with “driveway” was the way to go into the next refrain. And this was a serious process they were doing here, it took like five human brains — two audio engineers, a producer, a songwriter and the artist. But the thing is, they could’ve used artificial intelligence, man. You got a couple of buttons and bam, a new hit country song could exist, just like that. AI has been in the songwriting process for a little bit, and now these dudes and industry professionals are trying to balance this new tech with their creative ethical stuff.
I’ll tell you what, they’ve got AI doing it all, from lyrics to beats and chord structures, and it can even mimic voices too, believe it or not. Check this out, there’s a website “These Lyrics Do Not Exist” and it creates original verses and choruses using AI. And then AUDOIR, another one of these AI things, that rhymes and hits a certain number of syllables. You give it a topic, mood, or genre and it makes the lyrics for you, man.
We’re not done yet though, there’s ChatGPT, an AI chatbot that spits out lyrics, and AI beatmakers, chord generators and tools that create mock voices. It’s like this stuff is endless, the tools are everywhere.
But is AI making songwriting easier, or is it messing things up for the creative folks? There’s this cat named Ramon “Illmind” Ibanga Jr., who’s all into this AI stuff. He says he can save up to hours per day using AI, depending on the work he’s doing and I get that. For songwriters like him, it’s all about increasing the quality of music and being more productive.
On the other hand, you’ve got Nashville songwriter Chris DeStefano. He’s not using AI in his songwriting process. And get this, even though he doesn’t use it himself, he says other artists using AI, doesn’t bother him much. He’s like, yeah, it’s different, but whatever. He even put in a place called ChatGPT to write a lyric in his style and he was like, it wasn’t that bad.
But hang on, some artists are worried about their work when it comes to AI. These generative models are being developed in ways that lack transparency, so it’s all about consent, compensation and transparency for the musicians, man. And then you’ve got other artists and YouTube and Google DeepMind collaborating on AI tools that are under development too, so that’s something.
At this point, it’s all about figuring out how to work with AI and keep the creativity and ethics in check, and I don’t think it’s easy. Because you’ve got to think about the jobs, the profits, and if it’s all taking away a bit of the humanity from music, you know?