“Just imagine for a second… what you’re going to have is music that was created bespoke for you, on demand, as much as you wanted, and it sounded just as good as if a human created it. Because a human had a large amount to do with how it was created.”
Tom Gruber, founder of Siri, welcomed a packed crowd at Studio 2 in Abbey Road Studios with the announcement of his latest venture, Lifescore - the newest startup to join the Abbey Road Red incubator programme. This initiative is part of Abbey Road’s commitment to nurture tech startups, and continue to build on top of the studio’s legacy of developing groundbreaking technological advances within music.
It was an ambitious pitch from Tom but also very thought provoking, as it explored such an interesting and attention grabbing topic - AI in music. Throughout the introduction, Tom went on to explain how we’re now looking at a new way of doing music which is a collaboration between human expertise, human taste, and human raw talent in creating music and recording it, along with the machine’s ability to combine those things and generate music all day long. And make it sound like a human made it. This is what Lifescore is all about. It’s an adaptive music platform which takes the highest quality musical recordings and processes them with an adaptive engine which creates constantly evolving and personalised versions of the music.
For the sake of demonstrating the tech to everyone, the platform - showcased in an app - was presented in a way where the music created could soundtrack everything you do. From the way you are feeling, how you’re walking, even through to how you’re moving - it becomes intuitive to you only. If you find yourself running, then the beat would pick up pace. Turn left, a new melody would be introduced. Philip Shepherd - the CEO of Lifescore - went on to describe how the tech could be part of everyday life in the future. Within smartphones, smart watches, even within gaming. It’s literally crafting music out of time and space.
Lifescore isn’t the first platform to use AI in music. In fact there are quite a few companies out there working with AI. However, one interesting point Tom did raise was the fact around how quickly AI is developing at the moment. It’s quite exciting to see so much innovation happening all at the same time. It makes you think that if there is all this amount of energy going into developing AI, what’s the music landscape going to look like in fifty years? Will it be as recognisable as it is today? Could the talent of music creating be gifted to everyone? Usually the art of creating music is considered to be down to those specially gifted.
We witnessed on stage one of the graduating start-ups from the programme - Humtap - create a song with just the ease of using an app. The team were able to create something by simply recording a simple vocal, press a few keys and all processed via this app. Within a few minutes, someone who by his own admission isn’t a musical talent, was able to produce music.
Other start-ups demonstrated, included: Lickd, Cotodama and Broomx Technologies. Each vary in what they do but are all linked through the common thread of cutting-edge technology. By bringing together all these exciting companies working on what the future of music will sound and look like, you realise there is so much forward-thinking and so many innovative ideas happening right now in the world. For me, AI is truly exciting. The music industry might be a completely different place in years to come.
Will we have ten times the amount of music we have today because we have computers creating it?
Will the next biggest act be computer generated?
And in the next few years we might find ourselves buying gig tickets to go see avatars of the AI tech that created the hits we love.