AI news
May 12, 2024

Should we be scared of AI-generated music?

Will it lead to a new era of AI-assisted art or will it dilute the value of human expression?

Jim Clyde Monge
by 
Jim Clyde Monge

AI music generators are on the rise.

After Suno and Udio made headlines in recent weeks, a brand new text-to-music AI model was introduced by ElevenLabs.

If you aren’t familiar with ElevenLabs yet, it’s one of the most popular AI tools that can produce high-quality spoken audio in any voice, style, and language. It powers the voice feature of ChatGPT.

Elevenlabs demoed the new AI music tool in a post on X.

The examples posted by ElevenLabs are truly impressive.

Hearing the result for the first time, it’s easy for a layperson to assume that it was not generated by a computer. The state of AI music generators today makes them increasingly indistinguishable from human-generated ones.

Right now, it’s not clear what advanced features are available and the maximum song length it can produce, but looking at the examples they showed, it looks like the AI can generate songs up to three minutes long.

ElevenLabs is likely to add editing controls like music extension, lyrics modification, music inpainting, and more.

How does it compare to other AI tools?

Judging from the examples posted, ElevenLabs’ results sound cleaner and have higher fidelity compared to Suno and Udio. The lyrics are also more cohesive and seem to follow common songwriting forms.

However, it’s important to note that these are based on cherry-picked examples only and not on real-world results. We can expect ElevenLabs to post more examples in the coming days, so be sure to follow them on X for updates.

When public access becomes available, it’ll be interesting to see how it stacks up against other AI tools as more people start using it.

Artists aren’t happy

Weeks ago, over 200 artists, including Billie Eilish, Nicki Minaj, Zay Malik, and Katy Perry, called on tech giants to stop devaluing music and using artificial intelligence to infringe on their rights.

Image by Jim Clyde Monge
We call on all AI developers, technology companies, platforms and digital music services to commit not to develop or deploy AI music generation content or tools that undermine or replace the human artistry of composers and artists or deny us fair compensation for our work

I can’t blame them. It’s understandable why artists are concerned about the potential impact of AI music generators on their livelihoods and art.

But not all big artists are against this tech, Black Eyed Peace singer will.i.am showed full support by quoting an example audio clip from Udio on X, saying this is the best tech on earth.

The differing opinions among artists highlight the polarizing nature of AI in the music industry. Some see it as a threat, while others embrace it as a powerful creative tool.

Of course, there are complex legal and ethical questions to consider around the use of AI-generated music and voice cloning. But technology is advancing rapidly, and it will be fascinating to see how artists, musicians, and the music industry as a whole adapt and respond to these new creative tools.

Pros and Cons

The use of AI-generated music has both benefits and drawbacks that are important to consider in the context of the music industry.

The good side

  • Speed: AI can generate music quickly (Suno and Udio can generate a 30-second track in under a minute). This accelerates the creative process and enables the production of more music in less time.
  • Support for Artists: If only artists will welcome AI as an assistant, it can help them overcome creative blocks and develop new ideas.
  • Cost Efficiency: AI music generators are software-based, making them more affordable than traditional recording equipment. Heck, soon you can even set up your own music studio on your phone or PC.

The bad side

  • Lack of Emotional Depth: This is the most common critique of AI-generated music. It struggles to capture the emotional component of music.
  • Copyright Issues: As I said, the use of AI in music composition raises concerns about copyright ownership and potential legal disputes if AI produces music that resembles an existing work
  • Ethical Concerns: Human artists hate it because AI can generate music that is similar to existing styles, raising ethical concerns about plagiarism and intellectual property rights.

Final Thoughts

Here’s what makes it really interesting…

ElevenLabs can mimic your own voice  to a remarkable degree of accuracy. Now if you use that cloned voice as vocals to the AI-generated music, then you could be the next star of a musical.

Take that even further when Sora or Microsoft Vasa-1 gets released, you could release your own music videos!

Will it lead to a new era of innovative, AI-assisted art, or will it dilute the value of human expression?