“We Don’t Believe You, You Need More People”

Get this - they are now using artificial intelligence (“AI”) to create music. Music!! Artists, watch out, technology is coming for the number one spot. Music will be made, with, or without you.

Lerae Funderburg
June 06, 2018

Okay, so things are really starting to get out of hand here. First, it started with the self-checkout lines
in the grocery stores. Then, they started replacing folks at the job with automated voice messaging
services that never quite understand you. Fast forward past the numerous technological advances
that pretty much allow your smart phone to do the work of 17 people. And now, this has to be the
best evidence available that the powers that be are convinced this world does not need people to
make it go ‘round. Get this - they are now using artificial intelligence (“AI”) to create music. Music!!
Artists, watch out, technology is coming for the number one spot. Music will be made, with, or
without you.


Apparently, this notion of using artificial intelligence to create music is not a new phenomenon. It’s
been in practice since as early as the 1950s. In fact, David Bowie, in collaboration with Universal
Music Group, built a program, namely the Verbasizer, which was then used to create a number of
different lyrical combinations after prompting the user to input certain words and phrases. The
music generated by the Verbasizer was used in his albums “Berlin Trilogy” which is credited by
many as his best work. David Bowie’s experience was a good one, in that he felt the program merely
suggested things that he could infuse with his emotions.


What is new, on the other hand, is that the labels, investors, streaming services, and other key
players are now putting a lot of money into this technology in order to produce more artificially
intelligent generated content. Google is in the process of developing algorithms to generate AI
music, artwork and drawings. Artists are already making use of its technology, Performance RNN to
write its songs, which “uses neural networks to give expressive, human-like timing and dynamics to
otherwise stagnant, machine-generated MIDI files”.


Am I the only one who sees this as a major problem for the creatives in the music industry? How
will this play out exactly? Is the artificial intelligence wired to create non-infringing material? If not,
who gets sued if the music created by this technology does infringe upon the work of actual living
people? Or is this a way to infringe without incurring liability? Or maybe a ploy to take the music
back away from the artists and creatives and return back to the old way of doing things where artists
can’t make a move without label backing? And who is credited as the copyright owner of the music?
Are artists who employ the technology considered co-authors of their work? If no artist is involved,
who is the owner, the technology? The label funding the technology? I don’t know, but I don’t like
it. I don’t like it one bit.

About The Author
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Funderburg Law is an Atlanta based boutique transactional law firm that focuses on entertainment law, business law and estate planning law. We bring excellence, professionalism, integrity, and humility to every issue presented. Our philosophy for success is providing individualized service, ...

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