Artificial intelligence has released its first solo album of 15 tracks and bears a name alluding to the IT developers: Hello World. Good or bad news for the artists?
First album composed with artificial intelligence
The artificial intelligence field of expertise moves ahead quickly, very quickly. In January 2018, Microsoft and Alibaba’s artificial intelligence models surpass human at the reading and comprehension tests of Stanford University. Google can perfectly imitate human voice. AlphaGo Zero (artificial intelligence model on the Go game) learns just from its algorithm since October 2017 and is not based on human gamers anymore.
Recently, through the SKYGGE project, François Pachet (artificial intelligence researcher at Spotify and Flow Records’ director) and Benoît Carré (author and member of Liliclub group) introduced artificial intelligence in the artistic sphere and proposed an album resulting from Flow Machines technology which allows to compose music with artificial intelligence.
Some projects have shown the way but stay experimental and are hardly melodious (Pierre Barbaud or Google Magenta Music for example). “Hello World” brings change insofar as the songs composed through Flow Machines are intended to be closer to songs composed by humans and don’t sound odd at all within the playlist. Without having the information, it’s difficult to guess by hearing that the song was composed through artificial intelligence.
How does it work?
Flow Machines technology is based above all, on a huge, rich and varied song library, which it analyzes.
After having absorbed all these scores, Flow Machines will be able to generate music styles. The user’s songs selection allows the software to analyze the style and find harmonic repetitions and then to create songs by applying a probability model (Markov Chain).
You only need to combine an artist’s songs so that the technology produces new songs in the artist’s style.
In this video, we can see how the software works:
Source : Amelie Charnay’s YouTube channel
However can this technology replace the artist?
Today, a program can create music by itself. Should the artists be worried?
Actually, Flow Machines needs the artist to function. They remain at the heart of the composition, which is why many artists have participated in this album’s composition, among them, Stromae, Kiesza or Pirouette.
What is its role in the album? François Pachet indicates that this album contains at the same time lyrics generated by the software as written by songwriters, voices and instruments created by the software, but also studio recording.
Video clip of the song from Stromae/Kiesza composed with Flow Machines:
Source : SKYGGE MUSIC’s YouTube channel
It seems that the Flow machines technology doesn’t intend to create music autonomously. The artist is implicated at each stage of the creation. The artificial intelligence proposes a melody to the artist, then the artist adjusts the melody to their expectations, the artificial intelligence then reworks the melody and so on. Therefore, the style of the artists who have collaborated is present on this album, while proposing something different.
This technology actually stimulates the artist’s creativity, it doesn’t replace it, at least for now… But even if artificial intelligences could one day compose with total autonomy, would the artists stop to compose? Do the Go gamers stop to play since AlphaGo Zero is stronger than them?