Having had writers block for this past week, I have looked at AI services such as Chat GPT to see if it could help me with this article. Upon using it, Chat GPT wrote an article on par with my writing abilities. I was not a fan of it. Not that I am against technological change in our world, but there are some things that should be made by humans. As an avid writer of blogs, YouTube video scripts and several college essays, writing is a passion of mine. Hearing that some of my beloved artists including Avenged Sevenfold (yes, I still like them) are using AI to write saddens me. Even my brother, in his band, suggests he would rather let Chat GPT write a song than try it himself. This leads me to wonder about the pros and cons of AI and the effect it will have on the music industry.
For the last several months it seems you couldn’t go anywhere without hearing about Chat GPT and its ability to mimic famous artists. Case in point AIsis, The Lost Tapes. A recently made “Oasis Reunion Album” that had surfaced. The music was recorded by a band, but the artificial intelligence service accurately recaptured Noel and Liam Gallaghers’ voices to a T. The result was a terrifyingly accurate record of what could have been an actual Oasis reunion album. While cool in concept, it makes the listener wonder if singers would ever put their voice to record again if AI can perfectly imitate it.
Songwriting is not my strong suit. I have attempted it and failed, though I encourage everyone who is currently in a band to go ahead and give it a try. While there are some who think is easy, believe me when I say it never is. It’s trial and error, and once that one hit song is written, the reward is satisfying. Songwriting, like all forms of writing, is about connecting to an audience through a central emotion or theme. Once that happens, audiences will crave more of what you have to say. Add AI into the mix, audiences will surely be enthralled by the novel ability of it, but the human connection will not be present.
Avenged Sevenfold singer Matt Shadows recently shed some light on the band’s potential to write hit songs. While Shadows had never been the band’s primary songwriter, that distinction went to former drummer Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan. Once The Rev passed away, the decline in songwriting quality was noticeable. Shadows in the interview, wanted AI to be a “jumping off point” for the band. He said it could help fill in the blanks with lyrics he occasionally finds himself struggling to write.
The downside to this help is that fans are now part of the band’s experience. What was once an exclusive club in which you wait four to six years for your favorite band to make a record, is now inclusive. You could now make that record you always wanted to hear from your favorite band. Shadows went on to say that if fans are not on board with the new direction the band is taking, they could use AI to make Avenged Sevenfold songs in vein of their classic material.
Artists like Grimes have been supportive of this, even offering to share royalties, something Shadows is a fan of. This could lead to problematic lawsuits over who created what song in the future if everyone sounds like the band they love.
While it sounds as though AI is here to replace humanity in the songwriting process, it also helps wannabe artists create their own music. With artists like Shadows struggling with song writing, CHAT GPT can help push these fledgling songwriters in a creative direction. Using AI to overcome writer’s block. Using AI, they can ensure that the tone they established within the song is consistent in the editing phase of writing.
By and large, the music industry will likely remain faithful to humans making music. Artificial Intelligence will not limit the creation of content made by humans; it would hopefully co-exist with them. If the human need and desire for connecting with people through writing exists, the need for AI to be the dominant writing force will decline.
In short, while revolutionary, helpful, and game changing, AI is terrifyingly unknown in the potential that it has. The music industry has not been great the last few years, but using artificial intelligence to write songs in vein of other artists has me concerned for the uniqueness that bands can bring to music.