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The world's first AI-composed music album is here, and it sounds amazing

Catch Team | Updated on: 22 August 2017, 19:36 IST

Large swathes of today's electronic dance music (EDM) landscape feel like they've been churned out by computer programs. With formulaic structures, predictable drops and repetitive beats, surely even a robot would be able to do as much, right? Now, the world is set to get its first AI-composed music album, and the little we've heard already sounds better than a lot of human-created music currently dotting the charts.


Singer Taryn Southern has used tech startup Amper's AI music creation software to cut her new album, I AM AI. With only minimal human intervention – Southern has composed the lyrics and vocal melodies – the AI has created the entirety of the song's instrumentation and chord structure.

All Southern had to do for this was input certain parameters (mood, tempo, style) in Amper's program and the AI churned out an album's worth of music. The first single from the album, Breaking Free, released scarcely a day ago and is already creeping up on the 100,000 views mark.

More importantly, the comments on the video have been largely positive, with Southern's lyrics receiving more criticism than the AI's musical arrangement.

Collaborate and create

While Southern's album certainly is a landmark achievement for AI-created music, it is by no means the first. In June 2016, Google's machine learning systems generated a repetitive melody that sounded like a beginner's attempts at piano. In December, when researchers at the University of Toronto made an AI compose a song after studying an image of a Christmas tree, the results were positively demonic.

These attempts indicated that perhaps, at least so far, it's too much to expect AI to produce quality music on its own. Southern's album reinforces this idea, showing that AI is not going to replace human musicians just yet. What it can do, however, is complement human creativity, making it easier to express creative ideas.

Amper Music CEO Drew Silverstein says as much. “Human creators and human musicians are not going away. We're making it so that you don't have to spend 10,000 hours and thousands of dollars buying equipment to share and express your ideas."

Southern's single is proof of this. Only proficient at playing the piano, and without the help of world-class producers, she was able to create a solid single. And, if it's any indication, a decent album. With AI music software rapidly learning and improving, we're sure I AM AI is just the first of many such efforts.

First published: 22 August 2017, 19:34 IST