For songwriters, the subject of artificial intelligence is an especially fraught one: Will technology that learns by watching and listening to us enhance human creativity or replace it? These initiatives, emphasizing the collaborative possibilities inherent in AI, insist that the former is possible - from using Watson technology to inspire composers to uber-personalizing already existing tunes.
Next Now: The Future of Music
THE CREATIVE ASSISTANT
THE PROJECT: IBM's Watson Beat
THINK OF IT AS... IBM engineer Janani Mukundan calls Watson Beat a "creative assistant": It listens to existing music and scans social media chatter to find trends that could inform new work.
RECENT WIN: Alex Da Kid used Watson Beat to write "Not Easy," which peaked at No. 48 on Billboard's Rock Airplay chart in 2016.
THE STYLE SETTER
THE PROJECT: Sony Computer Science Laboratory's Flow Machines
THINK OF IT AS... A tool that can tweak an existing style, then adapt it to a new composition, drawing on the vast melody and harmony database of the Sony laboratory.
RECENT WIN: More than 1 million YouTube views for "Daddy's Car," an original song composed in the style of The Beatles.
THE INSTAGRAM OF AI
THE PROJECT: Jukedeck
THINK OF IT AS... An AI system composing original music and adapting existing songs to a user's specifications. Like Instagram, Jukedeck "democratizes creation," says co-founder Patrick Stobbs.
WHAT'S NEXT: "In five years, says Stobbs, "we want to offer music that responds to where you are, what you are doing and how you are feeling."
This article originally appeared in the March 18 issue of Billboard.