A robot may be an odd choice for the on-stage persona of a famous music artist. For Grammy Award-winning electro-pop duo, Daft Punk, a mix of science fiction themes and cyborg harmonies paired with deeply humanist lyrics have made the duo stand out, in some ways, from the average pop star.
From Beyonce to Taylor Swift, the top echelon of pop singers and musicians are recognized as nearly untouchable figures that help cultivate modern music and art trends. As AI changes the recording industry’s production process, these changes may also ripple down like sound waves into the creative process and the presentation of music. In the future, artificial intelligence can help shine an even larger spotlight on the modern pop star, redefining their creativity and connection with audiences.
What will the pop star look like in the future, when AI is a major component in the creation of music? There are numerous ways that listeners can expect the role of the pop star will evolve:
Smarter Standards and Ballads
In the past, music artists have used technology to help through the creative process. David Bowie invented the Verbasizer, a reordered literary phrases to convert new phrases into lyrics. Today’s pop stars generally write and produce songs with a full team of collaborators. While this process is likely to continue, AI can now help empower and expand the pop star’s role autonomy in the creative development and presentation of their art.
AI startups like IBM Watson Beat, Spotify’s Creator Technology Research Lab and Amper are revolutionizing how they assist artists to develop and write music. These programs use deep learning software to analyze data and then output a song.
Taryn Southern, a music artist, released an album entirely produced by AI. She says that machine learning tools helped her create music and approach content creation in more innovative ways. For example, if you don’t play an instrument or are inexperienced on musical theory, tools like Amper.ai can help.
Amper’s system reads pre-recorded material from jazz to pop rock which it then analyzes and find patterns to reproduce something that has a similar genre. From there, the algorithm can produce different chords and tempos to form a song of varying lengths or genres that writes its own melodies. The audio provided is then manipulated in tempo, key, muted solo instruments, or mood.
Michael Hobe, the co-founder of Amper, says the app is meant to empower artists. In his eyes, it’s not artificial intelligence, but intelligent augmentation. According to Hobbe, its purpose is to streamline the process while cutting out a lot of creative (and technical) aspects. Overall, it allows more people to be creative and allowing others to foster that creativity. For Southern, it also allows her to create music more independently — free from the constraints of major record labels.
Music and Image Evolve Together
The pop star of the future can also create and provide more immersive and visually rich artwork that compliments their music. Already, a significant emphasis for some artists is the inclusion of VR within their music videos and music festivals. In fact, the AI-enabled virtual reality world allows users to step inside the worlds while distorting images to an individual audience member’s real-time feedback.
While visual images will emerge as an active part of the bran, the human pop could star be transformed as well. Cyber avatars, like Holograms, can sometimes replace the artists, reimaging their image according to the specific album or song they’re singing. Pop stars who want to create music, but leave the performance to someone else could utilize the virtual pop stars as a medium instead. Maya is the first virtual pop star to move, sing and talk to people in real-time. The avatar performs on stage while a performer and a singer are hooked up backstage, recorded through motion capture software. Their images are rendered and project instantly as Maya. The songs and effects help create a persona around Maya which allows fans to build a sense of reality to her image. For some pop stars, the innovation could be a huge relief because it would offer them the autonomy to create, avoiding the pressures of super fandom while giving in to a visceral need for audiences. Instead, pop stars could use AI-enabled big data and the IoT to continue to seamlessly connect with their fans on a personal level or even ask for feedback during the production process. Maya could be a model image for the future of music.
Video Killed the Radio Star, But AI Didn’t Kill the Pop Star
By 2036, most experts AI researchers believe that AI will create top-quality music. In 20 years, the 2016 Experts Survey on Progress in AI predicts a 50 percent chance that AI will be able to create songs that are good enough to reach the Top 40. It will be harder and harder for listeners to distinguish an AI-created track from a human-made track. In that same time frame, it’s expected that AI can Art genres are continuously redefined and change along with the technology of the current day. One can say the same about any art movement. As time goes on, the talents and image of the pop star will become reimagined entirely. It will reinspire a new generation of amateur artists to create music with ease. For professional pop stars, they’re job just got a bit easier as AI can make one of the best producing partners, offering them a better medium and more freeing environment for creating.