Can artificial intelligence create great music?
Your answer, of course, will very much depend on what you call great music. Plus on when and where you’re playing it. I’ve found an AI-generated music app that creates great music for at least one purpose.
I’m listening to it right now.
And I like it. A lot.
AiMi.fm is a new music app that mixes generative AI and flesh-and-blood human artists’ beats to create really, really good electronica. It learns from itself and might be the solution to the perennial office playlist problem, plus more. If you can remember working in an office, you might also remember fighting over the Spotify playlist.
Noise-canceling headphones are a wonderful invention, especially when someone wants to play gangsta rap at high volume in the office.
“AiMi is as you described, an AI that generates music,” AiMi.fm CEO Edward Balassanian told me in a recent The AI Show podcast. “We’re not trying to replace human creativity with AiMi, instead we’re trying to augment it. Artists still create the beats if you will, the small phrases or words and sentences to tell a story, and AiMi puts those together to create a musical experience.”
In other words, AiMi’s artificial intelligence loads up four to 16 bars of music that artists have created, layers them, matches the pitches, dynamically changes pitches and rates, and masters it all in real time. The result is clean electronica that you can listen to for hours on end.
It’s user-customizable, too.
It could be your go-to app in the home office, with music that lets you focus. That where I’ve used it most, at energy level 5. It’s also able to dial back to chill mode (energy level 1), and dial the energy up to level 10 for workouts or parties.
Right now that’s all you can customize.
But later this summer, the company will be announcing artist packs: beats in the style of top electronica luminaries. Pick your favorite performer, and you’ll be immersed in AI-generated music in his or her signature style.
The business model for the app is perhaps where it gets more challenging … and where I get off saying that Apple or Spotify or Amazon (or Google or Sonos, for that matter) should consider acquiring the company.
“AiMi is a subscription model,” Balassanian told me. “So you get 30 minutes free a day, and then if you want to get unlimited playback, it’s $5.99 a month and we’ll release pricing for the artist marketplace later, but it’ll be higher.”
That’s not crazy expensive, but if you consider that you’re spending $10-15/month on all the music in the world via one of the big music marketplaces, it’s also not insignificant. Adding 50% extra or more to your monthly music bill might be a bit of a tough nut to crack, although I can see offices and public spaces snapping up AiMi.fm as a way of having unique, interesting, and energy-level configurable music.
What could be very interesting to an Apple, Amazon, or Spotify would be a way to generate endless streams of no-royalty music via AI. The streaming music business is a tough one for profits, especially for we-only-do-music players like Spotify, which has turned just a few profitable quarters in its long history. Other players can amortize music losses over hardware or retail sales, but even they would like to have something that helps them capture a bigger slice of the music streaming profits pie.
So royalty-free music might be a big draw.
And, of course, there’s a premium level of artist-inspired beats in the AI marketplace.
There’s a reason Spotify is placing a big bet on podcasts right now: they don’t come with complicated global/regional licensing schemes, predatory music companies, and legions of thirsty lawyers. Something like this would be a very interesting additional option.