AI-assisted music is not the problem

There's been much talk about the music industry and artificial intelligence in music. I want to explore this alongside the original purpose of music. Contrary to a believe that 'a song' is a moment-in-time recording, I am convinced music is alive and always evolving. From ancient bards passing down tales orally, to modern algorithms generating music, it reflects its time, carrying cultural nuances and societal shifts.

Before the advent of writing, stories and songs were shared orally. Each storyteller or bard added their unique flair, ensuring that no two renditions were ever truly identical. However, with the introduction of writing and later the printing press, stories and songs became standardised. This allowed them to reach wider audiences, preserving cultural narratives and fostering shared understanding. But in doing so, the ever-changing nature of storytelling and music was lost.

Before, artists used technology to give music their own spin. Remixing and sampling gave old songs new life and resonates with modern sensibilities. It reached new audiences. It encouraged cross-genre and cross-cultural collaborations, keeping music fresh and relevant.

With advancements in AI, we're entering a new musical era where AI can create endless variations while adapting to cultural shifts. Both in composition and in recording, AI can cater to individual tastes and produce vast amounts of tailored music. Bringing back a certain malleability to music, even in its recorded form. Artists now release multi-language songs for global markets, recording in one language while AI seamlessly translates and 'sings' in another.

As we navigate this new musical landscape shaped by AI, it's crucial to strike a balance between tradition and innovation. Recordings have done more than just standardise storytelling; they've set a norm for how we experience music. From the days of piano rolls to today's streaming services, we've been presented with a consistent method to engage with 'standardised' tunes. AI could bring us back to a more free-flowing exchange of stories.

The challenge ahead isn't necessarily AI-assisted music—its presence is undeniable and here to stay. The real task remains, it's ensuring real musicians find their audience. We must optimise distribution and monetisation channels for this new evolution in music, ensuring that modern-day bards receive the support they need to keep the age-old tradition of storytelling alive. Without being engulved and pushed out by meaningless, mundane artificially created sounds that were created to make 'a quick buck'.

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