Services like Pandora and Apple Music have replaced friends and hipster record store employees, automatically suggesting other music we might like based on things we’ve already listened to. But Sony is working on taking it to another level, developing an algorithm that will actually create new music by analyzing other songs you’ve liked.
Reuters reports that Sony’s Computer Science Laboratory in Paris is developing a system of algorithms — dubbed Flow Machines — that can create new music based on a user’s preferred musical stylings.
The program, which was first conceptualized in 2012, analyzes the songs’ rhythm, pitch, and harmony to learn what chords or sounds go well together. The result is a song with similar characteristics.
Francois Pashet, director of the lab, tells Reuters that the algorithm aims to expand the songwriting process, allowing composers to “try one style with another style with a sound.”
“This algorithm, I think aids in creation in this sense, in that it makes all the elements of experimentation easier, which otherwise would have been too time-consuming or meticulous,” he added.
Pashet cautions that the system functions in a way that ensures new songs don’t plagiarize existing ones.
So far, Flow Machines has created a song called “Daddy’s Car” based on the styles of The Beatles. The program analyzed about 45 songs to create the tune.
While Sony plans to release albums with songs created entirely from the service, composers have also used the algorithm to adapt their own songwriting processes.
French composer Benoit Carré tells Reuters that he used Flow Machines to create a melody that used American ballads, an artificial voice and drum tracks.
Still, not all music composers are welcoming the artificially intelligent system.
“I’ve not heard the Beatles’ track that supposedly this wonderful thing has invented, but I suppose, as a musician, we don’t want it, do we? We don’t want to be put out of a job,” Peter Hook, co-founder of influential bands Joy Division and New Order, tells Reuters. “Writing with a machine – what feedback, what buzz, are you going to get from a machine?”
Sony develops algorithm based AI music [Reuters]