Will Creative Jobs in the Music Industry Survive AI? 🤔

· By Will Harken

Will Creative Jobs in the Music Industry Survive AI? 🤔

I won't lie - AI is going to shake up who gets PAID in the music world. But guess what? Humans still have a place to create unique things. Yes, making a living this way will remain hard, maybe harder. But hopefully, in the long run, artists will get paid when their work is used to generate new content.

Even if that doesn't happen, creative folks shouldn't give up. Here's why...

Outline

The Current State of Music

This might surprise you, but most popular music today isn't that UNIQUE.

Music Is Very Templated Right Now

Financially, there's little incentive to be truly creative. By "creative," I mean creating something that aims to be different from everything else.

It's time-consuming, and people often won't like or pay for your experimental work.

Why? People generally don't want to hear things that sound too different from what they already listen to.

Image of a guitar player

If popularity, business, and money are the goals, it makes more sense to download a trap template and have an attractive person mumble some bars about sex overtop. 

Better yet, just do a remix!

People want to hear the same things. Think about all those dads who say "It hasn't been the same since the Beatles." In other words - "If it doesn't sound like the Beatles, I'm not interested."

A New Hope

I hope that AI content will stir appreciation for truly original work.

AI might wake people up to the value of things that sound different and experimental.

But for now, there's a bigger demand for rehashed sequels, remixes, and covers.

👉👉 My main business focus is the lyric swap, which is the antithesis of creativity. Most people care more about personalizing a popular song than discovering new music.

It's just a fact.

Humans vs AI in Creativity

Let's talk about the human brain. It's unpredictable and driven by chance. AI music from tools like Suno or Udio might sound good, but is it truly creative? Probably not.

Why? Because computers are deterministic. You might not know the exact steps the AI took to generate the result. But AIs work off a seed value that gives the same result EVERY TIME. 🤖

This is not how humans work.

Humans have mood swings, intrusive thoughts, dreams—all things that are hard to quantify. AI can't replicate that... yet.

Creativity & Hallucination

Computers can't take drugs. But "hallucination" is the term for errors in AI outputs.

From IBM:

AI hallucination is when a large language model (LLM) perceives patterns or objects that don't exist, creating nonsensical or inaccurate outputs.

The goal for AI programmers is to stamp out AI hallucinations because the result looks unusable. But most truly creative ideas from humans could also be considered unusable.

Creativity isn't the hard part; polishing the idea into something appreciable is. In music, mixing, mastering, and producers often carry creativity but can end up refining the soul out of the artist's original intent.

Image of an AI brain

What your brain looks like on LSD according to Midjourney

The Role of Hallucination

On the topic of hallucinogens, do they spark creativity? Short answer: Yes, but they are not NECESSARY.

Before anyone gets their pitchforks, there's growing research that the careful use of psilocybin (magic mushrooms) can benefit mental health and life quality.

One of the funniest pieces of advice I've seen was on a r/musicproduction Reddit thread.

Person asked: $5k to start in Music Production, what would you get?

Top comment: 5k worth of LSD and a bunch of illegally torrented software

Funny Reddit comment on LSD and music production

Drugs can help some people remove mental filters and inhibition. But too much and you’re on the couch watching Netflix with time moving backward... or worse.

So be careful.

Here's the obligatory disclaimer: "Be sure to follow local, state, and federal laws in any decisions you make regarding substances. Consult with your lawyer, your doctor, your mom, and your dog's vet before doing anything that could resemble creative experimentation or autonomy."

Using drugs for creativity is a gamble. But trying new things and pushing boundaries is part of the creative process.

Check this page if you don't want to bear the burden of creativity.

Future Vision: AI and Human Coexistence

AI will get good at creating unique, well-produced music, even new genres. But it will always be through an algorithm’s lens, focusing on mass appeal.

Background music for the gym, tutorials, or games won’t need much creativity.

Some music listeners will resist this, but they’ll likely be a minority for a while.

Niche communities dedicated to AI-free, raw music will almost certainly appear. Members of those communities may financially support artists.

It's Usually About The Money

Most artists complaining about AI are worried about the money.

FACT: True artistry is a tough path, with or without AI.

For many, artistry means balancing new ideas with what's commercially acceptable (what the "average person" in your audience wants).

But it's up to the individual artist to decide their goal and the tools they use!

AI will be nothing more than a tool for a while, if not forever.

AI may replace creatives in some situations, but digging deep artistically always pays off. That’s a journey worth taking.

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