With the success of Peter Jackson’s Get Back, the documentary streaming on Disney Plus, Beatlemania is back. Watching Paul McCartney create the eponymous song out of seemingly nothing, as George Harrison stands nearby yawning, is one of 2021’s cinematic pleasures.
The Beatles are arguably the most successful pop group in history and, in the years since their heyday, countless artists, producers and songwriters, not to mention record companies and now music streaming services, have tried to recreate the same magic. The latest tool for capturing elusive pop music gold is artificial intelligence.
Usually when we think of artificial intelligence creating art, it’s making something bizarre or unintentionally hilarious. Take Google’s horrifying Deep Dream with its thousands of dog eyes, or Sunspring, a movie written by an AI that was fed hundreds of sci-fi scripts. It’s not just movies that have been influenced by machines but music too, with brand new AI-written songs designed to sound exactly like Nirvana and Jimi Hendrix.
The use of AI in music is here today, and while its contribution is still small, it will likely grow. If you take that to its logical conclusion, the question arises: Could AI create pop stars — and Grammy award winners — completely out of thin air?