“What’s The Version of Generative AI that Supports Artists & Their Creative Output?” — Jordan Young ‘DJ Swivel’ Asks

DMN conference the rules for AI in conversation with Jordan Young
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DMN conference the rules for AI in conversation with Jordan Young
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Photo Credit: Ryan West

Our exploration of the intersection between AI and the music industry caught the attention of Grammy Award-winning producer and 3x Diamond Certified music creator, Jordan ‘DJ Swivel’ Young. Young spoke with Digital Music News ahead of our upcoming conference on ‘The Rules for AI’ to speak about the potential AI has in the music industry in these nascent years.

The Founder of Hooky and Grammy-Winning Producer Jordan ‘DJ Swivel’ took the time to speak with Digital Music News about the impact of AI on the industry at large and some potential applications in the future. Young will feature as a panelist, but took the time to discuss how artists can leverage the technology to access entirely new audiences.

Digital Music News is hosting a mini-conference dedicated to exploring the impact AI will have on the music industry in the coming years, with experts like DJ Swivel weighing in. Want to listen in or attend in person? Here’s what you need to know.

  • What: Digital Music News’ Conference ‘The Rules for AI’
  • When: October 25 | 11 am – 2 pm
  • Where: Hollywood, Los Angeles
  • Cost: $35

Digital Music News spoke with Jordan Young, Founder & CEO of Hooky AI about what it means to harness artificial intelligence in 2023. Certainly it can empower creation of complex musical compositions based on just a string of words—but Young highlights how much of the music we consume is a spectrum, where music may not be the full focus. “For some uses like background music, we may want to leverage generative AI technology for a more personalized experience,” he says.

“In video games, creating the perfect song with the perfect emotion for the scene, that’s also personalized to the musical style the player likes—creates a very rich, new experience.” There are several generative AI companies already hard at work on helping video games do just that—generate music based on the emotion rather than just deliver the standard looping soundtrack. “Since music is secondary to the game, listeners and game developers may feel it’s a suitable usage of generative AI, in that context,” Young continues.

“But on the other hand, when music is consumed by itself as a singular product designed to connect to an audience, how far do we want to go? The truth is—music is not the product. The artist is. We care about their stories and we care about their struggles. We care about the way they can uniquely express themselves—the human connection. What’s the version of generative AI that will support artists and their creative output?”

Challenges arise because of how these artificial intelligence models have been trained—on data that was not legally acquired. Young acknowledges the industry still has a lot of groundwork to do here—much as licensing kinks needed to be worked out during the dawn of the social media era.

“There’s a mine field of problems which are significantly more challenging to deal with, including legal rights, but also training on clean and high-quality data,” Young adds. “As the record companies work out licensing models for this data, we’ll begin to see AI technology make huge leaps forward from a quality perspective.”

“We’re at the forefront of a new form of creative expression with AI, and naturally, some fear of the unknown. I do believe we’re entering one of the most inspiring eras to create music and connect with fans on a deeper level. This is the next layer of technology that’s going to elevate the culture of music and how it’s made,” Young adds. “I want to showcase a world where AI doesn’t destroy creators, but liberates and helps them produce the next generation of great hits, legally.”

One example he cites is hearing foreign language translations of artist songs in their native voice, without the artist needing to speak the language first. Spotify has already launched a tool that translates podcasts into other languages—but the potential to process a singer’s voice is another step entirely. “Imagine a world where you could hear all of The Weeknd’s songs, sung in perfect Mandarin, but with his voice,” Young posits. “That’s a huge global opportunity for engagement [for Abel Tesfaye],” he adds. “Creators have a potential new palette of tools to make music that’s breaking the boundaries of what was previously possible. Voice AI tech has the potential to make multilingual albums a reality.”