DMN Pro’s inaugural mini-conference took place on October 25, 2023. The event set the stage for insightful discussions on the current dilemmas plaguing the music industry — in the face of AI. Hosted at the FYI venue in Hollywood, speakers included FYI.me founder will.i.am, CEO of TuneCore Andreea Gleeson, Grammy-Winning producer Jordan, ‘DJ Swivel’ Young, and other high strikers from the music industry.
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DMN Pro ‘Rules for AI’ stimulated a thorough and interesting examination of multi-faceted AI applications. Coordinated and moderated by DMN Chief Revenue Officer Noah Itman, the event started with opening remarks from DMN Publisher Paul Resnikoff.
will.i.am then took the stage — flanked by a group of panelists with highly unique perspectives on AI — and wasted no time getting to the heart of the AI debate.
Emphasizing the value and importance of human emotion, will.i.am spoke passionately about how the capability of emotional ‘expression’ will be an artist’s most significant competitive advantage moving forward.
“That true raw human emotion, AI will never take that away from an artist — digging deep inside themselves and unleashing their emotion at its purest,” Will relayed, adding, “I encourage every artist to go down that path. Eventually, they’re going to be competing in a very serious way, so you might as well skill up on your creative, expressive process. How do you express yourself?”
Speaking about his own experience of, and utilization of, AI tools, Will said, “I use AI as an entrepreneur to build new experiences, rather than using AI for my creative exercise. I have no problem with my current state of creative flow. Still, regarding allowing teams to be creative in one place, I use the foundation of AI — these large language models and foundation models to build new experiences for other creatives.”
Jordan ‘DJ Swivel’ Young, founder and CEO of Hooky AI Inc. (a music tech platform specializing in AI voice modeling) spoke at length about his area of expertise — comparing voice modeling to a social media filter.
“Essentially, when matching someone’s voice, think of it like a filter. I can take my voice and then apply Will’s filter to it, and now it sounds like Will,” explains Young.
The Grammy-winning producer also pointed out that the music industry’s history proves the remarkable role technology has played in its growth — whether it was the electric guitar, synthesizer, drum machines and samples, or even auto-tune. “These technologies shaped the way we hear music, and there were tools for artists to create something new that we haven’t heard before. That’s how I view these generative tools. With the advent of generative AI and the speed of technological advances, it’s maybe the most exciting time ever to make records,” Young relayed.
Jason Donnelly and Matthew Yost of Soundtrack Loops attended the event to ‘learn more about AI.’
Soundtrack Loops holds a vast catalog of royalty-free isolated instrument loops artists can use to ‘mix, match, chop, and mingle’ to make their music.
Donnelly said, “We’re here to learn how our loops might be useful within AI applications. We’re talking about possibly licensing our catalog to AI companies who might be able to use royalty-free loops, whether for creating new content or perhaps even learning from our content.”
The first panel concluded discussions right in time for lunch before the second panel took to the stage — the session focusing on copyright issues surrounding AI, current legislation, and navigating the unknown as the music world takes more substantial strides toward the technology.
Shannon Sorensen, SVP of Legal & Business Affairs at NMPA, weighed in on the discussion, elaborating on viewpoints that AI potentially puts human creators out of business. Talking about generative AI in the production space, Sorensen said, “[Say] you’re writing music for TV and someone comes along and says, ‘well, we trained on all of the hundreds of hours of music that you’ve written, and here’s an AI that can do your job for you.’ Obviously, that would put human creators out of business. We don’t want that, so that’s what we’re fighting against.”
Taking a pause, will.i.am again offered his thoughts on the intrinsic value of human emotion that AI cannot reproduce. “What we do at FYI is creating conversational collaboration enterprise messaging for folks to center as a team and have a better workflow — by having digital asset management tools, and strategy tools in the form of AI. Artificial intelligence can help you strategize on how to proliferate your expression.”
“I think it’s important to start empowering and supercharging individuals with their ideas and manifesting those ideas — whatever their ideas are.”
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