Jaime Brooks, goes into an in-depth look at the impact of large language models on music and recording artists:
It continues to be the case that in streaming era, recording income is much lower than in the physical music era. Many big artists can scarcely be bothered to chase after it anymore, preferring to refrain from releasing new music until it can be incorporated into a larger plan to promote tours or clothing lines. The platform model would need to do an enormous amount of heavy lifting just to make recordings appealing as a revenue stream again, and that’s assuming it wouldn’t also do irreperable harm to the other pillars of a traditional recording artist’s business in the process. That’s not an assumption I’d personally be comfortable making, because “artist careers” have been driven by scarcity since the dawn of the recorded music era itself. As a society, we simply did not care so much about individual performers until after recordings became the primary way we all engage with music.
The artist model and the platform model are not just incompatible, but actively corrosive to one another. They cannot co-exist. I’m not arguing that one is better than the other, I’m saying that no living person will be able to do both effectively at the same time. The artist-as-platform model isn’t an evolution of the recording artist concept as we currently understand it, but a completely different proposition that would change the sound and character of popular music just as much as recordings themselves did during the “great music shift” of the fifties and sixties if it ever becomes dominant. For Vocaloid Drake to thrive, Drake the “recording artist” would almost certainly need to be destroyed. This is what advocates of “AI” are pushing for when they call for established artists to “open-source” their names, voices, and likenesses. They don’t understand how any of this works, and they don’t want to. They’re just here to break things. It’s all they know how to do.
The whole piece is worth your time.
Max of Eve 6 was going to write a book, now he’s effectively writing a blog, the first entry is up and if all of it’s like this, this will be a must read:
The success that we had happened because we were middle class kids who lived in Los Angeles, whose parents could afford to buy us instruments and drive us to gigs. There was some talent involved, sure, just not that much. Our hit song was more a product of guilelessness naivete than talent. A willingness to turn phrases that ought not be turned because the syllables punched. A process we could repeat but never match in entertainment value because it was accidental. This kind of thing isn’t easy to admit. You spend years taking credit for your successes and blaming your failures on others, but the thing that the truth sets you free from is the shackles of your own ego, and as my first sponsor who was equal parts simple minded and brilliant used to say “your ego, my friend, is not your amigo.”
Chris Welch, writing for The Verge:
At this point, it’s fair to assume that something went wrong with Spotify HiFi. Two years ago today, during the company’s Stream On event, Spotify announced a new streaming tier that would let customers enjoy lossless, CD-quality audio from the leading subscription music service.
Spotify felt the news was worthy of some star power and filmed a promotional video for HiFi with Billie Eilish and Finneas. It remains on the company’s YouTube page, and you can still read the blog post saying upgraded sound would arrive “later this year” — meaning by the end of 2021.
The “Shake It Off” copyright infringement lawsuit has been dismissed.
A copyright infringement lawsuit against Taylor Swift has been dismissed with prejudice, meaning the plaintiffs cannot refile the same complaint in the same court. The suit had been filed in a California federal court in 2017 by songwriters Sean Hall and Nathan Butler, who claimed that Swift who took lyrics from 3LW’s “Playas Gon’ Play” for her 1989 single “Shake It Off.”
From a new study on the risk of hearing loss due to unsafe music exposure:
Unsafe listening practices are highly prevalent worldwide and may place over 1 billion young people at risk of hearing loss. There is an urgent need to prioritise policy focused on safe listening. The World Health Organization provides comprehensive materials to aid in policy development and implementation.
Claire Woodcock, writing at VICE:
Over a dozen public libraries in the U.S. and Canada have begun offering their own music streaming services to patrons, with the goal of boosting artists and local music scenes. The services are region-specific, and offer local artists non-exclusive licenses to make their albums available to the community.
The concept originated in 2014 when Preston Austin and Kelly Hiser helped the Madison Public Library build the Yahara Music Library, an online library hosting music from local artists. By the time they completed their work on Yahara, they were confident they had a software prototype that other interested libraries could customize and deploy.
“That became kind of the inspiration for building MUSICat,” Austin told Motherboard, referring to the software platform he and Hiser created under a startup called Rabble.
TechCrunch looks at Dance Diffusion, an AI music generator:
The emergence of Dance Diffusion comes several years after OpenAI, the San Francisco-based lab behind DALL-E 2, detailed its grand experiment with music generation, dubbed Jukebox. Given a genre, artist and a snippet of lyrics, Jukebox could generate relatively coherent music complete with vocals. But the songs Jukebox produced lacked larger musical structures like choruses that repeat and often contained nonsense lyrics.
Google’s AudioLM, detailed for the first time earlier this week, shows more promise, with an uncanny ability to generate piano music given a short snippet of playing. But it hasn’t been open sourced.
Dance Diffusion aims to overcome the limitations of previous open source tools by borrowing technology from image generators such as Stable Diffusion. The system is what’s known as a diffusion model, which generates new data (e.g., songs) by learning how to destroy and recover many existing samples of data. As it’s fed the existing samples — say, the entire Smashing Pumpkins discography — the model gets better at recovering all the data it had previously destroyed to create new works.
Daryl Worthington, writing for the Quietus:
“The thing I find most interesting about the whole thing regarding format and materiality is that even though a large proportion of people may listen almost exclusively digitally to music, there is still a sense that if something doesn’t have a physical release it is a less substantial album. Even people who would never listen to CD, tape or vinyl I think still assign value to an album existing in a physical format. That physicality kind of haunts the release, giving it a substance even in its digitality. For me, given this, CD offers a really easy and practical way of providing this physical option.”
Paramore sat down with The Guardian:
Much of the new album draws from the trio’s conversations from that period to look back at the environments they came from. They discussed growing up in the Bible belt. Williams moved from Mississippi to Tennessee when her mum fled her second husband. She met Farro through a homeschool programme, and he knew York. Early on, Paramore talked openly about being a Christian band, but now they are all at different stages of unravelling their relationship to faith, says Williams. “You’re brought up being told something is ultimate, you unpack that and then find out that it’s tangled up with some other random shit over here.” She sighs: “Zac and Taylor are the most gentle and kind about it, whereas I feel like my teeth are knives and I’m spewing fire, trying to throw all of it over the side of a cliff. It’s good to be challenged – like Taylor reminds me all the time, you can’t generalise. I can be very dualistic when it comes to good people and bad people, and a lot of the record talks about what it means that people aren’t just that.”
Matty Healy of The 1975 sat down with the New York Times:
It’s difficult to be big and say — genuinely — that I have zero commercial ambition. There’s definitely a “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” kind of thing, which is where, listen, we’ve never known what to do and we’ve never tried to do anything. So the second we stop doing that, we’ll probably [expletive] up. I tend to say no to stuff for money.
I don’t know how you can write this up without it being rude or inappropriate, but I just got offered a four-month tour next year of stadiums with the biggest singer-songwriter in the world that would’ve made me money that I’ve never even seen or heard of in my life.
Yeah. And I got offered to be main support and do whatever I want. Think about the money you think I’m getting offered — it’s not just offered, it’s what he can afford because of what he makes for shows — and then just triple it. It’s insane. The thing that’s stopped me just doing that is because — I don’t care. It’s not worth it. Not because I don’t like Ed Sheeran. I think he’s, in a lot of ways, a genius. And he does what he does better than anybody else. But opening up for somebody and not just being real, that’s the kind of stuff I think about.