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Pirate Finds That Over Half of Artists Would Conceal AI Use in Their Music

Pirate's Latest Research Unveils the Hidden Depths of AI in Music Production: Artists' Secrecy and the Quest for Authenticity

In a world where AI seems to have found itself at the forefront of mankind, a question remains lurking within the minds of many - What is the limit? How far will this go? and is it ok?

Pirate, a global music studio network that serves over 365,000 artists worldwide, has shed light on the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in the music industry, leading the way in delving into the narrative on behalf of musicians across the globe. In their recent research released on 1st November 2023, Pirate researchers found that in a survey of over 1,000 artists across the UK, US, and Germany, over half of the musicians asked will/would conceal the use of AI. At first glance, it seems shocking, with 48% confirming that they would inform listeners when they'd used AI to create a song or record. It seems that an air of distrust rises from the ground up blocking our views of artistic authenticity.

Chat GPT - An example of AI Use. Other AI is available and used within music
Chat GPT - An example of AI Use. Other AI is available and used within music

Let's take a second to dig a little deeper. 1) Why are artists using AI in their music? Could it be because of intrigue, curiosity, and a lack of understanding? We're curious beings after all. Could it be FOMO? (Fear Of Missing Out). In modern times, we live in a "You snooze you lose" culture, where there is always something or someone more ready, with more likes and new news. Is the use of AI "cheating" or is it a tool for better outcomes all around? The truth is, nobody really knows yet. All we can do at this point is look at the incoming results and here is what Pirate found:

  • 25% of musicians surveyed have already experimented with AI in music production.

  • 46% of musicians who haven't experimented with AI in music production would consider using AI music tools in the future.

  • 55% of artists are learning new skills in response to AI advancements.

That leads us to Number 2) Why hide it? As mentioned earlier, in the UK, US, and Germany Only 48% of artists confirmed that they would inform listeners when they'd used AI to create a song or record. Could it be that artists are concealing the use of AI in their music because they don't altogether understand the implications of its use - how will their audience perceive their craft? Is it all altogether legal? and also, if you don't have to disclose it, why take the risk at all? This is something that Pirate researchers had taken into account when conducting their research. They found that 53% of respondents had concerns about how their audience might perceive music created with the assistance of AI.

This is where Pirate offers some context to their findings. In conversation with Cristoph Krey, (a musician who uses Pirate's Brooklyn rehearsal studios with his band, MYAI) Pirate questions Krey's advocacy for transparent AI use. According to Pirate's conversation with MYAI, the band incorporates artificial intelligence for 30% of all their activities, alongside what the band has termed 'art intelligence' for the remaining 70%.

So, in the context of balance, 30% seems like a small amount, right? That 30% could be the difference between 10 hours of work or 10 minutes, or the creation of a hit or slip. In the argument for AI use in Music, it could really open the doors of possibility for artists when done "right".

MYAI believes that their combination of AI use and 'art intelligence' aids them in harnessing the benefits of AI without compromising their authenticity. Krey, who adopted technology in music early on, partly credits his day job in finance as an influence, pointing out that the rapid increase in usage of AI could cause a drift between those with a background in technology and those without:

What I see as a negative is, if you don’t have any sort of technology background, it is a huge learning curve for a lot of artists to get involved with AI. It's one more thing that artists now have to do on top of everything else that they have to do to create value. - Cristoph Krey, Artist, MYAI

Pirate also asked participants who were already using AI, for the point in which AI use was most useful in their music-making process. The most popular answer according to Pirate was 'Songwriting & Composition.' They further went on to find that artists found AI particularly useful as a tool to help them with writing lyrics. Out of curiosity for the question, as someone who dabbles in music creation myself, I would have leaned towards Mixing. How about you? Where would you feel AI would enhance your art if you are an artist/musician too?

Now, this leads us to question, are we all too keen to "ai-shop" our flaws?

Back to the data, in 'Songwriting & Composition' some artists claimed that they use AI tools to generate "jumping-off points", while others described inserting AI tools with their own lyrics for validation. This begs the question, Is art really meant to work this way? Have artists come to the point where an algorithm can accurately anticipate the connection of one's lyrics to an audience? For an entity that cannot feel, can we rely on how it suggests our lyrics will make another feel? As we dig deeper into AI within music, I'm sure the discussion will bring thought after thought.

A dynamic graphic illustration showing the intersection of artificial intelligence and music, symbolizing Pirate's research on AI's role in the music industry.
A dynamic graphic illustration showing the intersection of artificial intelligence and music, symbolizing Pirate's research on AI's role in the music industry.

Direct from Pirate's Study:

"Indeed, artists retraining is another trend that emerged from Pirate's survey. Notably, 55% of artists are actively acquiring new skills in response to ongoing advancements in AI - 28% are learning AI-related skills, while 37% are learning skills unrelated to AI.

Overall, the survey unveiled a mix of excitement, fear, and challenges surrounding AI in music. 'Curiosity' emerged as the primary motivator for artists embracing AI, followed by 'Enhanced Creativity' and 'Efficiency'. For those who remain uncertain, 'Loss of Authenticity' was the most common concern, tied to public perception."

Pirate’s CEO, David Borrie, addressed artists’ fears about using and being known to use AI:

Understandably, artists are hesitant about adopting AI in the studio, and also hesitant about broadcasting their use of this controversial new technology. It’s useful to look back at the introduction of tools like autotune which faced criticism in their early days, but eventually found their place in the music industry. AI's journey toward becoming a standard tool in music creation may follow a similar path, as artists and audiences alike adapt to this innovation.
David Borrie, CEO, Pirate

Concluding thoughts

So where does this leave us? Although an amazing start to the question, on the scope of the music world it's important to understand that 1000 participants is relatively small. Out of those who participated what stage in their careers are those artists at? What is their skill set, and what are their goals? There's so much more to be discovered, another time perhaps as we delve deeper into the question. Pirate's study into AI use in music opens the scope for more research and questioning.


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