Sanremo 2024, is AI also in the competition?
20 Feb 2024
3 min 41 sec
Here we are again, a year suddenly seems to have gone by so quickly as we approach one of the most eagerly awaited events for Italians: Sanremo. Each edition brings with it curiosity, involvement and phrases such as 'eh, but it was better last year' or old memories of past editions tagged, for the less young, Pippo Baudo, Raffaella Carrà and so on. But just like any annual event, we also find ourselves taking stock of what has been and trying to understand how many things have changed since twelve months ago. For example, today we can say with certainty that 2023 was the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and so the question arises: how much AI is there in music? Will we also find it on the Ariston stage?
Artificial Intelligence, special guest
We already know that this will not exactly be the edition of international guests, but what if we told you that there is a new element that will set the musical strings vibrating, and no, it is not an English band, but Artificial Intelligence? At a time when technology is advancing at a rapid pace, AI is also radically changing the face of music, a technology no longer relegated to tech companies but ready to take the stage in the music industry as well. Just think of generative AI, which has already involved artists such as FlowGPT who use advanced algorithms to generate tunes that capture the ear and defy musical conventions, soon entering the hit parades. Of course, some might turn up their noses at the idea of a machine writing songs, but AI is not just a compiler of random notes, it can capture emotions and musical styles in ways that no human could imagine or even distinguish. Of course, this kind of creation opens up risks. In fact, many have drawn attention to an important issue: copyright. It is worth remembering that AI is not an author, but generates content that is not protected by copyright, and the problem lies precisely in the fact that these are created through neural networks trained with already existing music tracks and therefore protected by copyright. This possible risk has led to a manifesto, signed by artists and record companies, the Human Artistry Campaign, which aims to only copyright content created by humans and for governments not to implement laws to extend protection to tracks or works generated by AI. This choice, although it may seem bizarre, has its own logic, namely to avoid the launch of virtual artists. In fact, if AI-generated tracks were copyrighted, some producer might invest in them and profit from launching artists that do not exist.
AI behind the scenes, from direction to music suggestions
When it comes to AI and music, it is not limited to content creation, in fact, it is not only on stage that AI is making its entrance, but also behind the scenes. For example, many music producers are already embracing it to simplify and accelerate processes such as mixing and mastering or to correct vocal pitch and balance audio levels. All this work through the use of technology becomes fast, but also accessible. Even one of the greatest bands in music history, The Beatles, recently paid homage to AI, creating a new song by isolating John Lennon's voice from a 1978 demo. But that's not all, in fact, AI is able to support streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music to get to know us better than we know ourselves. Thanks to sophisticated algorithms, they suggest or even create personalized playlists, discovering musical 'goodies' that we might otherwise have risked never listening to, a bit like a virtual DJ trying to work out whether we are in the mood for rock, metal or a... slow.
Suspended between innovation and tradition
If at the end of these considerations one wonders whether Artificial Intelligence is in danger of stealing the soul of music, we can well say that it will not, on the contrary, this collaboration if used in the right way can lead to new unexplored frontiers, becoming our personal musical assistant that helps us in the search for new sounds, artists, songs and styles. So, as the artists take the stage at Sanremo, let's keep an eye (and an ear) open for those AI touches that could make this edition the most technological ever. Music is evolving, and AI is turning up the volume.
AI is also changing the world of song and is increasingly poised to take the music industry by storm