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Some of the biggest names in A&R are using AI to pick future stars


AI’s list of tricks and new skills know no bounds and now it’s increasingly being used by the A&R industry to filter out the winners from the losers.


$100 million. That’s the value, that Music XRay, a 21st century A&R company that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) and crowdsourcing to predict the next big pop superstars and match artists to opportunities, expects to add to the record industry in 2018, and if you think that that valuation is just a New York start up’s dream then you might have to think again because the AI platform has already picked a handful of future superstars who are starting to make it on the world stage.


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Oh, and, did I mention that the company’s already attracted the interest of Beyonce’s mentor and a host of other celebrity names that include the executives down at Atlantic Records, Epic Records, Roc Nation and supervisors of TV shows like The Voice and Dancing With The Stars? No? Silly me.

The way the platform works is fairly simple. Music XRay has a bank of over 3 million tracks that their AI has categorised according to their popularity and success in the market place and the AI has weighted each track based on sixty different metrics, such as composition, rhythm, tone and so on. The AI then puts the most successful tracks into groups and genres and every time a new artist makes a submission Music XRay’s AI analyses the new track and makes a prediction on how successful, or not, it thinks the track, and the artist will be.


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“We’ve reached the point where we can make strong, meaningful predictions,” says Mike McCready, CEO of Music XRay , “and we have a critical mass of artists and industry professionals interacting to generate enough reliable data. Until we had the site’s 8 or 9 core features, which took years to build, and until that last piece, Selection Prediction, was plugged into Amazon Machine Learning Platform, we couldn’t do this but once all the elements were in place, we had a sustainable model for growth and for supporting artists who had yet to break into the mainstream.”

“We’re a filter. And that requires that we filter a lot of the music out,” he adds.

So far, the company has a great win rate and thirteen out of the thirteen early artists the platform chose have already been selected for deals.


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“It’s the clever application of very diverse technologies that make Music XRay work. It’s rewarding work because we’re solving complex problems and making the industry a better and more transparent place,” concludes McCready.

However, with Sony diving headlong into using AI to create the world’s first AI composed songs, and album, and with Google’s AI ‘Magenta’ trying to become the world’s first AI pop star, it might not be too long before Music XRay’s own AI is judging its own kind – and that could be interesting to see.

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