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Watch: Sony released two new songs from an unsigned AI


Creative machines should be decades away but they’re here, today, and increasingly it looks like “creativity” is just another word for “algorithm.”


Sony recently announced that they’ve released two brand new pop songs from a new, unsigned artist, and while the announcement shouldn’t seem even worth noting, after all, Sony’s one of the world’s largest music company’s with over $5 billion in revenues, these songs were different. They’re arguably the future of music, but it’s not because of their content, it’s because the unsigned artist… well, it’s an artificial intelligence (AI). And that’s bad news if you’re an artist…


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Analysts, pah to analysts by the way, futurists rule, have told us for decades that creative machines wouldn’t appear on the horizon until at least the 2040’s but as ever technology moves faster than expected, and now Sony’s AI is simply one of a number of new creative machines I’ve seen emerge. Now check out the first one called “Daddy’s Car” created in the style of The Beatles.


Daddy’s Car

This particular song was created by the folks at Sony’s CSL Research Laboratory using a piece of software they call “Flow Machines.”

So you might be wondering how it works, so let me enlighten you… the Flow Machines software learns music styles from an exhaustive catalogue of songs, then simply exploits unique combinations of styles as well as optimisation and interaction techniques which it uses to compose music in just about any style or genre.


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The second pop song, below, is called “The Ballad of Mr. Shadow” which is apparently a hat tip to our new AI overlords. The song was created in the style of American songwriters like Duke Ellington, Cole Porter, George Gershwin, and Irving Berlin, among others.


The Ballad of Mr. Shadow

Naturally Sony aren’t the only company playing around with AI to create new music, Google have a musical AI called Magenta, that I wrote about a while ago. However, unlike Google though Sony have said that they plan on releasing the world’s first fully composed AI album later this year so watch out folks – an AI could soon be topping the Billboard charts.

Tell me what you think of the songs in the comments, and remember this is just the beginning…

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