The birth of and frenzy around AI has been nothing short of amazing and chaotic this year.
In less than 12 months, as everyone and their mother scrambles to stay informed and educated, AI has seemed to touch every industry and every aspect of life.
This is no different for the world of music. With AI-generated music finding mixed feelings at awards shows, on streaming platforms, and in legal battles, this new category of machine-driven creativity is definitely showing us that we are entering a new age where we may no longer be the only primary species in the near future. Wild stuff.
But just because AI feels scary and new doesn’t mean it is or has to be. Most of what we hear in the news and media, as usual, is doom and gloom, focusing only on the negatives.
If we put AI in a positive light, we can see that it’s very possible to harness its power for your existing workflows and knowledge, making human-driven jobs even easier. This applies to every aspect of music, including using AI for music production and inside your DAW environment.
I’d like to explore three specific tools and/or platforms that can help make your music production process more efficient and more creative.
iZotope Ozone: Your Mixing and Mastering Assistant
Crafting a great mix involves achieving the right balance between instruments, adjusting tone, and managing dynamics. It’s a skill that requires significant time and effort to acquire, especially when it comes to using specialized mixing tools and training your ears to detect subtle nuances in the sound.
iZotope Ozone is a tool designed to expedite the mixing and mastering process. Ozone harnesses the power of artificial intelligence (AI) to understand and adapt to your music. It essentially “learns” the unique characteristics of your mix and applies the optimal settings tailored to the specific music genre. This streamlines the process, enabling you to achieve a polished and professional-grade sound more efficiently.
These AI features are exceptionally beneficial for music producers in several ways:
- Intelligent Processing: Ozone’s AI engine employs machine learning algorithms to analyze audio tracks and make informed decisions regarding the most appropriate processing settings. The AI for music production adapts to the unique characteristics of each track, optimizing EQ, compression, and other parameters, resulting in a polished and well-balanced mix.
- Time Efficiency: Music production can be time-consuming. Ozone can expedite the mastering process by automating various tasks. Producers can quickly generate initial settings, providing them with a solid foundation to work from. This time-saving benefit allows producers to focus on their creativity rather than tedious technical tasks.
- Consistency: The AI within iZotope Ozone ensures consistency across multiple tracks in an album or project. It can apply similar settings and adjustments to maintain a uniform sound, which is critical for creating cohesive and professional-sounding albums.
- Learning Tool: Ozone’s can help users understand the intricacies of audio processing by demonstrating the decisions made during mastering. This can be a valuable learning experience, allowing users to improve their skills and eventually master the art of audio engineering. Having the ability to A/B settings is a great way to hear how certain processing will impact your mix.
- Error Reduction: Human error is always a concern in music production. AI-powered features in Ozone can detect and correct common mistakes in mastering, such as excessive compression or imbalanced EQ, ensuring that the final product meets competitive standards.
- Customizability: While AI streamlines the process, it doesn’t restrict creative freedom. Ozone offers an intuitive user interface that allows users to fine-tune AI-generated settings to suit their artistic vision. This balance between automation and customization is a significant advantage for producers who want both speed and control.
iZotope Ozone’s AI features are indispensable for music producers. They offer efficiency, consistency, error reduction, and valuable learning opportunities, while still allowing producers to maintain their creative vision. As the music industry continues to evolve, AI-driven tools like Ozone are essential for staying competitive and producing high-quality music.
Splice: Smash Through Writers Block
Splice offers an extensive collection of royalty-free samples that you can use in your music. This library covers a wide range of genres and includes samples from every imaginable instrument.
A sample can serve various purposes in a song. It might form the foundation of a track, providing the main musical theme. Alternatively, it can function as a subtle background layer, adding depth to the overall sound. In many cases, though, the sample doesn’t make it to the final version of the song, as the creative process evolves, and a producer might opt for different elements to shape the music.
Splice’s latest update revolutionizes sample selection for music producers. With the ability to start a “stack” (a collection of loops that work well together) from any loop in the Splice library, users gain increased creative control.
This feature, while currently limited to loops of eight bars or less, offers versatile options for music production. You can swap out unwanted samples, add layers, adjust the mix, and even change the BPM to explore different tempos.
What sets this update apart is the capacity to modify the AI’s style selections, enabling producers to hear samples in unexpected contexts. It’s a valuable tool for discovering unique combinations and experimenting with soundscapes beyond the obvious choices.
Once you build a stack that you like, you can bring the entire stack into your DAW and continue building and mixing.
With these expanded capabilities, Splice empowers music producers to explore and curate their sound more effectively, tapping into a world of possibilities within their extensive library of loops and samples. This update marks a significant step in redefining how AI can assist musicians without overshadowing their creative expressions.
ChatGPT: Your Personal Writing Assistant and Tutor
I’m sure that most of you have heard of ChatGPT. If you’re not familiar, ChatGPT is designed to generate human-like text and have natural-sounding conversations, making it a versatile tool for various natural language processing tasks, from answering questions and providing explanations to generating creative content and assisting with text-based applications.
ChatGPT can assist musicians and songwriters in several ways:
Lyric and Songwriting Inspiration:
ChatGPT can generate creative ideas, lyrics, and song themes to help artists overcome writer’s block and spark their creativity.
Here is a simple example:
PROMPT: Write funny song lyrics about a duck. This should include lyrics for one verse and a chorus.
Well, there once was a duck, quacking down the lane,
With a waddle in its step, like it’s playing a game,
Feathers all a-fluff, and a beak so yellow,
People gathered ’round, just to say hello!
Oh, that duck, he’s quite a quacker,
Dancing on the water, like a feathered cracker,
With a “quack, quack here” and a “quack, quack there,”
This duck’s the life of the pond, we swear!
Music Theory Guidance:
It can provide explanations and examples related to music theory, chord progressions, scales, and other musical concepts, aiding in composition and arrangement.
PROMPT: List the chords of C Lydian, and identify 3 different scale choices that will sound good in the key.
In C Lydian, the primary chords are built on the degrees of the Lydian mode, which is the 4th mode of the G major scale. The chords in C Lydian include:
- Cmaj7 (C – E – G – B)
- Dmaj7#11 (D – F# – A – C# – G)
- Em7 (E – G – B – D)
- F#m7 (F# – A – C# – E)
- Gmaj7 (G – B – D – F#)
- A7 (A – C# – E – G)
- Bm7b5 (B – D – F# – A)
Now, for scale choices that will sound good in the key of C Lydian, you’ll want to emphasize the C Lydian mode itself and consider some related scales for additional color:
- C Lydian Scale: C – D – E – F# – G – A – B
This is the primary scale for C Lydian. It includes the unique raised 4th degree (F#) that gives Lydian its distinct sound.
- G Major Scale: G – A – B – C – D – E – F#
The G major scale is the parent scale for C Lydian. It can be used to provide additional context and variations in your melody or improvisation.
- C Major Pentatonic Scale: C – D – E – G – A
Music Production Tips:
It can provide recommendations on recording techniques, mixing, and mastering to help musicians achieve a professional and polished sound.
PROMPT: Recommend some creative recording techniques for capturing an acoustic guitar.
Recording an acoustic guitar can be a creative and rewarding process, and there are various techniques you can use to capture its unique sound. Here are some creative recording techniques for acoustic guitar:
- Close-Miking: Place a high-quality condenser microphone, such as a small-diaphragm or large-diaphragm condenser, close to the guitar’s soundhole or where the neck meets the body. Experiment with mic placement to find the sweet spot that suits the tone you want. This technique captures a detailed, full-bodied sound.
- XY Stereo Pair: Use a matched pair of small-diaphragm condenser microphones in an XY configuration. Position them at a 90-degree angle, with the capsules as close as possible, aiming toward the 12th fret of the guitar. This technique provides a natural stereo image.
- Mid-Side (M/S) Technique: Combine a cardioid microphone (for the “mid” signal) and a figure-eight microphone (for the “side” signal). Position them in an M/S configuration, with the cardioid microphone pointed at the 12th fret and the figure-eight microphone perpendicular to it. This allows you to control the stereo width during mixing.
Whether you embrace it or have reservations, AI for music production has firmly established its presence and exerts a far-reaching influence.
While this might raise concerns, consider, for instance, the tools mentioned earlier; they exemplify how AI can provide invaluable assistance.
However, it’s crucial to remember that your creative instincts should remain front and center. Instead of relinquishing control, use these tools as catalysts to amplify your creative output.
– Bill Collins