AI Altered Music Could Enhance Users' Listening Experience

Deep faking its way to Mozart

Key Takeaways

  • Apple has acquired a startup that's working on tech to "shift" music based on the listener's environment.
  • Experts say Apple can use it to enhance the user experience in its games and apps.
  • AI experts suggest the technology could do wonders when combined with Apple's data.
Voice assistant concept. Vector sound wave. Voice and sound recognition equalizer wave flow background

berya113 / Getty Images

Artificial Intelligence (AI) can't replace human creativity when creating music from scratch, but it sure can offer a unique experience to the listener. 

At least, that's what experts suggest Apple would be hoping for with its recent acquisition of a UK-based startup called AI Music. The company had been working on using AI to shift songs, essentially generating unique music. AI experts believe the acquisition puts Apple in a position to push the boundaries of AI-generated music.

"AI as an analytical tool has seen profound success with big data," Abhishek Choudhary, founder of AI-enabled edutech platform AyeAI, told Lifewire via LinkedIn. "However, can AI achieve the human equivalents of creativity and empathy? The fact that Apple has invested in the startup AI Music shows that esoteric applications of AI are coming of age."

Music Shifting

AI Music had been working on something they called the "Infinite Music Engine" to automatically alter songs based on certain conditions. In a 2017 interview, AI Music's CEO, Siavash Mahdavi, described its engine as using AI to adapt existing tracks rather than to create music. 

Mahdavi said the startup was training AI to find new ways for listeners to consume existing music by finding patterns for the tracks to adapt to different conditions, something he referred to as "shape-changing the music."

Colorful sound waves. Audio signal wave, color gradient music waveforms and digital studio equalizer vector set. Analog and digital audio signal.

NatalyaBurova / Getty Images

"Maybe you listen to a song, and in the morning, it might be a little bit more of an acoustic version. Maybe that same song, when you play it as you're about to go to the gym, it's a deep-house or drum'n'bass version. And in the evening, it's a bit jazzier. The entire genre can change, or the key it's played in," explained Mahdavi.

In other words, the technology could automatically create new variations of songs to present completely different music. It says as much on its LinkedIn page: "Our goal is to give consumers the power to choose the music they want, seamlessly edited to fit their needs or create dynamic solutions that adapt to fit their audiences."

Enhanced Experience

Chris Hauk, consumer privacy champion at Pixel Privacy, told Lifewire over email that Apple could use the AI Music technology in a number of its products.

"By using AI Music tech, Apple could vary a user's workout music so that they never hear exactly the same thing twice, yet the music would adapt to warm up, exercising, and cool down. Different types of music would be played if a user is running, vs. walking to get their steps in," theorized Hauk.

"Maybe you listen to a song and in the morning, it might be a little bit more of an acoustic version."

In the same way, Hauk said Apple could use the tech in games to tweak the music based on the goings-on in the virtual environment, essentially enhancing the gameplay by offering a unique experience for each user. Perhaps with a little bit of work, Apple could even extend the technology to help users create unique melodious soundtracks without much effort.

Level Up

Hauk's suggestions are based on what's currently possible with AI Music technology. On the other hand, AI experts believe that, together with Apple's treasure-trove of information, AI Music can do wonders.

Karim Ben-Jaafar, President at Beanworks, is one of those who are envisioning something grander. He told Lifewire over email that before we can appreciate the enormity of Apple's advantage through this acquisition, we'll first have to understand how the current generation of AI does its magic. 

He explained that the current generation of AI learns by crunching data fed to it by humans that have scored it on various parameters to help the computer understand what is and isn't real or has the best chance of driving engagement. The more human-validated the data, the smarter the AI. 

"Apple has an enormous wealth of user-generated data from the nearly three million applications they support. With this acquisition, Apple's AI will be able to recommend content users are far more likely to enjoy, and even create simple applications or music they would like, all by itself!" opined Ben-Jaafar.

Choudhary is thinking along the same lines. Just as deep fake brought pictures to life, and audio deep fakes mimicked a person's voice, he wondered if Apple will be able to use AI to reanimate genius composers like Beethoven and Mozart.

"It's an interesting future unfolding in front of us right now," remarked Choudhary.

Was this page helpful?