Amazon has announced a new AI-assisted music making tool named the AWS DeepComposer, which is branded as a “musical keyboard powered by AI.” This new physical 32-key keyboard is expected to create a complete track based on the melody inputted by its user, and will add different instrumentation and song structures specific to multiple genres including rock, jazz, classical and pop.
The DeepComposer will use two networks, a generator model and a discriminator model, to train each other. USers will also be able to build their own generative models using Amazon’s SageMaker. This product’s price tag will come to $99, as is expected to be released in the near future.
This latest announcement comes less than a month after alternative pop artist Grimes’ controversial statement surrounding AI and music. “I feel like we’re in the end of art, human art,” she stated during a recent podcast appearance. “Once there’s actually Artificial General Intelligence, they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us.”
The performer later added:
“I think live music is going to be obsolete soon. DJs get paid more than real musicians. It’s kinda like Instagram or whatever, people are actually just gravitating towards the clean, finished fake world.”
These comments faced heavy criticism on social media, with music artist Zola Jesus calling the performer “The voice of Silicon fascist privilege” in a now deleted tweet. Holly Herndon, a computer and music expert with a Ph.D. in Music and Acoustics from the Stanford University Center for Computer Research, also brought her expertise to this debate. Herndon’s latest album PROTO was made with the assistance of AI.
The AWS software that operates this device however, has also been the subject of recent controversy within the music world. Hundreds of artists recently signed a pledge to boycott the platform, which is due in part to its relationship with the US government organization ICE.