More AI Songwriting – But Not Very Good

Engadget reported on a University of Toronto Artificial Intelligence (AI) project that would write a Christmas tune from a single image…  I personally don’t think Irving Berlin, rest in peace, has anything to worry about… But who knows where this will lead?

Here’s the tune, for what it’s worth:

May the Muse, the natural one, be with you…

AI “Writes” New Pop Song – Daddy’s Car (With A Little Help From Its Friends)

The Beatles vast repertoire of work was utilized by Artificial Intelligence (AI) developed by Sony CSL Music (with the “assistance” of a real live songwriter,  Benoît Carré) to compose the pop song “Daddy’s Car” – described by the Flow Machines AI team as being “in the style of The Beatles”…  I have to admit – it’s kind of catchy (and kind of scary that it is so catchy)…

Flow Machines

Sony CSL describes the AI as “expanding towards a new generation of tools, the Flow Machines, whose aim is to abstract ‘style’ from concrete corpora (text, music, etc.), and turn it into a malleable substance that acts as a texture. Applications range from music composition to text or drawing generation.”  In this case, the malleable structure kind of works in a quirky way, but I’ll let you decide for yourself…

May the Muse be with AI and “friends”…

ScoreAHit Web App – The Hit Equation

Well, now we can take the guess-work out of wondering if the songs we write will be hits… The science behind the ScoreAHit web app can be found here.  It’s all mathematics and formulae and “I’ve got algorithms”… here’s a very brief overview from the site:

The underlying assumption is that popular songs are similar with respect to a set of features that make them appealing to a majority of people. These features could then be exploited by Machine Learning algorithms in order to predict whether a song will rise to a high peak position in the chart. Machine Learning is a branch of Artificial Intelligence concerned with learning to perform a task based on examples — in this case learning to predict hit potential based on past hits and non-hits.

And here are the factors measured by the algorithm in a tag picture format:

Kudos to Dr. Tijl De Bie for his work on this… it looks like a lot of fun and I’m going to submit a song or two to the Songometer when I get the link by email invitation…

I’ll report back on whether I’ve got algorithm or not… May the Muse (and Math) be with me…

Juno Awards Adds Electronic Music Category

Juno Awards of 2018 - Wikipedia

Canada’s Juno Awards has added an electronic music category for next years awards… and the site is open for submissions now…

If only I could compose an Electronic Album, then maybe I could have a shot at a Juno… NOT!  Of course, I’m dating myself but I start thinking of Kraftwerk and Vangelis… I’m sure I’ll be listening for the nominees in this category and learning a few things… why have all these toys with Reaper and VSTs and such if I don’t open my mind to other kinds of music and songwriting… hmm… a side project I guess…

Here’s the category as outlined by the Juno Awards:

The new category is defined as album-length original recordings composed with electronic equipment as the essential songwriting tools and defined by their electronic elements. Musical genres and respective subgenres such as (but not limited to) techno, house, electro, trance, drum’n’bass, dubstep, grime, electro-acoustic, turntablism, sample-based music, ambient and downtempo are eligible for this category.

Well, may the Muse be with you electronic mixers…

Songpitch.ca To Launch Soon

songpitch[1]

The Songwriters Association of Canada and Astral Media Inc. recently announced the launch of a brand new Web portal for songwriters and composers across Canada.

The portal will revolutionize the music industry. It enables songwriters across the country to share their compositions, receive advice from industry professionals and offer their creations for sale to music buyers for television, film and other media. The new portal will also make it possible to replace the traditional practice of mailing CD demos to songwriters, musicians, agents and distributors.

Songwriters Eddie Schwartz, Jim Vallance, Greg Johnston and Marc Jordan, known for their songs performed by artists such as Pat Benatar, Diana Ross, Hilary Duff, Backstreet Boys, Bryan Adams and Olivia Newton John, are just some of the prominent industry members who will provide free, personalized feedback to songwriters who upload their songs to the platform.

“The launch of this new portal is in keeping with Astral Media’s creative and innovative spirit. Thanks to our work over the past few years with the Songwriters Association of Canada, we can have an immediate and significant impact on the careers of thousands of songwriters, aspiring and emerging artists and music program students across the country,” said Jacques Parisien, Group President, Astral Media Radio and Astral Media Outdoor.

“When aiming to have a significant and immediate impact on emerging talent, aspiring and established artists, you must start at the bottom of the Canadian radio industry’s food chain. That is, to start with the songwriters. The Songwriters Association of Canada and Astral Media both know that it all starts with a song. Thanks to this partnership with Astral Media, a songwriter from any region of the country will have access to the industry’s senior decision makers as well as the advice of Canada’s most prolific songwriters,” added Don Quarles, Executive Director of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

To learn more about the new portal and how it works, visit www.songpitch.ca.

The Songwriters Association of Canada is dedicated to the advocacy and education of Canadian songwriters and devoted to developing and nurturing songwriting communities across the country. Astral Media is one of Canada’s leading media companies, active in specialty and pay television, radio, outdoor advertising and interactive media.

When it’s live and I try it… I’ll let you know how the Muse works within this site, but I am looking forward to it… may the Muse be with you.

Musicshake… and Musicshare

The Musicshake website declares “Music for Everyone, Created by YOU”. TechCrunch featured the site in an article published earlier today.

The free Musicshake mixing program (Windows platform only, see interface screenshot below) “lets users create personalized, professional sounding music using a variety of modules and pattern-combination methods, which is quite addictive once you get the hang of it (takes about 10 minutes and there are templates to help get you started). You can convert music you make to mp3 and download them to your computer, or convert them into a personalized ringtone. You can also show off music you create to your friends and place it in charts to promote your work to others.”

Musicshake then lets you monetize that creation on its website and share the proceeds with you 50/50. So budding composers, why not check it out. Here’s a video of the proggie in action:

May the Muse-icshake be with you… now go create…

HitLab Dynamic Hit Scoring

Hitlab turns good songs into hits with new TV show

A Canadian company, out of Montreal, was featured in an article by Roberto Rocha of the National Post yesterday discussing the DHS (Dynamic Hit Scoring) software featured on its website: HitLab.com.

From the article:

“We see this as the future of music,” said Eddie Wenrick, chief executive of Hitlab.com,a Montreal startup that aims to be the big new platform for farming musical talent. The company is a blend of MySpace– the social networking site popular among bands –and Canadian Idol. Members create profiles and add their songs for all to hear and buy. But for $30, they can get Hitlab’s software, called Dynamic Hit Scoring, to analyze their music’s hit potential. If they score highly, they increase their chance of signing a record contract.

Every three months, the four Hitlab users with the highest DHS score are invited to a talent show before a panel of industry honchos. The winners get coupled with managers and hopefully ink album contracts.

Hitlab would get a cut of the deal and publishing rights, and fame-seeking virtuosos get the exposure, Wenrick said.

“It’ll be a springboard to kick-start their careers,” he said. “We like to say we’re a baseball farm team before they go to the major leagues.”

Wenrick, a veteran of the music industry — he was an executive at Columbia Records and Epic Records and ran several talent management firms — understands that letting a robot pick new talent is exceptionally inhuman in a human-driven enterprise. This is why he also invites another top four members, as voted by other users, to the showcase.

“This is for users who don’t have a hit song, but have a large following and show potential,” he said.

And from the website on how DHS works:

To analyze music, the system breaks down the sound frequencies of a song into 78 variables such as tone, pitch, tempo, etc. If a song has very similar patterns to a song that was at the top of the billboard for a long period of time, the DHS score will be high. On the other hand, if the song has a moderately similar pattern to a song that was low on the billboard charts for a short period of time, the DHS score will be lower. By comparing a song to the database that holds the recent trends in music, we can evaluate how appealing the mathematical patterns of the sound frequencies are to the human ear, thereby evaluating a song’s hit potential.

Step by step:

  • Each MP3 song is digitized and parceled into tens of hundreds of short audio files.
  • A set of unique features (78 isolated variables) of the audio contents is extracted from each segment.
  • A full set of identifying features is created for each piece of MP3 content.
  • The complete set is then stored in the database.
  • Each MP3 is ranked according to its peak position in the Billboard compilation using the algorithms and stored in the database for future analysis.

I don’t know if something like this actually works. I guess it would for “pop” songs that may have many similar characteristics. My concern is whether a Bob Dylan or Bruce Springsteen, who didn’t sound like the prevailing pop at the time, would make it threw this type of screening…

May the Muse (and technology) be with you…

Microsoft’s Songsmith

Songsmith

Microsoft Research has made a trial version of its program, Songsmith, available for download here. Here’s some info from the website:

Ever sing in the car? Maybe in the shower? You know who you are. Admit it, you like to sing, and you like music. Ever thought of writing your own music? Most people never get a chance to try… but we want to give everyone a piece of the songwriting experience, so we’ve developed Songsmith, an application that lets you create a complete song just by singing! Are we going to turn you into an award-winning songwriter overnight? Of course not. But Songsmith will give you a way to create something authentically musical and authentically yours, even if you don’t know the first thing about chords or music theory.

Just open up Songsmith, choose from one of thirty different musical styles, and press record. Sing whatever you like – a birthday song for Mom, a love song for that special someone (they’ll be impressed that you wrote a song for them!), or maybe just try playing with your favorite pop songs. As soon as you press “stop”, Songsmith will generate musical accompaniment to match your voice, and play back your song for you. It’s that simple.

For songwriters, is Songsmith going to replace the craft of songwriting? Never. Could it be a super-useful “intelligent scratchpad” for exploring new melodies and ideas? Definitely. If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had the experience of coming up with a melody and finding the nearest object with a “record” button on it just to get your idea down. Imagine that first quick experience also letting you explore chord progressions, styles, even basic arrangement ideas. Then of course you’d work with other tools, other people, your instruments, and your own musical intuition to really develop a song. But Songsmith can be a great tool that lets you quickly explore new ideas in places where you couldn’t before (on the go, on the bus, in the airport, etc.). And Songsmith works great with instrumental input too!

Of course, Songsmith’s ideas might not be exactly what you want for your song. It’s music after all, and there’s no single right answer. So Songsmith not only comes up with music for your song, but puts you in the driver’s seat by letting you customize the chords and arrangement for your song, even if you’ve never heard of “chords” before. Move the “happy” and “jazzy” sliders around to get the chords you want. Lock the chords you like and let Songsmith change the ones you don’t. Set up your own custom band. Make it your song!

I have to admit this sounds intriguing and fun… My daughter loves to make up songs, so I think I’ll see how she does with something like this and if it helps make a song… Looks like the Muse is becoming a computer program... See this video:

Review of Sonar 8 PE by CakewalkNet

Songwriter, Rick Paul, has drafted a rather detailed, “thumbs up” review for Cakewalk Sonar 8 Producer Edition that can be found here on the CakewalkNet website.

Here is Mr. Paul’s bullet list of enhancements from the latest version:

  • New features, optimizations, and workflow enhancements: Loop Explorer 2.0, dedicated instrument tracks, performance optimizations, user interface optimizations.
  • Editing enhancements: clip selection groups, aim assist cursor, split and mute tools, free edit tool.
  • Recording enhancements: live effects and softsynth rendering, anytime recording.
  • Mixing enhancements: exclusive solo mode with solo override, bus inputs QuickGroup command, mono hardware inputs.
  • Control enhancements: transport updates, control surface enhancements, Track View and Console View sync.
  • Additional enhancements: enhanced sample rate conversion, Vista audio, QuickTime 7 import/export.
  • Workflow enhancements: insert send assistant, updated ACT presets, drum maps, and plug-in presets, new drum patterns for the integrated step sequencer.
  • New instruments: Beatscape loop performance instrument, Dimension Pro, TruePianos Amber VSTi module.
  • New effects processors: TS 64 Transient Shaper, TL-64 Tube Leveler, Channel Tools, Native Instruments Guitar Rig LE.

So, if you’re into Sonar (I have version 6) then check out this great review and you can even download a trial version from Cakewalk’s website here.

(M)Use the technology for the Muse…