Artificial intelligence has been in development for quite a while now. While companies initially struggled to find ways to apply and monetize functions such as speech recognition and voice translation, research in those areas has boomed in conjunction with the ever-increasing use of mobile devices and the incredible amount of data it has generated.
In 2017, 33 million voice-driven devices are estimated to be in circulation. In a recent survey from National Public Media, 65 percent of people using services like Google Home or Amazon Echo say they would never go back, and 42 percent of that group considers the systems to be "essential" elements of life. It all makes perfect sense -- no other interface is as user-friendly as voice.
Like any new technology, there are the nascent uses for artificial intelligence, and then there are the uses we can't even imagine at first. The disruptive nature of AI has already influenced many industries, but if you're an AI or tech startup, there's one industry that could provide a windfall for your business that is only just now being tapped: the music industry.
The potential for tech startups to leverage AI in the music industry through voice activation is vast. Here are a few areas where you could develop new ways to integrate and optimize AI for use by musicians, labels, and streaming services.
1. Production and Studios
Your AI startup could capitalize on voice recognition software to help streamline the music production process for studios and producers. If producers could simply tell an application what sounds and tracks to put where at what beat and in whatever genre they choose -- instead of having to cut up tracks and sounds as the process has traditionally involved -- it would cause a sea change in professional studio production cycles.
Another revolution in recording is the home studio, which allows artists to create full sessions with minimal capital outlay. However, finding someone to help out often makes home recording a challenge. Odis is a new startup that helps the Amazon Echo serve as a studio assistant. With simple voice commands -- "Alexa, play Vox 2 track," for example -- musicians can now easily pull up a backing track and lay a new one down over it without having to move between the computer and mic.
2. Playlist Creation and Control
We already know how to use Spotify to create playlists, but that's just version one. Voice activation gives users the ability to create playlists inside a music streaming service based on almost any criteria.
Amazon Echo can be used to control a new service called Amazon Music Unlimited. Just using voice commands, people can find music based on mood, decade, lyrics, or recent releases. Of course, you can already control Apple Music with Siri. And Spotify isn't waiting around, either. The company is testing a driving mode that uses voice control so that drivers can change their music and still drive safely. What other innovative applications for playlists could your startup develop?
3. Lyric Translation
Remember when voice translation sounded like a robot, with no inflection or tone? That's changing rapidly, thanks to AI. The ability for AI to recognize both the tone of an artist's voice and translate lyrics into other languages expands a musician's catalogue to a global audience.
One artist, Prodigy, released an album that could be translated into 1,400 different languages instantly. Software created by Voxonic allowed the artist to deliver lyrics in his own voice, no matter the language.
As artists embrace voice recognition technology, more fans will be able to really dive into their music and interact with it. For fans around the world, their favorite music won't just be about the beat -- now the words will matter, too.
4. Content Creation
What if you could create music using the spoken word? One company that I work with, Humtap, is turning that into a reality with its solutions for streaming music leaders, established artists, record labels, DJs, and of course, consumers.
Consumers with zero musical experience can now create a song using Humtap simply by humming and tapping a beat. The AI generates unique, royalty-free tracks in any musical genre that can be used as a "soundtrack" of sorts to layer under video clips.
Imagine the returns on investment if your startup could find a way to maximize these functions with a system that better enables hassle-free sharing of tracks across social media without copyright infringement.
Even with all of these exciting new developments, the integration of voice-recognition capabilities into music creation, distribution, consumption, and production is still in its infancy. There is a lot of room for startups to continue disrupting the music industry with AI and voice technology. In fact, things are just getting rolling now in a big way -- we're at the dawn of a revolution.