4 Predictions for AI in Music

PLUS: Fixing streaming's broken model & AI as marketing for your album,

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Welcome, artists & builders. 

This is the 3rd edition of Where Music's Going. This week we will cover AI’s potential impact on music & fixing the broken music streaming model. No biggie.

Inside Issue #3:
💡 Context: How will AI affect music?
🦁 In the Wild: Tech as a marketing ploy
📊 In Numbers: The US is running out of stars
🔧 The Fix: Fixing Streaming’s Broken Model

Enter the age of AI.

It’s clear from the inescapable headlines & product announcements that we are witnessing an exponential, rapid-growth moment for artificial intelligence. It will be felt across all industries.

Music is no exception.

It is increasingly easy for anyone to create content of any kind. Artificial Intelligence challenges the very idea of what it means to be an artist.

Here are 4 areas of music I believe will be heavily impacted by rapid-growth AI.

1. Endlessly Adequate

There will be a flood of mediocre, indistinguishable, unoriginal music.

Emphasis on context- & mood-based music, ambient, sleep, lo-fi, instrumental. We’ve seen content multiply 10,000x over the last decade. It will again, but from a mix of sources:

  • Ai-led music services that spin out content

  • Artists leveraging ai to 100x their output, including alt versions

  • Everyone’s increasing ability to become a music creator

2. Humanity In Demand

A huge movement will return focus to artists, originality & authenticity. Caring who the artists are. Caring about their humanity.

With an endless sea of faceless music, fans will seek out something more. Artist’s forging a real connection & building community will win. Think grunge following the Casio 80s.

Artists over songs. Authenticity at a premium.

3. Library Music

Music libraries & production houses will see the most change. The mass music-as-a-service platforms will almost entirely transition to AI, wiping out a meaningful area of earning for many 9-to-5 musicians.

4. AI Is Just The Next Tool

Artists who effectively use AI as part of their creative stack will ride a new wave. We will see new genres of sound & culture tap into AI tools no differently than the electric guitar, synthesizer, or Ableton.

This goes beyond the core music creation to areas surrounding it: video, visual artwork, live visuals, world-building, marketing & more.


Adapting doesn’t mean any one thing. A full-throated rejection of AI by some artists & a full adoption of the toolset by others may both prove wildly successful strategies.

Just move with conviction.



Using AI as a Marketing Ploy

Everything Everything co-wrote their album Raw Data Feel with an AI named Kevin. In fact, Kevin & AI were included throughout the album campaign.

1) Fans pre-saved the lead single by finding & scanning QR codes that led to a Kevin chat-bot with the deets.

2) The ‘Teletype’ music video featured AI generated faces singing the song.

3) They shared an Instagram filter for fans to use the same effect on themselves. The band later shared a new video using those submissions.

Kevin contributed 5% of the album’s lyrics & a song title. Apparently that’s what happens when you train your bot on:

  • the epic poem Beowulf

  • the sayings of Confucious

  • LinkedIn’s terms & conditions

  • 400k 4chan posts

🧠 Sometimes simply the novelty of new tech can be a driver & a path to connection.


2022’s Top Stars are Global

🇺🇸 Only 2 Americans in the Top 10 of Global Music Consumption in 2022. One of those Bad Bunny, hails from Puerto Rico.

Southeast Asia continues to lead in building fandom & rabid music audiences.

Streaming’s business model is broken. Streamers have razor thin margins. Artists are under-compensated. Fandom is unmonetized.

Even more (& better) AI-generated songs won’t help.

Fixing the System: SoundCloud is experimenting with Warner on fan-powered royalties & UMG CEO Lucian Grange is making loud statements for change, working on experiments with Deezer & Tidal.

🤔 Something Grange & Deezer CEO Jeronimo Folgueria say often is “real artists” & “high-quality content”…

Here are ideas being publicly discussed by Grange, Deezer, Tidal & more. Including my own.

  • User-centric payments  Artists get a share of the payments from users that listen to them, rather than of the global pool. Many labels are resistant as it tends to favor non-superstars.

  • Subscribe to Artists → Pay flat- or artist-set fees that unlock more music & access.

  • Reward Artists for Bringing Subscribers → No idea how you install this. An idea by Grange that would seemingly benefit superstars.

  • Pay more for active listens A strong idea, rewarding active (eg search for a song) over passive (on a playlist you follow). The difficulty is in defining, implementing & keeping it transparent.

  • NFTs → These can behave similar to subscriptions, BUT they can operate beyond the platform, unlocking far greater experiences. Call them digital collectibles if you must. 

  • Raise Prices Low-hanging fruit. This absolutely must be paired with any other change.

🥧 Some of these change the distribution of the pie. Some change the size of it. Let’s do both.

AI in the Headlines

I’ll leave you with

See you next week. In the meantime, catch you on twitter: @abelowrob.

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