- By Megan Lawton
- BBC News
24 minutes ago
You are in a club, the music is ringing and the lights are flashing.
You look at the DJ booth but there’s no one there, because it’s an AI-generated mix.
With mixing software getting more and more sophisticated and venues cutting their budgets, that’s the concern of some people in the dance music industry.
But can a computer program ever replace the actual connection between a DJ and a crowd?
In a word, no. At least not in Nooriyah’s opinion.
Artificial intelligence programs have been available in his industry for years, recommending songs to mix based on their tempos.
But they haven’t taken Nooriyah’s job yet, and she thinks she knows why.
“Because the way I connect with my audience is very hard to replicate,” she says.
“Imagine a raver looking at me when I’m DJing, seeing me sweat and dance like them.
“In that moment, they feel this intimate connection that the AI couldn’t.”
Hannah Rose learned to DJ during confinement and is trying to make it her main source of income.
She has a lot of work to do, but has noticed venues cutting budgets as the cost of living crisis hits.
“Since Covid there has been a massive shift towards people asking to stream sets,” she says.
“Especially when it’s somewhere overseas, if they don’t have the money to get you to play in another country, it’s an easy and accessible way to get the artists on their line-ups. without having to physically have them in the room.”
Hannah noticed that many nightclubs have already installed a streaming camera behind the decks.
She now fears this will extend to virtual sets.
“They still have a long way to go to match the emotional intelligence of a human being, but with AI generating original compositions, it could be a pretty bleak future for DJs,” she says.
In March this year, a venue in east London hosted an AI rave to mixed reviewssome saying the music was “dry and empty”.
Humans may make the best DJs, but it’s not such a simple story for producers.
Besides being a DJ, Nooriyah makes her own music.
His creative process currently involves experimenting with different sounds on software, before mastering tracks. It is this last step where the AI comes into play.
“For me, the conversation about AI in production is way overdue,” she says.
“There are already at least 10 different pieces of software that mix music and could put producers out of work.”
She wants to see a better dialogue between music industry players and AI developers.
“I think the danger here is that there’s work going on with no discussion of what this would mean for the music industry.”
One solution, she says, is to tax AI companies.
“First, let’s slow the release of these AI programs and tax the developers, putting that money into training people who lose their jobs because of AI.”
Phil Kear agrees. He works with the Music Union and fears that AI will limit the amount people are willing to pay for recordings made by human creators.
“AI music will be cheaper,” he says. “And I think people will be tempted to use it, maybe bars.”
Although he says so, his full influence will only go as far as humans allow.
“A lot will be determined by the general public’s willingness to accept AI or the quality of music it can produce.”
He doesn’t think the majority of commercial music will be impacted, but highlights “mood” music as an area at risk.
“With music on TV and movies, I think audiences will be much more willing to accept AI-generated music because there’s no personality associated with it,” he says.
“While I think in bars and clubs there is a certain investment.”
Like many industries, the music world has already been influenced by technological advancements.
For Nooriyah, this evolution is the same.
“Music has evolved rapidly over time. We’ve moved from cassettes to CDs, from radio to streaming services, and on every level there’s been disruption. It’s no different.”
“We just have to recalibrate, find our place and regulate things so that it’s an exciting collaborator rather than an enemy.”