MusicLM can create and conjure up music based on a user’s text input, such as “a calming violin melody backed by a distorted guitar riff”.
But, citing concerns over its potential impact on the $35 billion global music industry, including copyright, Google has no plans yet to roll out the technology to the public.
Much like ChatGPT, MusicLM is seriously impressive but has imperfections.
There are no musicians or instrumentalists in any of the loops, which cover genres ranging from jazz to country to electronica and death metal.
In another display of its prowess, Google asked MusicLM to produce music that captures the mood and atmosphere of some of the art world’s most well-known masterpieces, like Edvard Munch’s The Scream and Salvador Dalí’s The Persistence of Memory.
For now at least, vocals on the samples are raw and often nonsensical, but the foundations have been laid by Google in a way previously unseen.
There have been other AI music generators, but none have delivered the complexity of MusicLM’s output, largely because of technical limitations and limited training data.
Despite its promising output, Google researchers cited ethical considerations at the centre of its decision to not release the AI for general use.
Researchers noted a tendency of the system to incorporate copyrighted material from training data into the generated songs.
“We acknowledge the risk of potential misappropriation of creative content associated to the use case,” the co-authors of the paper wrote.
“We strongly emphasize the need for more future work in tackling these risks associated to music generation.”
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But some legal experts claim that Google’s training of MusicLM, by reviewing hundreds of thousands of musical pieces and songs, is itself a contravention of music copyright.
Author Eric Sunray said AI music generators like MusicLM violated copyright by creating “tapestries of coherent audio from the works they ingest in training, thereby infringing the United States Copyright Act’s reproduction right.”
Sunray said the music industry had only just recovered from the illegal filesharing threat but now AI was presenting “an even more disruptive technological phenomenon”.