AI startup Boomy is looking to turn the music industry on its ear


Music publishers have been spending heavily in recent years, buying up catalogs and copyrights of songs by famous musicians at a frantic pace. Last December, Universal Music Publishing Group . bought the Universal Music Publishing Group In a deal valued at more than $300 million. similarly, to Primary Wave Music for $100 million in the same month. But since all of that money is funneled to the industry’s biggest stars, a songwriting startup has plans to open up a pool of music revenue for everyone.

“You see these huge deals, like Bob Dylan’s deal with copyright and all that money,” Boomy co-founder and CEO Alex Mitchell told Engadget. “It started with the realization that most people would be left out of that and it caused a conversation about fairness in the music industry, ‘How do we reward artists fairly, what is the role of ratings,’ there’s just chaos going on in the music industry right now.”

Mitchell recognized that one of the major obstacles preventing amateur musicians from becoming published musicians was technological. , and teaching oneself how to navigate the ultra-fine control charts of digital audio workstations (digital audio workstations) like Ableton Live or Pro Tools can take months, if not years, to fully master. But what if you had an AI-powered co-writer to handle the technical heavy lifting instead, similar to what Tik Tok and Instagram do for their creators?

“We’re really starting to look at what it takes to extract creativity out of someone, and what kind of tool you can put in their hands – there’s a lot of semi-automated or fully automated process involved – that they can just add their own layer of humanity to it.” What they found was .

“There is really AI used in the studios and in the process of creating music,” Mitchell said. “A good example of that . They used artificial intelligence to be able to create great mixes, put a great final polish on the tracks, and things like that. “

“What we did is we took a lot of these concepts and we rewrote these things from the ground up,” he continued. “[It’s] Less thinking about how people make music, and more in the context of, if someone has no skills at all, how quickly can we get them to make some things that they think are so cool? “

The web-based app is basically a one-button music studio. Users can compose fully original songs in about 5-10 minutes by simply clicking on “Create Song” from the homepage, choosing the desired rhythm style – be it rap, Lo-fi, demo or “global grooves” – and then tinkering with the composition And mix until satisfied. This song can then be uploaded to over 40 streaming and social media platforms where the song’s author can earn royalties based on the number of times the song is played.

Embedded below is a sweet, meditative jingle that I collected during my research. Despite my inherent lack of rhythm and general disinterest in musical production, I found this to be a rather relaxing and enjoyable experience. After picking a base tempo and waiting half a minute for the AI ​​to create a mix, the production process pretty much involved just shuffling icons to adjust composition and fiddling with dropdowns to instrument clusters until I had something I liked and thought vaguely resembled the Konami menu screen music I had grown up with. . The whole process took less than 10 minutes.

Unlike recurrent neural network analysis models such as Google’s OpenAI or Magenta which, for example, can analyze Michael Jackson songs to be able to recreate the signature sound of the King of Pop, Boomy is not trained in copyrighted works. This is partly due to the highly fragmented nature of copyright law, which varies widely between states and territories, but also due to the black box nature of these systems. if is any pressure gauge, there is always a chance (albeit small) that a system trained on Michael Jackson might randomly spit out a perfect recreation of “. This is too bad for the system designer.

“If I were a music publisher and I own the rights to Michael Jackson,” Mitchell said. “I’m going to look at that form and say ‘Wow, you know what, that’s all for me’…If you’re making a copy of someone else’s work, even if it’s converted, you probably owe some posting about it.'”

Instead, the team takes a bottom-up approach, drawing on previous experience in A&R research to train its AI to build tones and compositions from scratch. “We have some really advanced algorithms that do automatic mixing, and decide what sound should be together — what are the features of these sounds, how do they fit together, and what is the perceived loudness of these sounds,” Mitchell explained.

These features grew out of a brute force development approach – in which different combinations of rhythms and compositions were compiled, and then shown to beta testers. “In the first iteration of our model, the rejection rate was 98 percent, but the survival rate was 2 percent,” he continued. And at 2 percent, over millions of sessions, we started saying, ‘OK, here are sets of features that fit together really well. “

Mitchell Boomy is not just a tool for creating music, but as a way to achieve “the perfect world we want to create”, a world that would allow creators anywhere on the planet to register themselves as a co-writer in their work alongside Boomy at their local copyright organization . However, because copyright law varies from country to country, Boomy has created an alternative way to ensure songwriters get paid for their creative work.

“What we’re saying here is, a real-world example would be, we just set up a music studio, we filled it with great equipment, and we spent millions of dollars building the studio,” Mitchell told Engadget. “You can go in and use it for free, make whatever you want, and on your way out, we’ll allocate you to our company, and we’ll give you 80 percent of the profits on everything we collect from the ones you made in the studio.”

“IP vests are with us,” he continued, noting that Boomy has been used to create over 3 million songs to date, “which actually makes us, ironically, the biggest record company in the world.” For users who are already well-known musicians or would like to take sole ownership of their songs, “they can file a rights claim, and we can basically either sell them the copyright or come up with another arrangement.”

While Mitchell couldn’t share exact numbers with Engadget, he estimated that in the past two years since Boomy’s launch, the company has paid “tens of thousands” of dollars in royalties to its user base.

Going forward, Mitchell expects the Boomy user interface to add more additional control features and configuration inputs, “Over the next several months, we’ll really focus and double our focus on sound, melody, and top line,” he explained.

The company is also working on new ways to earn royalties for its users. “We have a bunch of influencer groups in rows, and we’ve been doing some things behind the scenes to put tracks in our YouTube videos,” Mitchell continued. “If you are a content creator, or if you have a podcast, instead go and pay For music rights, why not They get paid for the music you use? “

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