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How will artificial intelligence change the music we listen to?

How will artificial intelligence change the music we listen to?

The Music Technology Group from UPF's Department of Information and Communication Technologies launches the "Challenges and Opportunities in Music Technology" project, aimed at examining how today's emerging technologies will influence music in the coming years.

06.09.2022

Imatge inicial

Moltes de les accions quotidianes que fem avui passen per dispositius que fan servir algoritmes d’intel·ligència artificial (IA). Cedim cada cop més espai a la tecnologia perquè ens fa la vida més senzilla i pràctica. Quan escoltem música, però, potser no som tan conscients de com la IA ja s’ocupa de bona part de la producció i creació de les cançons, ni de la tecnologia que hi ha darrere dels programaris per aprendre a tocar un instrument o dels recomanadors que ens seleccionen la música que més ens agrada a Spotify.

Many daily tasks that we do today involve using devices that use artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. We increasingly depend on technology as it makes our lives simpler and is more practical. When we listen to music, however, we might not be aware that AI is already responsible for a great deal of song production and creation, nor that it is behind the software technology for learning to play an instrument or the recommenders which select the music that we like on Spotify.

In a few years' time, what relationship will we have with the devices and applications we use to consume music? How will we know if the song we are listening to was created by a human composer or a machine? Who is the author of a piece created with AI? How will we control personal data privacy in music recommender systems? How will technology help us to archive musical content so that it will be accessible in decades to come?

We still do not have a clear view of what these changes will mean in the future, nor how they will impact society

The Music Technology Group (MTG) of UPF's Department of Information and Communication Technologies (DTIC) has launched a project called "Challenges and Opportunities in Music Technology", with the aim of examining how today's emerging technologies will influence music in the coming years. With artificial intelligence, the processes of creating, broadcasting, learning and listening to music are undergoing a rapid transformation, and will do even more so with 5G, blockchain and the metaverse. However we still do not have a clear view of what these changes will mean in the future, nor how they will impact society.

A critical musical culture about technology

The "Challenges and Opportunities in Music Technology" project intends to hold an open debate to get to know the opinions, needs and concerns of music experts and end users. Professionals from the music industry, creators, listeners, music students, curators and music technology developers will be invited to participate.

The first phase - during September and October this year - will consist of gathering many opinions by way of interviews and online work groups. In the second phase, a debate workshop will be convened - around November - with talks and discussion sessions, to find the most commonly expressed themes from the results of the interviews. At the end of the year, a public document will be created which will serve as a guide for the music sector on how to move forward with fairer and more transparent technologies.

The project aims to be a reference for the general population, thus providing a critical perspective on the most controversial aspects of technology as applied to music

The project does not wish to be limited solely to the academic sphere, rather it aims to be a reference for the general population, thus providing a critical perspective on the most controversial aspects of technology as applied to music.

More than 25 years researching the impact of technology on society

Since 1994, the Music Technology Group (MTG) of Pompeu Fabra University has been carrying out research projects which seek to understand the impact of technology on society. It has a lot of influence within the international scientific community and on the future development of AI. It currently includes 50 experts devoted to technology applied to the creation, consumption, education and preservation of music. The Reactable (interactive digital instrument), the Vocaloid (virtual singing synthesiser) and Freesound (sound exchange platform) are some of its most emblematic projects.

The "Challenges and Opportunities in Music Technology" project also has the support of the MusicAIRE initiative (funded by the European Union within the Music Moves Europe programme) and Barcelona City Council.

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