Table of contents
Advancements in technology go a long way toward improving our lives, but they aren't always welcomed. Over the past year, the prevalence of AI has drastically reshaped the world. Although some people are concerned about the use of these tools, it's undeniable that AI can exponentially improve productivity.
This is especially true for those working in the music industry. Artificial intelligence has become a staple form of music technology.
It's crucial to understand how you can leverage it. Let's explore some of the primary ways the best music producers use AI during their projects.
1. 🎚️ Mixing and Mastering
This is one of the most popular use cases for AI in music production. In the past, mixing and mastering were arduous processes that often took days or weeks. In some cases, it could take months to master a handful of tracks.
Using AI for audio engineering can save a substantial amount of time. You can reinvest these hours into other areas of your project, allowing you to increase your creative output.
Keep in mind that these tools aren't perfect. There are many cases where a human touch creates better results. However, you can use AI as a starting point for the mastering process.
These tools are easy to integrate, as they often have presets for specific genres. For example, choosing a hip-hop preset will automatically emphasize the low end of the track while making other relevant tweaks. When used correctly, this can be the strongest AI tool you implement.
2. 🎼 Composition
Music producers are no strangers to creative block. They might have trouble translating what they hear in their head to a project.
They might also have difficulty starting a project altogether. AI composition can lay down chords and melodies that serve as a foundation for your next track. On their own, these likely won't sound polished enough to release.
Producers can build upon them and take things to the next level. For instance, consider a scenario where you spent hours trying to come up with a dark, catchy melody before using an AI composition. With a few small changes, you turn the AI chord progression into one of your favourite tracks you've ever made.
Producers often limit themselves by believing they should only compose what they hear in their own heads. In truth, all creativity is lent and borrowed.
The "original" chord progression someone spends hours developing has likely been used before by hundreds of artists. AI composition is simply another tool to help you achieve your desired results.
3. 🎷 AI-Generated Instruments
Have you ever endlessly scrolled through presets and been unable to find a sound that fits your needs? This has happened to most of us, and it can easily kill motivation.
The primary issue is that it can be difficult to find or create a sound that conveys the right emotion. By using AI-generated instruments, you can fine-tune sounds until you get the results you need.
A typical use case can involve a producer thinking of a particular guitar tone. They would then use an AI tool to generate guitar sounds based on mood, genre, etc. If they don't like what they hear, they can keep generating different tones until they're satisfied.
Or, they can take an AI result and give it a human touch to make it unique. The possibilities are truly endless.
4. 🎧 Streamlined Sound Selection
For those with large sound libraries, it's time-consuming to sift through thousands of different samples. More often than not, producers use a similar selection of sounds for most of their products.
AI tools can learn from your behaviour while you work. This allows them to organize your sound folders based on your preferred samples. Imagine a situation where someone has 10,000 drum samples across a variety of genres.
They usually gravitate toward the thick, full drums you'd hear in an EDM song. AI tools can analyze available samples and create a collection that resembles their most commonly used sounds.
For producers who only use a small selection of sounds, this might not seem like a big deal. For those who have spent years building their sample libraries, AI tools can make the production process much more enjoyable.
5. 🔌 AI Plugins
Out of every tool on this list, these are perhaps the most flexible. Think back to a time when you needed to add a particular effect to a track but couldn't find the right plugin. Artificial intelligence can help you create the exact effect you're searching for.
You might want to add tape emulation to a piano chord progression. You might also want to add a specific type of distortion to a vocal track.
As with other tools on this list, you'll need to add your personal touch to get the best results. With enough experimentation, you should have no issue achieving your desired outcome.
6. 🔬 Technical Research
No matter how experienced you are as a producer, there will be concepts you need to research. After all, it takes decades of experience to master basic processes like compression.
You can use AI software to answer important questions during the production process. You can even phrase these queries the same way you'd ask a professional.
In context, this might involve someone typing, "What is parallel compression?" The AI program will then research the question and provide an answer. If you need more information, it can provide resources to point you in the right direction.
7. 🤖 Repetitive Task Automation
Music producers deal with a large number of repetitive tasks. These include exporting projects, tagging file names with specific info, etc. Although none of these are difficult on their own, they can become time-consuming when performed repeatedly.
Automating these responsibilities accomplishes two tasks:
- You'll have extra time to work on your projects
- You'll reduce mental fatigue
Automation is also great for handling a large number of tasks at once. For example, you might need to append the file names of 100 tracks with their respective key and BPM. When done manually, this can take hours and make it difficult to stay motivated.
8. 🖼️ Cover Art Creation
Music and visual art go hand in hand. High-quality visuals can substantially enhance a listening experience. After all, there's a reason why music videos are so popular.
While not every track needs a music video, it does need cover art. Many producers lack the graphic design skills to create their own.
This often leads to creating or using low-quality artwork, something that can detract from the song itself. AI can help you generate virtually any visual you desire.
Simply type in a prompt (such as "city highway at night") and let the program get to work. It may take a few tries to get something usable, but it can save a large amount of time and money. For those with solid design skills, you can use AI art as a foundation to build upon.
9. 🥁 Drum Programming
Drum programming is an interesting process in music production. Unlike writing chords and melodies, it can be easy to lose your initial vision during the process.
To elaborate, people often hear grooves in their heads that consist of multiple drums. Unless you record yourself playing a drum beat, you'll have to program one instrument at a time.
As you begin doing so, you might lose track of what you initially came up with. Instead, you can use AI tools to develop drum patterns with a handful of instruments. You can then modify them as needed.
Feel free to add extra sounds or remove those that don't meet your needs. You can also rearrange the placement of the drums to achieve different results. AI drum tools can drastically improve your efficiency, as they can quickly generate hundreds of drum patterns in different genres.
10. 🎨 Inspiration
No matter the resources at your disposal, you might still feel uninspired. This can make it difficult to finish or even start a project. Producers can create entire tracks with artificial intelligence.
These aren't meant for release, though. You can use the completed track as inspiration. Take time to listen to the song and dissect its different elements. You might feel inspired by a particular melody or drum groove.
When inspiration strikes, it often hits hard. Referencing an AI track could help make the next hour insanely productive.
11. ⚖️ Copyright Enforcement
Unfortunately, the music industry is rife with copyright infringement. There's no shortage of people who outright steal work from others and pass it off as their own. This is especially prevalent with instrumentals, as tracks without vocals are often much less recognizable than a singer's voice.
Millions of people would recognize Ariana Grande's voice, for instance. Far fewer people would recognize the unique style of producers she's worked with.
AI tools can scan the entire Internet and locate content that matches your original creations. If it finds something, it will then guide you on the next steps.
Let's take a closer look at this through the following scenario:
Daniel is a music producer who releases original instrumentals on a variety of platforms. One of his biggest concerns is copyright infringement, but he would never know if his work has been stolen unless the fraudulent song gains notoriety.
Out of curiosity, he decided to use an AI tool to look for content matches across YouTube, Spotify, Apple Music, etc. To his surprise, he finds that people have been stealing and re-uploading his instrumentals under different names for years.
Based on the traction these songs have gotten, he's also owed thousands of dollars in ad revenue and royalties. The AI tool that identified the matches provides links to customer support for each individual platform. It also offers advice on how to take legal action.
Without a tool like this, people would have continued to profit from Daniel's music without his knowledge. So, keep this use case in mind. AI copyright infringement tools could result in you getting thousands of dollars you didn't know you deserved.
12. 🚂 Distribution
In the early stages of the music industry, distribution took far longer than it should have. There was an abundance of gatekeeping, and records often sat on desks for months before anyone listened to them.
Today, anyone can release their own music through an online distributor. This process has become even more efficient through the use of artificial intelligence.
As previously mentioned, AI can check for copyrighted work. This means you can't upload a song that's already been distributed to a certain platform. This can cause a number of complications if somebody else steals your work and uploads it before you do.
However, at least you would know that you need to take action. Regardless, AI can ensure that your music and artwork don't infringe on anyone else's copyright. Since these tools circumvent the need for human review, you can get your music in front of your listeners much faster.
13. 🗂️ Audience Segmentation
No matter how good your music is, you might not get the results you want if you don't put it in front of the right people. Producers can use AI to segment their target audience and determine who would most likely enjoy a particular track.
In context, AI could analyze key elements of your music and compare those of popular songs in similar genres. It can then deduce what demographic finds that type of music most appealing. You can use this information when running online ads to get better results.
Let's assume you normally make EDM that's popular with people aged 18 to 35. However, you decide to make a hip-hop track with EDM elements during your most recent project.
After using an AI tool, you discover that this particular sound is most popular with people aged 13 to 25. From here, you can reconfigure your online advertising settings before running your next campaign.
🎛️ The Best Music Producers Use AI
It's normal to be apprehensive about AI. Remember that some of the best producers in the industry use this technology. The above information can help you integrate it into your own workflow and take your creativity to new heights.
Ready to get started? Sign up for our free monthly newsletter. You will get actionable tips, practical advice, and music production hacks to help bring your vision to life.