A while in the past, throughout a very darkish time in my life, I discovered some solace in composing music that mirrored my numerous moods. After that, the tracks sat, all 12 of them, ready for — I do not know — one thing.
Many musicians have related experiences. They create music, write songs, and compose tunes, however by no means actually get them “on the market.”
Again within the day, the one methods you may share your music had been by means of reside performances, a self-published CD shared with all ten of your mates, or getting signed by a file label (a really excessive barrier of entry rife with appreciable issue and danger).
However all that has modified. You could not understand it, however Individuals nonetheless purchase CDs and vinyl (about half “wish to buy bodily copies of their music“). That mentioned, music streaming providers have turn into common and much more mainstream than bodily album gross sales.
Launching a brand new music album or EP now not requires catching the attention of an A&R (artists and repertoire) government at a file label. You need to use a digital music distributor to push your music out onto streaming providers with out having to be thought of marketable sufficient by some file government, which actually helps in case your music does not match neatly into a preferred style.
This actually is a golden age for indy music, as a result of music releases are now not solely depending on the approval of mainstream sound gatekeepers. Anybody can launch an album and get it onto Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal, and the remainder.
So I did. And I used AI to assist me make it occur.
AI was not used for:
- Composing, mixing, or mastering the precise music
- The web site setup and design
- Doing all the varied offers to ascertain distribution
AI was used for:
- Album cowl artwork
- Music style identification
- Music promotional prose (descriptions of the music)
- Artist music bio
- Artist profile picture for Spotify, Apple Music, and so forth, in addition to the hero picture for the web site
- Prolonged banner on the web site
- Artist picture utilizing a pc keyboard
- Artist picture in entrance of my muscle automobile
No AI was used within the creation or mixing of this music
Let me be clear. Whereas I did use my pc to combine licensed sound samples and compose my very own work, I didn’t use an AI to create or combine my music. My music is all me. That is vital as a result of I need my listeners (dare I say, followers) to know that what’s on these tracks represents my expertise, emotions, coronary heart, and soul.
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I did dabble with, after which discard, the thought of utilizing an AI to assist grasp the music. Mastering is the method the place an audio engineer takes your combine and zhuzhes it up, making every little thing match, sound correct, get the most effective steadiness, and typically even pull extra from the music than the unique composer was in a position to combine in initially.
An excellent sound engineer is value their weight in gold. So, in fact, some corporations have tried to create AIs to scale back the method to a couple clicks.
To assist me select which mastering service to attempt, I watched these people examine quite a few automated mastering instruments. They decided that LANDR was the most effective of the AI instruments, so that is the one I attempted.
I am definitely not a sound engineer, and whereas anybody’s music can in all probability profit from the knowledge and expertise of a deeply skilled human sound engineer, I write about AI. So I plunked down $40 for LANDR’s premium mastering plan and gave it a shot.
Whereas the UI for LANDR was tremendous, I discovered the outcomes to be maddening. Did it sound higher? Did it sound worse? Did I’ve a adequate ear to inform the distinction?
LANDR permits you to select some choices for the way it will course of your grasp, so that you’re primarily guiding the AI by means of one thing you do not in any other case know all that nicely.
Then, in case you’re unsure you just like the sound, you should utilize some refinement controls to additional post-process the sound.
If that is AI, it is undoubtedly a lazy one. I need my sound engineer (and even my AI sound engineer) to make the selections. If I’ve to make all of the sound choices, then what’s its actual worth?
I do imagine a number of of the tracks had been improved…barely. However my important, favourite tracks had been clearly made muddier. I agonized over this for nearly two weeks when, after sleeping on it, I lastly got here to the reply that was proper for me.
I needed the music to be my music. Particularly on this time of generative AI, and particularly since I work so much with AI, I did not need any implication that some machine wrote my music. So, if I needed to have the ability to say, “No AI was used within the creation or mixing of this music,” then AI mastering was not proper for me.
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That mentioned, whereas no AI was used within the creation or mixing of this music, I used the heck out of AI for the creation of album covers, web site graphics, and associated promotional textual content.
Step one for which I turned to AI was in creating the album covers. In truth, it was the AI’s work product that helped me refine the discharge technique for my music.
I’ve 12 tracks accomplished, which is sufficient for a full album of music. Again within the days earlier than social media, you’d need to launch a whole album, particularly in case you had been an indy musician.
However right this moment, it is higher to launch music in what’s known as a waterfall launch technique. The thought is you do successive releases of singles, to be able to get extra play on social media and on digital platforms.
I attempted getting Midjourney to create covers for all 12 tracks, however I wasn’t proud of a few of them. Then again, I used to be ecstatic about 4 of them, in addition to for what’s going to finally turn into the duvet of the total album itself.
So I made a decision to launch 4 EPs, three months aside, every with three songs. Every EP (prolonged play) will use one of many covers generated by Midjourney. Then in spite of everything 4 EPs and all 12 songs are launched individually, I will mix them into one LP album utilizing one other picture generated by Midjourney.
The primary of those EPs is “Home of the Head.” My immediate for Midjourney was easy. I simply typed in:
/think about home of the top
I obtained again quite a lot of outcomes:
Ultimately, I settled on this cowl (I added the textual content in Photoshop), which was compelling and mirrored lots of what I needed to showcase not solely within the track, however within the three tracks of this primary EP.
There are 4 extra photos I will be utilizing over the following 12 months, however you will have to attend and see these when they’re launched with the music.
Figuring out musical genres
Whenever you submit music to a distributor, streaming service, and even for promotion, you are alleged to know what style the tunes fall into. I had no thought. I have a tendency to love the music I like, however I’ve by no means actually paid consideration to the music style. The final music class I took was music appreciation, again in junior excessive.
However I did know the devices used to create the varied sounds I included into my compositions. I fed a listing of their names to ChatGPT Plus with the WebPilot add-on and requested this:
You’re a music A&R government. You want an album that makes use of rain sticks, flutes, cymbals, trumpets, saxophones, trombones, bass, electrical, and acoustic guitar, congas, Tibetan bowls and chimes, rawhide shakers, an autoharp, a darbuka, a panpipe, and the one string Afro-Brazilian bow known as the berimbau.
You may additionally hear all kinds of synthesizer results, a Steinway Grand Piano, and even the sounds of rain and thunder.
Record the 2 important genres and a sub-genre for every important style music with these influences might be cataloged below. Use WebPilot if wanted.
From that, I obtained again the next suggestion:
Is it excellent? Most likely not. If I actually had been an A&R government, I might be capable of match the tunes into their correct classes. However since I am no professional, the AI did give me a leg up. The songs had been accepted, and thus far, the playlist curators who’ve seemed on the songs did not really feel they had been within the incorrect genres, so I will name this one other win for the AI.
Making a music description
My subsequent problem was describing the music itself. Once more, I turned to ChatGPT. This time, I fed it the instrument record above after which requested it this:
Think about you are writing a characteristic article for a music journal concerning the album ‘Home of the Head’. Describe the distinctive sound and musical expertise the album affords, contemplating the big range of devices and the mix of electronica, worldbeat, and orchestral music.
And here is what it informed me:
Making a musician bio
In case you plan to advertise your music, you are going to want a bio. Now, because it seems, I’ve a bunch of bios. I’ve my very pompous major skilled bio, and I’ve additionally needed to create bios targeted on sure areas of my work for numerous shoppers and talking gigs through the years. However, for sure, none of them was appropriate as a musician bio.
I wasn’t completely certain the way to write a musician bio, however I knew that many artists on Spotify had them listed there. So I discovered three from artists I like listening to and captured their bios right into a textual content file. Then I created this primary of two queries:
I’m presenting you with three instance artist bios. Every particular person bio is enclosed in >>> <<<. Analyze all three bios and focus on the traits frequent throughout all of them that make them notably suited to explain musicians and artists.
I then embedded the three bios in >>><<< blocks and fed all of it to ChatGPT. That is what I obtained again:
That is extremely helpful. After, I fed it each the music description from above, together with my lengthy and pompous skilled bio. Then I requested it this:
Now, take the skilled bio and music description for David Gewirtz, and utilizing the factors and magnificence recognized within the musician bio format, write an artist’s bio for David Gewirtz.
You’ll be able to see the outcome on the Home of the Head web site, on the bio web page. Since I used AI for almost all of the graphics on my music web site, it is in all probability honest to level you there now.
We’ll be spending some extra time there subsequent.
The three sorts of AI web site help
Most musicians want an internet site for promotion. It is a spot the place all the knowledge wanted by journalists, followers, and playlist curators can go to seek out out about your music.
At this level, there are three important ways in which AI might help with web site creation. The primary is creating the precise web site’s construction and look. The second helps with the prose. The third helps with photos.
AI-based web site creation
In preparation for this mission, I checked out greater than 10 distributors that supply AI-based web site creation and I used to be very unimpressed. Most requested a number of questions after which created a web site based mostly on the solutions to the questions.
However the websites appeared very canned. I would not be stunned if distributors created 50 or so pre-built templates for the most typical web site classes after which simply generated the location from the pre-built template, calling it “AI”.
That is why I am not naming names. I anticipate that this space will see enchancment finally, however except you need one thing very primary and pretty generic, AI web site era isn’t prepared for prime time — but.
For now, I made a decision it will be simpler merely to construct my very own web site utilizing WordPress and a theme (I used Divi from Elegant Themes) and host the location on one of many servers I am already paying for. For the file, I selected Divi as a result of I’ve beforehand used it on one other web site, it is fairly good, and I’ve an already-paid license for it. There are definitely different wonderful WordPress themes and even some which are musician targeted.
AI-based advertising content material creation
Right here is the place I relied very closely on AI instruments. You noticed how I used ChatGPT to create a musician’s bio. That is one web page of the location, but it surely’s an vital web page.
AI-based picture creation
I used AI to create all the web site’s unique photos. This consists of the house web page hero picture:
I additionally used AI to create the location’s broad banner, in addition to two extra highlight photos on the bio web page. There’s so much to unpack right here, so I will break issues out into their very own sections.
The AI-ification of the Musician Dave picture
I’ve been notoriously camera-shy. That is odd for a man who seems in a few hundred YouTube movies and spent a very good a part of the 2010s splattered throughout community TV doing visitor commentary, but it surely’s true. In my youthful days, if there was a digital camera at an occasion, I went the opposite manner. As such, there are only a few photos of me as a youthful man.
Again within the day, I used to be required to take a number of publicity stills for work, and I did sit in entrance of a photographer on a number of events. It was a tough expertise for everybody concerned, and the images had been principally mediocre. I did get one good shot of me trying over sun shades with a flag behind me, however that was taken greater than a decade in the past, again once I was doing much more work as a political pundit.
Just lately, my manner of producing photos of myself has been to seize stills from my YouTube movies. This works nicely for tech-related photos, like my Fb profile image. However musicians are alleged to have much more model.
Techie David might get away with being charmingly geeky. However musician David needed to be cool.
Really, that is value a minute of great dialogue. Music imagery is each an artwork and a science. In case you have a look at the publicity photographs of most musicians, they certain do not mirror how the artists look earlier than espresso on a Saturday morning. As a substitute, they’re usually stage or studio photographs which are fastidiously crafted to mission a picture and a particular feeling.
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They’re meant to convey an impression of the artist that is not precisely tied to their day-to-day actual life. For my album and future releases, I wanted photos that weren’t reflective of the on a regular basis me. I wanted stylized photos that match the musician vibe.
Midjourney for the primary profile picture
Midjourney lets you add a picture, which the software will then incorporate into its AI era of latest photos. I began with this primary picture of me speaking right into a mic, which I have been utilizing as my social media profile picture.
You add a picture into Midjourney by clicking the plus button. As soon as the picture is uploaded, you right-click on it to get the URL, and then you definitely paste that URL after the /think about command in Discord (Midjourney lives inside Discord, as do a number of different AI instruments), adopted by no matter immediate you need.
It took lots of tries. Listed below are a bunch I dominated out.
However then I simply appended cyberpunk after the URL and I obtained this.
It was excellent. It by some means (I am certain it was random probability) picked a leather-based jacket that appears nearly precisely just like the one I have been carrying for a decade now. This picture turned the primary picture on my music web site, and my profile avatar for the varied streaming providers that require you to specify an artist picture.
Photoshop (beta) Generative fill for the banner
On the prime of every web page is a large banner. The unique Midjourney picture simply is not that broad.
However I loaded the picture into Photoshop, added extra canvas area on both facet of the unique photos, and Photoshop Generative Fill gave me a a lot wider picture.
Faceswap for the hacker picture
Since my music bio talked about my techie roots, I made a decision that it wanted an image of me with a keyboard. Slightly than beginning with the earlier radio present picture I used to generate my hero picture, I used the Midjourney URL of the particular hero picture itself. I then fed Midjourney a ton of prompts till I arrived at:
/think about typing on qwerty pc keyboard, cyberpunk, lightning, information heart –ar 9:16
The -ar units side ratio, which obtained me the tall picture.
The picture above was tremendous, besides it wasn’t my face. To repair that, I used Perception FaceSwap. I uploaded one other picture of me that confirmed my face fairly nicely:
Then, utilizing the /swapid command, I uploaded the hacker picture from above and let FaceSwap do its magic. It returned this. It is refined, however that is far more me than the earlier picture.
Midjourney, FaceSwap, and Generative Fill for the automobile picture
I needed yet one more picture on the bio web page — an image of me with my automobile. I drive a purple Dodge Challenger, which I earned the correct to drive by advantage of efficiently passing into midlife whereas managing an ongoing stream of disaster experiences.
Utilizing the identical seed picture method, I informed Midjourney this:
/think about standing in entrance of purple dodge challenger, cyberpunk
And I obtained again this:
As you possibly can see, it is probably not my face. And that hair. That was most undoubtedly not my hair.
To repair it, I first used FaceSwap to place my face on my physique. Then I saved the picture onto my desktop, opened it within the Photoshop beta, and chosen the realm with the hair. Clicking the Generative Fill button, I informed Photoshop to present me curly hair. I additionally had Photoshop Generative Fill clear up the road a bit and widen the picture to suit the online web page I needed to apply it to.
It took about 12 makes an attempt, however then I obtained this picture, which wasn’t unhealthy. All I did to tweak it was so as to add a little bit of grey, and it now far more intently represents what I appear like:
And here is how the ultimate picture got here out:
I do know I simply gave you a very quick description of the way to do a face match, which is an issue many Midjourney customers are attempting to resolve. Keep tuned. This text is simply too lengthy for an additional in-depth how-to, however I plan to supply a information on getting an ideal face match utilizing Midjourney AI and FaceSwap.
Distribution, promotion, and all the remainder
The fascinating secret concerning the music enterprise now in comparison with the Nineteen Nineties and earlier is that distribution right this moment is disintermediated on a mammoth scale. Streaming providers make it doable for impartial artists to succeed in a worldwide viewers, principally with out gatekeepers adjudicating suitability for some advertising technique or one other.
The important thing to all of this can be a class of cloud service known as “music distribution providers.” For a surprisingly nominal price (as little as $10), you may get a observe uploaded to all the main providers. I paid $49 to CD Child to distribute my EP, they usually did simply that. It is now on Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, and about 150 different streaming platforms.
Every part I’ve accomplished in getting my EP out might have been accomplished with out an AI’s assist. I’ve a ton of product advertising expertise (again within the day I used to be a product advertising director for a serious software program firm). However whereas product advertising and producing music are related trades, there may be lots of domain-specific music trade data I did not have going into this course of. Greater than that, there’s additionally the music trade jargon.
To turn into a verified artist on Spotify, for instance, it was as much as me to correctly fill out all of the kinds, join the artist account, and curate the music. I additionally went to Copyright.gov to register my copyrights on-line, and signed up with a performing rights group (PRO) so royalties on radio play might be collected. There’s nonetheless lots of product administration work to getting music out, however in case you’re keen to do the work, you may get distribution.
The subsequent step was promotion. I am utilizing a service known as Groover to introduce my tracks to playlist curators, who then resolve in the event that they need to add my music to their playlists. To date, 4 such curators have added my tracks to their playlists, which implies I will be capable of attain listeners past my circle of associates and social media followers.
As a very good researcher, I used to be in a position to decide up the procedural data essential to get the music out. However ChatGPT and Midjourney had been in a position to present the stylistic notes for the mission I would not have in any other case been in a position to reproduce.
Whereas there’s all the time some concern about AI utilization, it is clear I would not have accomplished this mission — at the very least presently — with out the assistance of the AI-generated evaluation, photos, and descriptions.
Over the following 12 months, I intend to make 4 extra “waterfall” releases (three extra EPs and the total 12-track album). I composed all of the tracks fairly a while in the past. Many of the descriptions, and all the artwork, have already been generated by the AI instruments.
And with that, the primary wave of this mission is completed. If you wish to take heed to any of those tracks, level your browser to Home of the Head and click on immediately into the music service of your selection.
So, does this mission offer you any concepts? Have you ever been desirous to distribute music and now have a greater roadmap? Let me know within the feedback under.
You’ll be able to observe my day-to-day mission updates on social media. Make sure you subscribe to my weekly replace publication on Substack, and observe me on Twitter at @DavidGewirtz, on Fb at Fb.com/DavidGewirtz, on Instagram at Instagram.com/DavidGewirtz, and on YouTube at YouTube.com/DavidGewirtzTV.
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