Similar to other creative arts like television and film, music is at a very early stage of incorporating AI / machine learning-created content. Current AI / ML applications have been primarily limited to streaming services, where companies like Spotify will, among other techniques, use AI / ML to analyze actual song content to find related music. One of the primary barriers to entry for companies looking to create content through AI / ML is that such content may lack the appropriate “star power” (ie, brand) to ensure widespread adoption: mainstream artists will likely not be the ones to source material from AI / ML, nor can AI / ML-composed music stand on its own outside of a few select genres.
However, when looked at as a collaborative tool, AI / ML composition could provide a royalty-free source of creative input for artists, yielding new music in a crowded marketplace. Moreover, certain genres will be very conducive to AI / ML-created material, such as electronic dance music (EDM). Lastly, AI / ML-sourced music can decrease costs in music applications where a brand is of little or no importance, namely movie soundtracks and advertising music.
Amper Music is a cloud-based, supervised AI / ML music creation tool that allows musicians and composers to develop music through a variety of inputs. More specifically, musicians define the objective function that the creation tool will solve for by specifying parameters like mood, style, instrumentation, tempo, and song length. The software will produce content through AI / ML, at which point artists can modify the AI / ML generated content to produce unique, royalty-free content. Amper can also be accessed through existing Adobe software as a downloadable panel, further reducing artists’ switching costs.
The global music industry is clearly a large market, totaling nearly $50B in revenue in 2017 and projected to grow to almost $60B by 2022. Amper has successfully navigated several stages of VC funding and, as of March 2018, has a valuation of $30M, so investors see a promising product. It is clear that there is a market for the type of music Amper is generating. Developing new music to accompany a project in the traditional manner, or even licensing it, is a more costly option than that which Amper offers. The process of generating music for a project with Amper is very simple and easily customized to suit the content while still very low cost.
The primary threat to Amper is the relatively low financial barrier to entry. If the market were large enough to garner major interest from the business world, then financial barriers to entry would be non-prohibitive. That said, there is an unknown amount of time required to refine the ML algorithms suitable for content creation, which may contribute to a higher barrier to entry. Many researchers and even other companies have experimented with this type of music generation to varying degrees of success. In fact, a company called Jukedeck tried this very business model several years earlier and has made little progress. One clear advantage that Amper has is a point of entry into a creative marketplace. Amper has a developed a “panel,” which Adobe Premier users can download to easily incorporate Amper into their projects.
While AI / ML-created content has nearly universal applicability within the music industry in terms of output genre, in the early stages it may prove more beneficial for Amper to specialize in a given application or genre, even if it makes its software available to other applications. Amper could specialize in genres like EDM, where artists are the most likely to adopt Amper Music’s tool as a creative partner, which would allow Amper to further refine its creative algorithms and gain traction with notable EDM artists. At that point, Amper could use the success from this venture as a launch point for new genres. While simultaneously building credibility within the music industry through EDM, Amper should also prioritize artist-agnostic applications like advertising in order to provide reliable sources of revenue. Once sufficiently established within the music industry, Amper could round out its offerings as a complete music collaboration tool by partnering with Narrative Science or another natural language processor to develop lyrical content to pair with the audio.
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