MusicLM, the AI that can compose music!


A few weeks after the ChatGPT revolution, Google is striking back. The American giant has just unveiled MusicLM, an artificial intelligence capable of composing music from text! This project, which still requires some improvements, will very soon change the artists’ lives.

Impressive technology

While Google isn’t a pioneer in music-creating AI (Aiva from 2016 and OpenIA’s Jukebox are precursors), the MusicLM project is still amazing. Very thorough, the artificial intelligence developed by the American firm is able to generate music titles from just a few words.

OpenAI Jukebox, a music-creating AI since 2020.
Jukebox, an artificial intelligence created by Elon Musk’s teams, started creating melodies in 2020.

The developers behind MusicLM explain that their tool adapts to the requests that are entered. A simple description of “relaxing jazz” is enough for the artificial intelligence to create a five-minute track. But the more precise the text, the more the AI is able to compose a detailed and nuanced piece.

Music LM has generated a five minute-long track using the text “relaxing jazz”:

The AI can also produce a thirty second track using a description with several sentences. “Industrial techno sounds, repetitive, hypnotic rhythms. Strings playing a repetitive melody creates an eerie, unsettling atmosphere. The music is hypnotic and trance-like, and it is easy to get lost in the rhythm. The strings high-pitched notes pierce through the darkness, adding a layer of tension and suspense.”:

But that isn’t the most surprising thing. MusicLM can create a track from a few hummed notes! The artificial intelligence interprets the extract for several seconds in different predefined styles, such as a piano solo or a jazz piece. This example gives us a glimpse of the capabilities of this tool programmed to revolutionize the music industry.

From a recording of someone humming, here Bella Ciao, MusicLM can recreate the tune in different musical styles.

The hummed extract:

As a piano solo:

Or as a jazz track with a saxophone:

Google's MusicLM artificial intelligence can reproduce a piano solo from a clip of someone humming.
Using only a few words, the MusicLM artificial intelligence can generate tracks that last several minutes. A feat that Google wants to perfect.

MusicLM’s limits

Like a child learning to speak, the AI still has room for improvements. Although the succession of notes and chords is coherent, the vocal part still needs improvement. The different examples put online by Google are more like saturated autotune songs than Taylor Swift‘s next global hit!

Moreover, music remains a vector of emotion that appeals to the sensibilities of each individual. This is why a very precise text that refers to abstract values or historical references often results in a rough and disappointing musical extract. Instead, the MusicLM artificial intelligence excels in generating music by style, such as jazz or electronic music.

What is the future for artists?

For now, MusicLM is just a fun AI to play around with. Yet it also hints at unlimited creative potential. Fueled by more than 280,000 hours of music, Google’s artificial intelligence continues to draw on a massive library to perfect its algorithms.

Google is behind the development of the MusicLM AI.
In the early days of AI development, Google built a music library of 280,000 songs that powers MusicLM’s deep learning. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu, File).

While MusicLM technology needs some improvement, there is concern about the future of composers. Today, a large part of music composers already work with computer tools. The music industry will inevitably move towards the production of hits generated by artificial intelligence, leading to a major overhaul of the industry’s methods.

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