Earlier this year, Spotify announced the hire of Francois Pachet, a foremost expert on AI composed music. The announcement was doled out in a low key press release that went relatively unnoticed while labels and artists continued to jockey for priority in Spotify’s coveted playlists. Pachet made his bones as the Director of Sony’s Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, developing “flow machine” technology that analyzes large databases of music spanning a variety of genres. Once analyzed, the technology can compose its own music without human assistance.
On Monday, Pachet announced the “birth” of Flow Records on Twitter explaining the new initiative was “a label created to produce music composed with AI!”
Pachet was hired by Spotify in July, whose technology is clearly of interest to the company prepping for an IPO in 2018. AI composed music is no longer a possibility, it’s a reality.
Pachet has even established the first AI “artist” to the label with collaborator Benoit Carre called SKYGGE. Of the collaboration and forthcoming album Pachet explains:
Flow Records goes onto to give us more background on the origins of SKYGGE:
It’s no secret Spotify has a general disdain for labels and distributors. Recently announced programs like “RISE” make it clear that Spotify would like to establish relationships with artists directly versus interfacing with labels stuck largely in the past. Spotify is playing the long game, positioning itself to work with acts like The Weeknd and Drake once they’re out of their label deals. Working with Spotify directly would give marquee acts the ability to operate independently, keep more of their recording revenue in exchange for guaranteed playlist positions. As playlists continue to be the only vehicle that matters for the modern day artist, Spotify’s value proposition will only become stronger.
In addition, it’s said that Spotify pays up to 70% of its revenues to labels and distributors, making integrating AI composed music (owned entirely by Spotify) in its playlists a very real possibility. While the technology may not be able to capture the magic of a Max Martin or Cirkuit produced pop mega-smash , it’s easy to imagine a world where users won’t be able to distinguish between music created by AI or music created by a human being. If Spotify can successfully integrate music composed by AI into its platform and playlists, it will be able to create its own hits, no longer rely on labels for content, and become immensely profitable.
Have labels created the monster that will eventually eat them?
I’ll let you decide.
Austin Staubus is the Managing Director of ItsNoRequests, which helps artists, labels, and managers leverage highly engaged independent playlists on Spotify. For inquiries, comments, or questions contact Austin at firstname.lastname@example.org