If you’re a musician, the news that TikTok is working on a new feature called AI Son might make your blood run cold. However, the good news is that, at the moment, the tracks it’s creating are more amusing than they are impressive.
AI Song is partly powered by Bloom, a large language model that uses machine learning to generate text. Choose a text prompt and AI Song will then automatically generate a lyric and set it to music.
That’s a pretty impressive technical feat, but before you get too excited/scared, take a listen to this effort from TikTok user Kristi Leilani, who’s one of those who’s been able to access AI Song during its testing phase.
Weirdly, the vocal is so out-of-tune that it almost sounds like it’s been intentionally generated that way. Perhaps TikTok doesn’t want AI Song to sound too good at this stage, or maybe that’s the best it can do.
Also, it turns out that ‘AI Song’ is actually a bit of a misnomer’: “It’s not technically an AI song generator - the name is likely to change and it is currently in testing at the moment,” TikTok spokesperson Barney Hooper said in an email to The Verge. “Any music used is from a pre-saved catalog created within the business. In essence, it pairs the lyrics with the pre-saved music, based on three genres: pop, hip-hop, and EDM.”
It sounds like there’s still plenty of work to be done, then - an explainer makes clear that AI Song is still very much an “experimental feature”, and it seems like more of a novelty than a serious production tool. Whether we’ll still be saying the same in a couple of years remains to be seen.
That said, there are already plenty of better AI tools for musicians already out there, and it's already able to replicate pretty much any artist's voice.
Check out this video from Jonah Manzano to see how AI Song currently works. It’s not yet clear when the feature will be rolled out to the wider TikTok community.