“Sampling led to hip-hop… AI music has the potential to do something similar”, says Holly Herndon

AI tech will be integrated into DAWs within ten years, says Herndon, and it could have the same impact that sampling had on hip-hop.

Holly Herndon

Credit: Boris Camaca

Electronic producer, singer and AI advocate Holly Herndon has drawn a comparison between AI music and sampling, saying that AI music could impact music in the same way sampling did hip-hop.

Herndon made the statement during a recent interview with Mixmag, as part of a feature entitled The rise of AI music: a force for good or a new low for artistic creativity?. The feature explores the advantages and disadvantages of using AI technology to create music.

“Sampling old records to create something new led to the formation of genres like hip hop and innovative new forms of artistic expression.” She says. “AI music has the potential to do something very similar.”

She goes on to discuss the inevitability of AI technology in music, saying “AI music is no longer this sci-fi concept, it’s our new reality.”

It’s “here to stay”, she continues, referring to the fact AI is set to be integrated into every major DAW in the next decade. herndon sees the potential for music to become more strange and innovative with AI, while producing formulaic music will become easier – something also stated recently by Bombay Bicycle Club’s Jamie McColl.

“There’s an opportunity to open up an ethical dialogue between the present and the past,” she continues. “Rather than try to fight it, we now need to build an infrastructure around AI music so that it will make ethical sense for everyone.”

In July 2021, Holly Herndon created Holly+, a browser-based AI deepfake that transforms any audio file into her voice. In 2022, she created an eerie cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene using this tool, alongside an animated music video.

James Blake is another artist who has recently praised the use of AI in music. In a podcast with Zane Lowe, he said “There’s going to be people who will make music in ways they weren’t previously able to”, after explaining the concept of Synplant, an AI-powered synth that lets you turn any audio into a synth sound.

Read the latest developments from the intersection of AI and music technology at MusicTech.com.


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