Musicians already have a cool relationship with Silicon Valley, from Y2K-era battles with Napster to more recent fights over streaming revenue.(Opens in a new window) with Spotify. Artificial intelligence seems poised to power those issues, with tools like Google’s MusicLM jumping in to replace jam sessions with AI prompts.
MusicLM can produce music from just a few text prompts. We first heard about it in an investigative article from January.(Opens in a new window)and Google released it in beta during its I/O developer conference.
“Simply type a message like ‘soulful jazz for dinner’ and MusicLM will create two versions of the song for you,” says Google.(Opens in a new window). “You can listen to both and give a trophy to the song you like the most, which will help improve the model.”
If you want to put MusicLM’s chops to the test, you’ll have to get on a waiting list, though Google seems to be approving people pretty quickly. Here’s how to sign up and try it out.
How to register with MusicLM
To check out Google’s MusicLM, head over to the company’s AI Test Kitchen(Opens in a new window) website. Click Begin and register your interest to sign up for the waiting list. You’ll answer a few prompts, then sign in with your Google account to send.
The time it takes to be accepted into this software experiment will vary, but it took us less than a day to receive an email granting access. Once you are accepted, you can return to the website by clicking Begin again and choose Sign up.
How to create AI generated audio
Similar to how ChatGPT works, create music with MusicLM through a simple text messaging interface. The text box on the website asks “What do you want to create?” with several examples listed below. The hardest part of using the tool is narrowing down the possibilities.
You can type anything in the text field and it will spit something out. Even writing something like “Birds Singing in a Tree” will give you an exciting tune. Otherwise, click on one of the example prompts to get started. If you really don’t know where to start, I recommend describing a band or song you like, such as “Sad Daddy Rocks a Steady Rock Beat.”
If you’re a musician who uses MusicLM for inspiration, you could describe one of your songs and add new cues like “with a triangle,” “90s grunge,” or “with a happy undertone.”
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How to download your song
Once you enter a prompt, two songs will be generated. You can then click on the trophy next to the track that you think interpreted the message the best or just likes the most. Doing this will help Google train the tool’s data model for better results in the future.
Click the vertical ellipsis icon and select Discharge to save the file as an MP3 file on your computer. At the moment, there is no way to import the song to Spotify or any other software.
The limitations of MusicLM
Similar to the limitations placed on ChatGPT, Google’s MusicLM only creates 30-second clips at a time. Meanwhile, “certain queries that mention specific artists or include vocals will not be generated.” The company obviously wants to avoid a copyright situation.
Google clearly has bigger plans for this machine learning tool. For now, you can check the MusicLM GitHub page(Opens in a new window) to view sample songs, a white paper, and the model dataset.
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