"But what about meeee!" Rant post from a musician

I’m probably being incredibly unfair and stupid by posting this but I’m madly frustrated. I saw the Suno segment wes did and I was blown away. Listening to Wes being so happy about being able to create music, I’m so glad he got to experience that. That feeling has until now been limited to people lucky enough to be born with genes that allowed them to compose. And now of course a number of musicians are upset going “What about meee!” and wants to shut it down and it drives me up the wall even more than the artists did because these are people I usually identify with. Hell, we likely share more genes than we do with random people so we’re kind of family in that sense.

I started playing melodies on the piano when I was 2 years old. The violin at 8 without instruction, I was literally alone in my mom’s bedroom. All I has was the striped lines showing where I should put my fingers. It took me 5 minutes then I was playing twinkle twinkle and several other (albeit simple) melodies. Three of my grandparents played, I was just lucky. I’ve learned a ton of instruments since then, I recently learned how to play the oboe in a little over an hour, I don’t have the lip strength for it or access to an instrument to go deeper with it. I can play more instruments than I can count (because where do you draw the line), I’m a musician in my soul through and through. I can compose music in my mind and hear it like it’s actually playing. I want others to be able to do something similar. I want the world to have more music. If this lets people who aren’t gifted create their own music then that’s a blessing. Why should we be the only ones allowed to do that, because we were born genetically lucky? “Fuck you I’ve got mine?”

The percent of musicians that are able to live on their music is ridiculously small. Miniscule. It definitely doesn’t weigh up for the other 7 billion people on the planet having access to this. As an analogy, the US recently talked about banning TikTok unless the chinese government lost control over it. It’a a fantastic way for China to influence the political mindset of 400 million americans right before an election. But what about the 1000 americans who make their living off of it? That was one of the main counter arguments. It’s a more extreme example but you get the picture. It’s a question of scale. Do you really think you deserve to keep this from the rest of the world? It’s maddening.

Another example. NYT wants OpenAI to delete ChatGPT as stated in their lawsuit. ChatGPT could individually tutor every child on the planet with infinite patience. Can you imagine how profound that is? But no, let’s delete it because these 1700 journalists are mad. Jesus, are you listening to yourselves. You can still make music. You can still paint and write. It might not make you money but if that’s the only reason you do it then maybe you’re doing it for the wrong reason. I get that you have bills to pay but you won’t be the first one losing a job because the economy is changing

I’m a psychology master student now, one year away from being able to work as a therapist. My job will most likely be replaced by AI in 5 years. At least I hope it will. Not because I don’t love the field but because countless of millions need access to mental healthcare and they can’t get it. Do I care more about my economical stability than the suffering of those millions of people? No, no I do not. I do know that the economy is going to be a nightmare for millions as well. It’s definitely not all sunshine and rainbows, it’s going to get real ugly before it gets better but we need to get through this and trying to put the lid back on isn’t the way. It’s not going to work. So are you going to whine about it because you think you matter more than the rest of the planet put together or are you going to find new ways of being creative in these changing times? Are you going to be part of the problem or the solution?

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I agree with most of this, although I have to admit my motivation to learn art or music (whether non-AI digital or older school), even if not for the purpose of making money, would be considerably reduced if I was a kid growing up today. You can still do it, but it would be a lot less satisfying to develop those hard-earned skills if you aren’t going to be able to make music or art that is going to impress anyone, since it is so easy for anyone to do now. So I can relate, at least a bit, to people who think that, no, you can’t “still make music” like you used to be able to.

I go way back in making images – photography, industrial design rendering on paper (my degree), and CG modeling and rendering way back in the early days of 3d graphics. Today I feel 100 times as creative using AI tools like DALL-E. (although I wish I had more control… being able to start as a “sketch” and then tweak it into shape would be wonderful) But if I was really, really good at drawing using conventional techniques, and still did it a lot, I’d be pissed off. Not pissed off as in “stop making technology!!” but just pissed off at the circumstances.

Still, it’s pretty damn fun to easily create images that — if similar images had existed when I was a kid, I’d have stared at them for hours. (as I did with, for instance, album cover art, books of Escher or Dali or graphic novels and such)

I’m excited about the music side too, but hope that we soon have tools that go beyond just giving it a few lines of text… again, I’d like more control. Like have it produce it as MIDI so I can change the instruments around, etc.

I had a musical family but didn’t pick it up so easily. You mention twinkle twinkle little star at 2 years old, and “striped lines showing where I should put my fingers” – this is how my 2 year old learned to play it. (using software I made) Piano teachers, almost all of them traditionalists and anti-tech, think such things are cheating. Maybe they’ll open their minds a bit now, since at least it isn’t AI. :slight_smile:

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