Apple recently acquired AI Music, a startup that creates soundtracks by using artificial intelligence to piece together sounds from royalty-free music. The purchase of the London-based company was reportedly completed in recent weeks, according to unnamed sources speaking with Bloomberg.
The startup’s website has been taken down but a cached version shows how AI Music and its “Infinite Music Engine” change and adapt music for publishers, marketers, fitness pros, and other professions. The tech could even adapt music “to your heartbeat.” On its LinkedIn page, AI Music says its goal is to “give consumers the power to choose the music they want, seamlessly edited to fit their needs, or create dynamic solutions that adapt to fit their audiences.”
In a 2017 interview, AI Music’s CEO Siavash Mahdavi told Music Ally that the startup is “shape-changing” music to shift the way songs are consumed rather than generating music from scratch. One method would be to increase the tempo of a song when someone is running or to slow it down when they are walking. In more advanced applications, the AI could take an existing song, transform it, then let you swipe left or right to hear a different version. This presumably means you could take a song from a genre you don’t listen to and use AI to make it fit your preferences.
“It’s that idea of contextual AI. Maybe you listen to a song and in the morning it might be a little bit more of an acoustic version,” said Mahdavi. “Maybe that same song when you play it as you’re about to go to the gym, it’s a deep-house or drum’n’bass version. And in the evening it’s a bit more jazzy. The song can actually shift itself. The entire genre can change, or the key it’s played in.”
Apple declined to comment on the acquisition so we don’t know how much the tech giant paid for the startup or how it plans to use the technology within its own services. We can only speculate at this point, but it seems like the AI could make its way to Apple Music in some form or another. Of course, using AI to essentially make remixes of existing songs (if that’s the direction Apple takes) would raise all sorts of legal questions regarding copyright.
Alternatively, Apple could use this song-altering AI to create soundtracks for Apple TV+ shows, workout music for Apple Fitness+, or background tracks in marketing material (AI Music wrote that its AI could be used for “audio advertising that matches listener context”).
Apple has quietly made moves to bolster its music streaming service, having purchased classic music service Primephonic in August of last year. These, as Bloomberg notes, are two of only a handful of acquisitions Apple has made in the past 12 months.