Mashups made easy: AI powers new remix app
Ever wanted to throw together Cardi B, Michael Jackson, and Jay-Z to create the perfect party starter? Now you can, thanks to researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology’s Center for Music Technology, who’ve developed an app that makes a mashup of your favorite songs – no DJing experience required.
While the researchers have had the vision for their app, called Mixboard, for years, they’ve just been waiting for technology to catch up. And now it has.
Mixboard is a tablet application that lets users create the mashups of their dreams, even if they don’t have musical or sound-editing experience. It’s simply a matter of dragging and dropping up to four songs from Spotify or Mixboard’s music library into the app and letting AI do the rest.
“I think everyone can become creative with music,” said Gil Weinberg, director of Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology. “Maybe not everyone knows all the theory that is required to compose a piece of music on a note level, but almost all people like music. If we give them a very easy way to put songs in different places, they can create something unique.”
The songs are dropped into particular segments – vocals, bass, chords, and drums – and AI uses open-source music information retrieval libraries to determine the song’s tempo, keys, and music stems, breaking down the song into its component parts for up to 32 bars. What’s more, the algorithm can match the tempo of songs or change their key.
To help users create a great track, Mixboard includes templates of basic song structures.
“The more we focus on developing AI for creative purposes, the more it can be inspiring and seen as a unique input humans couldn’t provide,” Weinberg said. “Together, with your own creativity and the AI creative input, the mashup can be something unique and new that you wouldn’t create only by yourself.”
The researchers will continue to refine the app’s automation and improve iOS functionality with a view to commercializing it. One limitation, at present, is licensing constraints.
“Music rights holders should see apps like Mixboard as marketing opportunities, not licensing plays,” Weinberg said. “Getting people to have an increased affinity for music, or specifically your type of music, is what forward-thinking music marketing is all about.”
At the end of the day, Mixboard is about allowing people to explore their musical creativity.
“Listening to the generated mashups getting better and better with each modification to our algorithm was amazing,” said Nitin Hugar, one of the researchers involved in the project. “It was also fun to try and mash up the most improbably songs: an Indian song with African beats and some jazz chords was definitely not what I had thought would sound good together, but I was proven wrong many times. This project made me appreciate how music from different regions of the world are interconnected.”
Sadly, the app is not yet available to download.
Watch the below video, produced by Georgia Tech, to see Mixboard in action.
Source: Georgia Institute of Technology