For some artists there may be an "essentials" playlist or something, which helps, but that already requires a certain level of popularity. If there's nothing like that and no albums, I need to open a single, pick one track to play (because four remixes of the same song one after another isn't my idea of a good time), then the same thing for the next single, etc. Usually I just give up and go find something with less clicking.
Artists pay to promote their posts on Social media, so only the rich or well funded rise to the top.
Artists remix the same tracks over and over because they know doing the same track over and over means they can hopefully capitalize on profits already made rather than creating anything new, which takes more time and costs more.
Albums used to be high on filler, I think most people forget how only 2/16 songs made it to radio, while 10 of those tracks were often skipped, while you paid for all of them. now if you buy a single, you're only paying for what's good, even though $1-$2 is still quite high for a single music track if you ask me...
Music artists have always been hosed by the industry, good music is always suppressed by gatekeepers that want to influence what everyone gets to hear, but that one little band you like can greatly benefit, and will likely live longer together, by you telling people about them... Stop relying on other people to tell you what's good and let's let the listeners dictate what the charts say...
The content of the article is an interview with a single artist, who just released an album.
It reeks of promotional material - and The Verge doesn’t have a great track record of being an expert on anything.
Also, she talks about how artists stop focussing on albums (it's no longer single -> single -> album -> promo tour), and just release new music all the time (single -> single -> single -> ...)
(Or vice versa, that they became shorter because the algorithm preferred that.)
We're already at a point where the producers (who compose the songs and usually even create the audio using computer software) spend a lot of time analyzing the metrics they get from Spotify et al. They look for stats on how many seconds someone listens to a track before skipping to the next one, do they turn the volume up or down, which songs are paired to the same playlists, etc etc.
When reading interviews of musicians, they frequently bring this up and usually not in a positive light. You can also hear the results if you're exposed to modern pop music - when there's a hit single, there will be quite a few copycats that will shamelessly borrow the elements of the hit. This is not a new thing but the degree to which it's occuring is.
Now what's good at looking at metrics, doing tiny adjustments and gradient descending towards some local optimum and cheaper than hiring a musician? A machine learning algorithm of course.
While it's not common yet, there have been some fairly impressive demonstrations I've heard. Computer-generated music notation is easy to generate (read: number of bits in the output is rather low) and has been experimented with for a long time.
But this can go even a step further, rather than producing sheet music, an algorithm can generate the audio directly. As in the PCM audio waveforms (or maybe spectrograms, frequency domain might be easier for algorithms). I recall hearing AI-generated classical music audio (found through HN) which sounded fairly convincing to me (albeit with a white-ish noise on the background).
If you're a professional pop music producer, make the most out of your career while you can. You're closer to being replaced by robots than you think.
I'm not suggesting that human musicians will go away any time soon, I'm sure people will enjoy playing instruments with their own hands in the future. But the kind of producers that create music with a computer mimicking popular songs and tracking analytics from listeners will be, if not replaced, at least heavily assisted by algorithms more and more in the near future.
Music, as painting, drawing, sculpting, writing, stays a mean for people to express themselves, to share their feelings & thoughts.
But it's also a mean to grab attention and manipulate it, too.
> I'm not suggesting that human musicians will go away any time soon
It already happened. Since records exist. See the quantity of shows where there's only a voice performer alone on the stage or on the street, with pre-recorded music.
Not that it is a bad thing - it is a _different one_ that does not remove anything, only adds. Where the purpose is not to perform, but to grab attention with less logistics.
Live musicians are still a (great) thing, but it's definitely not the same thing.
> But this can go even a step further, rather than producing sheet music, an algorithm can generate the audio directly.
Even if this is a cool idea, I don't think it ever will be deployed large scale. Good quality beats/samples and increasingly even software instruments are becoming cheap. Working with raw audio seem like the wrong abstraction layer for music, almost like working with pixels instead of characters to synthesise text. While limiting - working with raw audio can possibly create completely new sounds - it will probably always be cheaper and yield better results to work with some representation of the music instead.
I do kinda agree with you, but I wish I could find the classical music audio clip I mentioned. It was generating a fairly convincing clip of audio complete with an orchestral backing and a piano solo track. Maybe that would change your mind a little.
Unlike text which is discrete characters, music is a continuum of pitch, tone and other characteristics.
Maybe it won't be generating the music, but adjusting the tone instead. There's quite a lot of effort in mixing and mastering music, which sounds like good territory for ML.
To return to your text analogy - it's more like generating convincing images of hand-written text. You might generate the discrete characters one by one, and then proceed to turn that into pixels with another algorithm.
You can find a bunch of video on YouTube where Eno explains the whole process and how it works.
The biggest issue right now is that gameifying streaming is leading to similar issues (Chris Brown's 5 disc album being an extreme example) but Kanye West's series of 20 minutes albums points towards another direction that could be a much better fit for the modern musician (making an album that's so concise that it results in the listener playing the whole thing over and over instead of just adding their favourite song to a playlist.
I think Bandana by Freddie Gibbs & Madlib is a great example of a full and coherent album I've loved this year. Lots of indie rockers, metal, jazz and experimental EDM musicians are still making great full albums
- JPEGMAFIA "All My Heroes Are Cornballs"
- IDK "Is He Real?"
- Earthgang "Mirrorland"
- Lewis Capaldi "Divinely Uninspired to a Hellish Extent"
- slowthai "Nothing Great About Britain"
- Dave "PSYCHODRAMA"
- Benny the Butcher "The Plugs I Met"
- Cate le Bon "Reward"
- Denzel Curry "ZUU"
- Flume "Hi This Is Flume"
- Gesaffelstein "Hyperion"
- Kota the Friend "FOTO"
and there are several upcoming releases I'm quite hyped for.
Those days are over, and it's a new modern world. As always :)
In all situations you want the best piece of art, it's not entirely clear to me that a million hand-painted legos is superior to an artist's canvas painting. Sure, it's a lot easier to grab all the blue legos and have 30 hours of deep house, but it's very difficult to end up with starry night, with bits of euphoric light trance and depressing shadow dub melded together into your blue canvas, unless you go back to your 1980s flirting skills and spend 20 hours making a thoughtful mixtape.
Not really. Just look through stuff from the 1970's.
Edit: This expands past these two bands, I'm giving two small examples in a large field that I listen to. I think artists are leaning toward either singles that get tons of airplay or albums that get listen time drawn out because the album is cohesive. Its two different styles of listening,and both are being catered. You can have a one off single that one group of people love, and another group that can't listen to that single outside of the album. Streaming services have done a good job at allowing this to happen.
The intros and skits would never fit into streaming properly, especially with the ranking algorithms. Nothing worse than getting some random intro skit come up on a recommended playlist!
Spotify should run some detection algorithms on songs to not recommend the intros/skits, or the uploader can explicitly mark them for exclusion, which would help boost their singles and not push unhelpful songs
I'm a big fan of artists releasing each song as it's made, with each having cover art and maybe a backup song. They . can still package them up in a full album for charting and full album sales.
Free human curation of stuff that goes well on playlists.
OTOH, Taylor Swift also just released a new album. So there's definitely still albums being made in the "top 50" as well.
...songs are becoming shorter, and artists are front-loading all the catchy bits to keep a song’s skip rate as low as possible
As music consumers become more single-oriented and running an attention deficit, everthing is getting hook fronted in the first 30 seconds of the song to keep people from skipping. Now, that might be interesting for a while if it makes artists experiment with verse-chorus-verse pop song structure but I'll bet the long term effect will be a race to the bottom in terms of lack of complexity and a lot of pop music is going to sound samey very fast.
The text at 2:32 says “90% of singles get to the ’hook’ within 30 seconds”. Then: “98% of #1 hits are less than 3:30 long” and “does this sound like a formula to you?”
Which reminds a bit of http://www.astrodigital.org/space/stshorse.html as well.
TL;DR - the legend that the width of the shuttle SRBs is derived from a design decision about cart width that goes back to the Romans.
But it's actually a bit more complicated than that...
> Plus, she says, streaming means listeners get to pick who’s worth hearing. “It’s not a bunch of white males at radio stations and record labels deciding what the general public should listen to.”
I expect (somewhat) that song length may also morph, if it hasn't already. There's no need to be concerned about how much time fits on physical media. There are just attention spans.