AI songs will be tailored to the listener, but will the algorithms replace bands or performers?

AI Will Create Personalized Music Designed for Your Brain

As a professional musician for about 50 years, I had to laugh a little while reading an article about computers writing original music. It’s currently happening with mixed results in terms of quality. The article on, written by Darrel Etherington, included an interview with billionaire Vinod Khosla at a Creative Destruction Labs Super Session.

“I actually think 10 years from now, you won’t be listening to music,” is a thing venture capitalist Vinod Khosla said.

Khosla thinks we’ll be listening to custom song equivalents that are automatically designed specifically for each individual, and tailored to their brain, their listening preferences and their particular needs. It will be like music being carried around in your head that the AI thinks you need to hear at that moment, based on the emotional signals it is receiving from you.

He even points to a recent trend of mood or activity-based playlists on Spotify and channels on YouTube. In these channels, the artist, album and song name are unimportant. In addition, Spotify and other services may prefer machine-made alternatives, as it could help alleviate or eliminate the licensing costs that severely limit their ability to make margin on their primary business of serving up music to customers.

According to Etherington, people-generated chart-toppers and general mood music may go the way of the dodo. It definitely sidesteps the question of what happens to the communal aspect of music when everyone’s music-replacing auditory experience is unique to the person.

The very idea of music over say the past 100 years has been communal media. Popular songs that everyone has heard on the radio and can request from live musicians playing in bars or clubs. The draw of festivals and musical concerts are again communal. People gather to feel and hear the vibe of the music, to hear the message of the artist, and to meet other people who like that particular genre of music. And if we are having AI direct the concert in our heads, how on earth can we share it with 10 or a hundred or thousands of other folks?

Personally, I have my doubts.

Given that those music venues aren’t likely to go away, it might be more appropriate to say that these AI soundtracks will be more useful for composing movie and commercial music in the future. Whether they do away with the rest of the music out there is less certain.