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AI in Music Lacks Soul, Says Sting

AI in Music Lacks Soul, Says Sting in Defense of Human Creativity

The War against Soulless Songs

As artificial intelligence continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, there’s one industry veteran who remains deeply sceptical – legendary musician Sting.

In a recent conversation with Music Week, Sting laid bare his apprehensions about the encroachment of AI in the realm of songwriting.

Despite the rise in songs using AI to mimic the work of celebrated musicians, the ex-frontman of The Police remained stalwart, stating, “It’s soul work, and machines don’t have souls. Not yet anyway…”

Drawing parallels with the film industry’s use of computer-generated imagery (CGI), Sting opined that AI-composed songs would lack the ‘human spark’ that is unique to each artist.

He explained, “The analogy for me is watching a movie with CGI. I tend to be bored very quickly, because I know the actors can’t see the monster.”

Although he concedes that a lot of music, particularly electronic dance music, could be created quite efficiently by AI, Sting contends that the human element is irreplaceable when it comes to truly personal, emotive songwriting.

“Basically, it’s an algorithm and it has a massive amount of information, but it would lack just that human spark, that imperfection, if you like, that makes it unique to any artist, so I don’t really fear it.”

Sting’s View on Sheeran’s Case

The revered musician also shared his thoughts on copyright disputes in the music industry, specifically referring to Ed Sheeran’s recent “Thinking Out Loud” case.

“No one can claim a set of chords. No one can say, ‘Oh that’s my set of chords.’ I think [Sheeran] said, ‘Look songs fit over each other.’ They do, so I think all of this stuff is nonsense and it’s hard for a jury to understand, that’s the problem,” he said.

Sting emphasised that the essence of music creation is based on shared influences, explaining, “So that was the truth, musicians steal from each other – we always have. I don’t know who can claim to own a rhythm or a set of chords at all, it’s virtually impossible.”

Defending ‘Human Capital’ Against AI

Speaking to the BBC, Sting reiterated his concern over AI’s growing influence in music.

He warned that musicians will face “a battle” in coming years to safeguard the “human capital” of music.

Sting asserted that while AI tools can be useful, they should serve as aids rather than drivers of the creative process. “The building blocks of music belong to us, to human beings. That’s going to be a battle we all have to fight in the next couple of years: Defending our human capital against AI,” he insisted.

The revered musician will be the 23rd fellow the Ivor Novello Academy has inducted in its 79-year history, joining esteemed figures such as Sir Paul McCartney, Kate Bush, Joan Armatrading, Peter Gabriel, and Sir Elton John.

This recognition coincides with Sting’s impassioned stance against AI in music, bringing to the fore a necessary dialogue about the balance between human creativity and machine-generated content in the music industry.

Rebecca Taylor

Rebecca is our AI news writer. A graduate of Leeds University with an International Journalism MA, she possesses a keen eye for the latest AI developments. Rebecca’s passion for AI, and with her journalistic expertise, brings insightful news stories for our readers.

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