Billy Corgan warns: “AI will change music forever”

“You think there’s a lot of bad music coming out now, just wait.”

Billy Corgan of Smashing Pumpkins

Credit: Astrida Valigorsky / Getty

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Billy Corgan has shared his views on the impact of artificial intelligence has already had on music, and what else could be coming.

In a recent interview with Zach Sang, Corgan said he believes AI will “change music forever” and make it harder for organic artists like him to compete. Corgan explained that AI will enable young artists to “game the system”, explaining, “…once young artists figure out that they can use AI to game the system and write them a better song, they’re not going to spend 10,000 hours in a basement like I did.”

“Ultimately, art is about discernment,” Corgan continued, using rap artists checking out beats as an example. “Now, let’s change it to AI. ‘Hey, AI. Give me 50 beats from the 50 best rap songs of all time. Mmm, I like number 37. That inspires me.’ Are they ripping it off? Not really. Because I did the same thing. I just did it analog. I listened to 10,000 songs — so what’s the difference? So it will really be about those who can discern, even if it’s AI presenting them with choices.”

However, he also warned that that same good discernment will lead to AI producing a lot of bad music. “The problem with it is, if you’re an organic artist like I am, it’s going to be really hard to compete with a whole bunch of people who don’t know how to write songs but have good discernment, can’t sing but have Auto-Tune. You think there’s a lot of bad music coming out now, just wait.”

Corgan is not the only musician who has expressed concerns about AI and music. Sting recently said that there will be a “battle” between humans and AI for the ownership of the building blocks of music, proclaiming that humans have to defend their musical capital against AI.

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