Mike Shinoda Enters Music’s Future With AI-Generated Songs + Virtual Artists
Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda is already dipping his proverbial toe into the brave new world of all-virtual musical artists and songs created entirely by artificial intelligence.
He's doing so as a ground-floor investor with a startup called Authentic Artists, an AI-generated music platform also backed by big business honchos such as former Fox CEO James Murdoch and executives from Microsoft and Roblox.
The move probably won't surprise fans of Linkin Park who've been following the forward-thinking Shinoda's recent activities. After all, the rocker went all-in on the NFT craze, starting early in the digital trend as a crypto-art creator and bartering the non-fungible tokens with others.
But now he's taking it a step further in the digital domain, entering a world where a catchy song can be created by an intuitive algorithm, and the artist performing it can be incorporeal.
AI "is already writing compelling music," Shinoda tells Rolling Stone. "I'm working with a company called Authentic Artists making spectacular virtual artists where the music gets made from scratch in real-time."
The songs it outputs, the musician says, are "generated in seconds" and "already sound like something it took a human weeks or months to do."
Still, the Linkin Park member continues, "I don't think humans are gonna be driven out of music by the robots. I just think the human artists will make decisions about what sounds best to them by using software. And just like the reliance on a professional recording studio has become less important to make a great selling song, the reliance on people associated with those environments is going to become less important."
As for where AI-generated music will fit alongside other entertainment, Shinoda says he currently sees a listener "shift happening from large groups to smaller scale. We're already prioritizing a more direct and focused relationship in a fanbase, where it's more about closer connection over quantity. People are overloaded with the pressures and annoyances of the current version of social media. We're tired of it. I think we're headed deeper into tribalism."
And getting intimate with cutting-edge technology isn't new for the rocker — it's a facet he's adopted with Linkin Park since they first started.
"Every album — each time we [Linkin Park] went in to record — there was new technology that allowed us to do new things," Shinoda says. "Every time we launched a record, there were new tools. … It always felt natural for me to go deeper into technologies and get closer to founders of companies that I thought were doing cool things."