Queen’s Brian May says use of AI in music is “massively scary”
The guitarist was speaking as part of an interview with Guitar Player when he revealed his concerns about the extent to which the use of AI could change the music industry for the worse.
“My major concern with it now is in the artistic area,” he began when asked about his thoughts on the advancement of AI platforms. “I think by this time next year the landscape will be completely different. We won’t know which way is up. We won’t know what’s been created by AI and what’s been created by humans.”
“Everything is going to get very blurred and very confusing, and I think we might look back on 2023 as the last year when humans really dominated the music scene,” he added. “I really think it could be that serious, and that doesn’t fill me with joy. It makes me feel apprehensive, and I’m preparing to feel sad about this.”
May said that while he is less than optimistic about the use of artificial intelligence in the creative fields, he is supportive of its use in problem-solving – provided it isn’t used to “cause evil”.
“The potential for AI to cause evil is, obviously, incredibly huge — not just in music, because nobody dies in music – but people can die if AI gets involved in politics and world domination for various nations,” he explained.
“I think the whole thing is massively scary. It’s much more far-reaching than anybody realised — well, certainly [more] than I realised.”
May is far from the first musician to openly share his reluctance to accept AI as a means of making music.
Earlier this year, John Lydon described the method as “very dangerous” as it has the potential to “ultimately make decisions for you”, while Ed Sheeran described it as “weird” and likened it to the Hollywood films where the use of AI will eventually “kill us all”.
Nick Cave also labelled ChatGPT and AI songwriting “a grotesque mockery of what it is to be human”, while Sting said AI “doesn’t impress” him and that songwriters will have to defend “our human capital against AI”.
Smashing Pumpkins‘ Billy Corgan, however, was more supportive of the prospect and said “AI will change music forever” since others can “game the system” and “not going to spend 10,000 hours in a basement”.
Another music figure supportive of the concept was Grimes, who recently gave her fans permission to use her voice to make their own music with AI platforms – provided they share the royalties with her.
In other Brian May news, last week the musician shared his stance on the recent Freddie Mercury auction – describing it as “too sad” to think about.
Held by Sotheby’s auction house, around 1,400 Mercury’s possessions were sold off to the highest bidder, including the frontman’s jewellery, handwritten lyrics and the piano used to write ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
May has also been working on an upcoming BBC documentary, shedding light on the “blood bath” badger cull taking place in the UK.