On Tuesday, an Australian team — Uncanny Valley — won the AI song contest organised by Dutch broadcaster VPRO in cooperation with radio stations NPO 3FM and NPO Innovation. The track created by AI was named Beautiful the World, which was trained using historical audio samples of koalas, kookaburras, and Tasmanian devils. Besides, it also had an Austrian flavour — the song had a social message that was inspired by the vast forest fires that struck the country last year.
The collective points of the international audience and AI experts was used to grade and award the winner. While the international audiences choose Beautiful the World, the AI panel experts — Vincent Koops, Anna Huang, and Ed Newton-Rex — gave full points to the German team Dadabots x Portrait XO. However, with 19.8 points to the Beautiful the World, it overpowered the I’ll Marry You, Punk Come by 0.4 points to win the contest.
Unlike other AI music, this was not completely AI-generated. Only some elements of the songs were used to write melody and lyrics. Human intervention was vital to generate the songs that were easy on the ears. Case in point, the team that came last left the entire control to the AI for the track. “Faced with the choice between making an accessible song with quite a few human interventions or experimenting with as much AI as possible and then delivering a worse-sounding song, we chose the latter,” said the data scientist of the team that came last.
Nevertheless, AI played a significant role in the song that won the contents. The one takes away from this contest is that AI can become a partner but not the lead in song generation. AI brings a unique dimension to the songs but cannot be expected to make complete songs yet.