Musimap at Wallifornia MusicTech

/ Liège, Belgium - July 05 2018 /

Thomas Lidy, Head of AI at Musimap, has joined Greg Pryor (Partner – Digital Media at Reed Smith LLP), Scott Cohen (Founder of The Orchard) and Matthias Robine (Founder and Product Manager at Simbals) on a panel at Belgian event Wallifornia Music Tech in Liège this July 5th. This panel, entitled “When the next big thing is a link? Like or Die!”, was an good time to approach topics such as the necessity of AI in music and how to build a good AI.

Here is a foretaste of the conversation. To watch the panel in full, click on the link down below.

How good can AI be ?

Thomas Lidy : “Good or bad Ai, I think, depends on how good the data is. So you can have good data and bad data, and you need to be very careful on what to do here. That’s why we keep this aspect of the human. Checking what data to feed the AI, caring that it doesn’t end up in a bad AI. “

On the absolute necessity of AI in recommendation :

Scott Cohen : « Humans can’t recommend music very well anymore. On Spotify, there are 20 000 new tracks every day. [Does it mean that ] We know the taste of 100M people individually ? What human can do that ? Only a machine can scan all the music, all the user profiles and try to recommend something.»

Thomas Lidy : « Musimap started by categorizing 1.6 millions tracks but it took 15 years. Now there are 70M tracks out there, it’s gonna be impossible. So that’s why we’re building this AI to scale it up and make it possible to tag music in its completeness. »

How do you narrow the choice of the user ?

Greg Pryor : «With the old recommendation engines, if you taught the machine that you like a particular type of music, it’s always gonna push you that particular type of music and you end up in an echo chamber. I was with a senior person at a well-know video service the other day. And I’ve said « hey, i’ve noticed that you have much more of this type of content on your service. And he said “well, no, it’s not that. What you’ve noticed is that the recommendation engine is pushing that to you. » So that’s not the fault of the AI, it’s the fault of the data points and the model which has been created atound that AI. »

Scott Cohen, following on Greg Pryor :
« In many ways, what you’re describing is bad AI. It needs to know you as a person so it delivers what you might want. But really, it needs to deliver you things that you didn’t know you wanted, and it needs to deliver things that you didn’t want because it’s necessary. It’s like going to school. There is a lot of sh* you don’t want to do, but you need to learn this and sometimes in the music industry, you might not want hear the new Drake, but do you wanna be in touch or not ? So it’s delivered to you. »

Matthias Robine : « Human imput is very important for the learning stage of the machine. At Simbals, we fingerprint the music, 60M tracks, so we know in real time when it’s on the air, on radio, on TV, chosen for playlist, and we can tag every track with human editorial choice. This editorial part is due to musicologists who humanize the process. »

Do you really thing that AI is helping the music industry to grow ?

Scott Cohen : « AI is not just useful, it’s necessary. The first few years of Spotify, it was just a search thing. You don’t know what you’re supposed to do. So AI is not perfect but it’s gonna get better [...]. It’s not like we’re rewinding and say that humans [are going to be ] recommending stuff and we’re gonna be listening on cassettes, that ain’t happening. It’s digital and machines are gonna tell us what we should listen to. »

Thomas Lidy : « With smart assistants and smart homes, we’re transitioning into a world where we’re living with computers. They’re going to bring us the music we want in the moment we want it and without even having to tell the smart assistant what song we want. It should bring it automatically. In this transitioning world, AI is needed and it will have numerous positive opportunities to increase music consumption and bring the whole music industry forward. »

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