Between "ghostwriters" and non-human sounds: Music professions and AI technologies

This PhD project aims to investigate the implications of artificial intelligence (AI) in Norwegian music professions.

In recent years, scholars have discussed the ethical impacts of artificial intelligence in several professions, including artistic ones. While some claim that AI will contribute to a future surge of artistic inspirations, others express concerns over the social, ethical, and economic implications if AI-generated musical content is equated with traditional music production and work.

Whether or not AI technologies live up to the claims made about them, they are no longer just playing out in the background of the music industry; they are also entering stages, studios, and musical institutions. 

Drawing from an STS framework on music, mediation theory, and ethnomusicology, this project aims to examine the ways in which AI technologies not only impact the ethical, economic, and social aspects of musical professions but also transform the way we do music. Musical professions in the twenty-first century largely depend on technology, and their practices have evolved in tandem with technological innovations throughout modern history.

However, as highlighted by some scholars on music and technology, musical professions and practices have undergone numerous digitalization processes in recent decades. In this context, musicians have increasingly become mutually dependent consumers of technology.

A crucial goal of this research project, therefore, is to shed light on the extended history of the digitalization of music professions and to question whether AI in music represents a historical continuation or disruption of these preceding transformations in the field.

Supervisor: Associate professor Lars E. F. Johannessen.


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