This is a guest post by Rory Kenny, CEO and co-founder of AI-powered music creation platform Loudly, who we have previously featured in a Startup Profile. Loudly’s platform allows AI music to be quickly generated and iterated – and Rory explains below how this kind of AI-generated music could be helpful to creators of musical NFTs…
NFTs are still booming – especially for the likes of visual artists, opening up a new launchpad, with revenue streams which are no longer dependent on agents, contracts and galleries. The control is now firmly with the creators, who are finally able to chart a more independent future for themselves, both in their creativity and monetisation options.
Yet at the same time, many creators are struggling to integrate soundtrack music into their audio-visual NFTs. Everyone appreciates the incredible value that music brings to the visual form: adding texture, emotion and cultural elements that can only elevate the inherent visual artistry.
However, since music rights have historically been unrelated to visual art, the NFT boom has suddenly mashed up these two worlds – creating unlikely bedfellows without a clear rights framework to benefit all parties.
Understandably, it would be very challenging for NFT artists to hunt down the rights to particular music they want to use in their work, and have the bandwidth to comprehend the complicated rights associated with them.
To date, creators would have to collaborate with labels and artists to secure the rights for any music they use.
However, this is costly, complicated, and often comes with controls on usage which would encumber the spirit of NFTs: which is to empower artists to create new works that attract a new category of buyers across the NFT landscape.
Another option would be to work directly with a musician to create an original soundtrack for the NFT – however this engenders complex issues around rights, ownership and revenue splits. Who ‘owns’ the rights, who receives the income, and in what contract is this clearly defined? This can create a very complex and murky relationship between the parties involved in producing an NFT audio-visual collaboration, if it’s not a 50/50 split from the outset.
NFT creators who want to use music in their visual work therefore need music solutions that protect their independence, their creativity, and that allows them to earn revenues – without the headache of rights infringement or a payment infrastructure associated with the recurring sales pattern of NFTs and collectibles art.
We’ve experimented by partnering with NFT artists that use Loudly’s AI powered music engine. They can select options on how they want their tracks to sound – including genre, mood, length and even the original sounds that feed into them – which generates a track based on these inputs. Users can then quickly produce tracks and then export and edit the final mp3/WAV version of the stems to further control the final soundtrack integration.
The music generated is royalty-free, thereby removing all future complications in terms of revenue splits, accounting and payouts. The rights granted by Loudly to the NFT artist are essentially the rights to integrate the music into an audio-visual format – allowing the NFT artist to maintain 100% ownership of the final audio-visual format, and NFT sales.
Recently we partnered with four visual artists to use its platform on their latest NFTs to get a sense of how it can aid creativity and reduce time, expense and stress when selecting music.
One of those NFT artists is Schirin Negahbani, a Berlin based German-Persian digital artist & fashion designer who loves to tell stories through her creations. Schirin’s used Loudly’s AI engine to generate a gentle ambient soundtrack called ‘it depends’.
Schrin said: “I chose it for this piece as I loved the flute sounds and the emotions it evoked, and made some individual adjustments to fit the sound to the animation. Working with AI was an inspiration to my creation process itself, as I sometimes found myself being influenced by the music made by the AI technology.”
Gabriel Massan, a Brazilian digital artist living in Berlin, also used Loudly as part of his work, to “add to the atmosphere of my piece.” Gabriel’s artwork sold within eight hours of being listed. You can also see work that uses music created using Loudly AI’s by Harriet Davey and Tabitha Swanson.