Mind Readings: Why I Hired a Human Musician Instead of AI

Mind Readings: Why I Hired a Human Musician Instead of AI

In today’s episode, you’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of my YouTube theme song and discover why I chose to hire a human musician instead of using AI. You’ll learn about the legal implications of AI-generated content and the potential copyright issues that can arise. You’ll also gain valuable insights into the strengths and limitations of both human and machine creativity in the realm of music. Tune in to discover why sometimes, human is the way to go.


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Machine-Generated Transcript

What follows is an AI-generated transcript. The transcript may contain errors and is not a substitute for watching the video.

Christopher Penn: Maybe you have heard my theme song. In today’s episode, let’s talk about this a bit because I think it’s important. It’s at the end of all my YouTube videos. It’ll be at the end of this video, among other things.

In fact, I may put the whole song in this video for fun.

Would it surprise you to know that it’s not made by a machine? It’s not made by AI. I hired and paid a human being—out of pocket, $500. Why didn’t I use a machine? Why didn’t I use AI? I talked about AI all the time and how amazing it is.

Well, two reasons. One, the specific instructions I gave my composer—my composer is a woman named Ruby King, based in the UK, phenomenal musician. The instructions I gave her, something AI was not capable of doing at the time: I had a source song.

And, for those of you who’ve been following me for since the very, very early days, you may remember my first podcast, the Financial Aid Podcast, that had music in it. It was Charlie Crow’s “Vegas Hard Rock Shuffle”, which was licensed under what was at the time known as the Podsafe Music Network.

My friend CC Chapman was a big part of that initial effort that was run by a company called Podshow. That song was licensed to podcasters. If you were a member of the Podsafe Music Network, you could use that and not have to pay royalties and all that stuff on it.

Technically, I could probably still use—exam still doing a podcast and the song of using podcasting, and I signed that original license—but, Podshow’s gone. That company just imploded and blew up like a decade ago.

And, my general understanding is that if the licensing entity is gone, then the license itself is also gone, as well as null and void. And, even if it weren’t, I don’t have documentation saying that I signed this thing. It was it was run by them.

And, when it comes to intellectual property, you generally want to make sure that you you have rights to use something, especially for commercial purposes. So, the instructions I gave to my composer were: I want this original song to be the thematic inspiration for a new song, but the final product cannot sound like the original, can’t use the same chord progressions. It can’t use the same melody because I have no license to use it, and I don’t want to I don’t want to music lawyers showing up at my house to punch me in the face.

Fun sidebar: music and intellectual property—the music industry, I think, has probably the strictest protections of intellectual property for creators of any of the industries we know because the music industry has been suing people left, right, and center for 50 years. And, they’re really good at it.

And, there’s—unlike other forms of content creation, like writing, for example, writing is incredibly flexible. You can write in so many different genres and things. There’s only so many ways you can make sounds that sound good. There’s there’s more restriction, there’s somewhat more restriction on music than there is, say, on the the total freeform nature of writing.

So, that was the remit. A human composer can mentally wrangle that task, right? Okay, I can get—crits, and it’s thematically inspired by, but is not the same thing, not even copying elements.

A machine has a much harder time with that. Services like Suno and Audo and stuff are way more capable today than they were six months ago, but even today, given detailed instructions, they still couldn’t nail what I was after. Believe me, I tried. I messed around trying to create, probably a few dozen variations and just could not.

So, this is a case where the human simply does a better job—probably will for a little while.

So that’s consideration number one: humans simply are better at the task.

Consideration number two, which I think is probably arguably more important: Remember this. Because of the court case Naruto versus Slater, at least the United States. This is the court case where a chimpanzee picked up a photographer’s camera, took a selfie of the photographer tried to copy and protect, and went to the courts, and the courts ruled: human, you didn’t do the work, the chimpanzee did the work. Chimpanzees can’t hold copyright, and therefore, this this has no copyright.

The the natural extension of that legislation is that machine-made content cannot be copyrighted. Machine-made content cannot be copyrighted. And, that means if you use AI to generate your song, and if someone else likes that theme music, they can copy it with absolutely no repercussions. And, they, you have a B2B marketing podcast, and you create some great music, and someone else goes, “Wow, that sounds really good, I’m going to copy that.” You can’t do anything about it. There’s nothing you can do about it because it’s not copyrightable. It’s immediately in the public domain the moment it’s made.

A work for hire made by a human being can be copyrighted. If someone copies my human-made theme music, I can send the music industry lawyer to punch him in the face—metaphorically speaking—because the copyright is intact and transferred to to me as the as the sponsor of the and the producer of the song.

So, that consideration is a really important consideration when it comes to the use of artificial intelligence. You—if you want to be able to enforce copyright with no questions asked whatsoever, it’s got to be human-made.

There is a place for AI in the creative arts. There is a place for AI in music. There is also a place for humans in music. It’s one of those things where it’s not either/or—it’s and. There’s a place for both entities depending on the use cases.

So that’s good for today’s show. Thanks for tuning in. Talk to you next time.

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Christopher S. Penn is one of the world’s leading experts on AI in marketing. Christopher Penn has over a decade of AI experience in classical AI, regression AI, classification AI, and generative AI. Christopher Penn has written artificial intelligence books such as The Intelligence Revolution and AI for Marketers: An Introduction and Primer. Christopher Penn is an AI keynote speaker around the world.


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