This can’t simply be magicked away! Unison’s Midi Wizard 2.0 has AI generated chord progressions – so is this dumbing down music or just the latest advance in technology?

When house music first emerged during the 1980s, there were plenty of questions by inquisitive journalists – and one of those was what they were using to make this stuff. After all, no one had heard anything like this before – and in those days, the equipment being used was as much of a mystery as everything else.

It wasn’t long before the world learnt of the existence of samplers – the E-mu SP-1200 was popularised by the hip-hop world, although others were available. And whilst many embraced the possibilities that samplers had created for musicians, there were a fair few dissenting voices who said it was a licence of rip off the copyrighted work of others.

Another criticism was that it was somehow dumbing down the amount of skill required to make music – and the same is likely to arise again now. MIDI packs, with readily prepared chord progressions which can be dragged and dropped into productions, have been around for many years already.

But now you can skip even that – with software that uses AI to create chord progressions and sometimes even entire records. So when the Ears To The House team came across the Unison Midi Wizard 2.0 this week, our reaction wasn’t quite as doom-laden as in some quarters online.

So what is it? Well, it’s a plug-in that works with almost every DAW under the sun, and the advertising blurb claims to “help producers make hit melodies in 32 genres” – ranging from genres as diverse as house, country music, classical, and techno. It also has around 200 synth presets bundled with it, in case you haven’t got enough already.

Inevitably, we can quickly hear the complaints from seasoned musicians getting irate about the fact that no musical skill is going to be required to use this software – whilst conveniently forgetting that people have these things called ears. And in a way, they’re right – but this really is the equivalent of a ship’s captain complaining about the sea.

The advance of AI in the music business isn’t going to stop – and its use is already far more extensive than most producers will admit. Now, can we just admit now that AI is a useful tool in the artillery – just like samplers became – and be done with it? It’ll save a lot of time on pointless arguments…

Ears To The House Team

The team account for Ears To The House.

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