Jukedeck uses artificial intelligence to create royalty free music – but will it ever compose a symphony?

In what could be a dangerous development for working composers, a team of composers, producers, engineers, academics and machine learning experts have been developing machine learning technology that can compose and adapt music.

“We’re building a system that uses its knowledge of how to write music,” Ed Newton-Rex, CEO of Jukedeck, told the BBC, “which it’s learnt using a technique called machine learning, it uses that knowledge to kind of on-demand write new music from scratch.”

JukeDeck CEO Ed Newton-Rex

“At it’s core is this machine learning system that’s built on what are known as deep neural networks,” he said. “And these are systems that essentially learn from data.”

But how does the technology work? “You feed in loads of music and it learns kind of the probabilities of what notes should come after what other notes,” explains Newton-Rex.

ICON – Irene of Thessaloniki by Finnish filmmaker Joonas Nieminen, which uses music created by JukeDeck

And the technology is already very popular. “What we’ve been using it for now is providing YouTubers, generally amateur video creators – where people are using it to create royalty-free music for their videos,” says Newton-Rex.

Since the site launched in 2015 it has been used to make nearly one million tracks, with makers of short films and even brands like Coca Cola have used Jukedeck for their music. “This is actually a field that’s been investigated for 50 years,” said Newton-Rex. “And what’s kind of recently come along is this idea of using deep networks, deep learning, to make this music particularly good.”