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Changing Tunes: The Role of AI in Music Creation

For nearly forty years, SXSW has been the premier festival destination for showcasing the greatest talent in music, film, tech and art. Each year, spectators, fans and industry professionals travel far-and-wide to get a glimpse at some of the many concerts, activations, panels and experiences, which all take place in the city of Austin, TX.

This year, BACARDÍ brought a truly unique experience to those who attended their Changing Tunes: The Role of AI in Music Creation panel. The panel was hosted in Austin’s Thompson Hotel on March 13th, 2024, and was moderated by Brian Hiatt, a senior writer at Rolling Stone. Joined by Hiatt, the panel featured Laila Mignoni (Global Head of Brand Marketing and Communications at BACARDÍ), Alex Booker (Executive Creative Director of BBDO NY), and Boi-1da (21x Grammy-nominated and winning producer and songwriter). These individuals, who now find themselves at the forefront of music innovation, presented a first-hand look at one of the most revolutionary projects within the world of modern music production, The Concept A.I.bum.

Boi-1da is no stranger to generating ground-breaking musical statements. In fact, Boi-1da’s track record is nothing short of legendary. To date, he has garnered 60+ platinum singles, 3 RIAA-Certified Diamond records and 3 Billboard Hot 100 #1s, producing chart-topping hits for a plethora of A-list musicians. However, superstars are not the only artists Boi-1da is committed to working with. Over the last three years, Boi-1da has collaborated alongside BACARDÍ through its Music Liberates Music program, which is an ongoing program designed to champion underrepresented voices in the music industry. “We’ve all been fans for a very long time,” Mignoni confesses, when talking about the brand’s decision to work with Boi-1da on this legacy program.

Boi-1da discussing “The Concept A.I.bum”

Yuxi Liu for BACARDÍ.

“We’ve done quite a few of these programs now, and there’s this beautiful intersection of tech meets music,” Booker says. “This one was a special moment for all of us.” Mignoni agrees, going on to explain that music is within BACARDÍ’s DNA, as the brand’s identity revolves around movement, dance and self-expression. This, in turn, creates the perfect platform to uplift and support budding talent within the music scene, through the company’s resources. In her opinion, BACARDÍ’s Music Liberates Music builds the stage for artists, taking action through active community building.

The Concept A.I.bum album consists of five incredible tracks from five up-and-coming artists, who were hand selected by Boi-1da. Among these artists were Bellah, Blackway, Floyd Fuji, Kyle Dion, and Savannah Ré, musicians all specifically known for their innovative and versatile music styles. “We had a lot of dope artists to pick from,” Boi-1da says, admitting just how impressed he was with the final product. “It came along perfectly.” Joining the SXSW crowd in the audience, the group of artists smiled and listened in while the panel hosts talked through the album’s unparalleled creation process.

Using this first-of-its-kind AI tool, developed by Tuney in partnership with BACARDÍ, artists were able to recreate and publish more polished versions of their own original demo tracks with custom generated music in the style of Boi-1da’s production. After uploading an original demo, each song was broken apart into stems using Audio Shake to separate the vocal track from the instrumental. Built on Tuney’s API, the tool then generated an original track to sit under the vocals, matching the beat, tempo, cadence, and key of the vocal track. Because the technology uses samples and real assets from the producer’s catalog, the artists were then able to go in and adjust everything from tempo, chord progression, and miscellaneous microscopic musical details to create a final product that’s both interesting and authentic to the signature Boi-1da sound. This tool shows that when done thoughtfully, and with buy-in from all parties and correct licensing for all training data, AI can be used to augment human creativity rather than compete with it.

(Left to right) Blackway, Savannah Ré, Boi-1da, Kyle Dion

Yuxi Liu for BACARDÍ.

“The purpose of the tool was to level the playing field for artists when it comes to accessing the talents of someone like 1da – showcasing their songwriting ability and giving them a new way to bring their ideas and demos to life at a much higher standard” Booker says.

Despite popular concern about AI and the potential negative implications of its place within the music industry, from Boi-1da’s perspective, both he and the musicians involved were able to maintain artistic integrity throughout the process of creating The Concept A.I.bum, due to having full autonomy over the tools they used. “You can really feel that it’s not just leaving it up to a machine to create a final output,” Boi-1da says, explaining that AI was simply used as a technological thoughtstarter that the artists could artistically tweak throughout the process. “That’s when the human element comes back into it.”


The panel spoke in-depth about how powerful the efficiency factor of this tool can be, with Booker mentioning the final tool ended up being able to spit out around 3.6 billion different iterations of a track, allowing artists to work at a rate they could “never normally work at.” Furthermore, the panel’s guests collectively agreed the tool is a perfect way for musicians to maximize their creative output, while maintaining their fast-paced rockstar lifestyles. “It’s kind of more productive than destructive to me because I’m basically just multiplying myself and maxing out my efficiency,” Boi-1da states. “I was able to work with all these amazing artists sitting right here at the same time at different places on the planet.”

‘The Concept A.I.bum’ on vinyl

Yuxi Liu for BACARDÍ.

When asked about his reason for embracing the tools created by BACARDÍ, Boi-1da says he’s always open to expanding music, and finding new ways to create through tech. “I’m a leader in music, I’m a leader in production,” Boi-1da declares. “I feel like especially at this point with music right now, there needs to be new ways of finding new sounds, new rhythms, new everything, to keep music going and keep it exciting.” 
Both the record and BACARDÍ panel proved just how exciting this new wave of emerging tech in music can be for both musicians and music nerds alike. The producer went on to explain personal tidbits about working with some of the world’s biggest artists and more throughout the hour panel at this year’s SXSW, leaving viewers both delighted and inspired by the chat. Stream The Concept A.I.bum here, or purchase it here.

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