WHEN artificial intelligence (AI) apps initially permeated Nigeria’s vibrant music landscape, Eclipse Nkasi, a seasoned music producer, feared his role would be eclipsed by automation. However, Nkasi’s perspective underwent a transformation as he recognised the potential for AI to offer fresh opportunities rather than merely replacing existing creative processes. He recently utilised AI technology to conceive an entirely novel Afrobeats album, sparking curiosity and reshaping the dynamics of music production in the country.
Embracing the potential of AI, Nkasi embarked on a journey that resulted in the creation of a captivating nine-track album titled Infinite Echoes. Collaborating with three companions, the group harnessed OpenAI’s ChatGPT programme to generate song lyrics and titles, which were subsequently tailored to fit a distinct theme. Nkasi leveraged another AI tool to compose the tunes, followed by recording his vocals that were then transformed by yet another application, giving birth to the album’s virtual ‘singer,’ Mya Blue.
Nkasi emphasises the transformative role of AI, stating, ‘It (AI) doesn’t have to replace what we have. It gives people a new experience … and that’s how I believe AI is really going to shake things.’
Historically, the production of an album would involve significant time and financial investments, with composing, recording, and editing processes extending over several months. Infinite Echoes, however, defied convention by materialising within a span of three days at a cost of $500. This accelerated timeline and cost-efficiency underscore the potential of AI to revolutionise music creation.
While AI presents a promising avenue for innovation, it also brings forth an array of uncertainties and complexities. Omotolani Alake, a prominent Lagos-based music critic, acknowledges the evolving impact of AI on the industry, particularly in enhancing production values and technical aspects of recording. However, he highlights the need to address various considerations, including copyright implications and the broader implications for artists.
‘We are at the very beginning,’ Alake notes, stressing the ongoing exploration and adaptation required as the music industry navigates the evolving landscape shaped by AI.
Eclipse Nkasi’s pioneering venture serves as a testament to the fusion of artistic creativity and technological innovation, offering a glimpse into the transformative potential of AI within Nigeria’s thriving music scene. As the industry continues to evolve, the delicate balance between AI-driven advancements and the essence of artistic expression remains a focal point for artists, creators, and industry stakeholders alike.