Can K-pop’s AI experiment prove successful?

AI experiment, K-pop, pay off

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the K-pop industry is a topic that is currently dividing fans. Several popular K-pop groups, including Seventeen, have recently started incorporating AI technology into their music videos and songwriting process. While some fans are open to this new development, others express concerns about the impact it may have on the authenticity and connection between artists and their audiences.

Seventeen, one of the most successful K-pop acts in history, recently released their album and single titled “Maestro,” which features an AI-generated scene in the music video. During the album launch, Woozi, a member of the band, admitted to experimenting with AI during the songwriting process. He explained that the goal was to embrace technology and use it as a tool for artistic development rather than rejecting it. While some fans support this innovative approach, others believe that more regulations should be in place to ensure the technology is used responsibly.

Ashley Peralta, a super fan and co-host of the K-pop fan podcast “Spill the Soju,” has mixed feelings about AI in the industry. She acknowledges that AI can be helpful in overcoming creative blocks for artists, but she worries that a whole album of AI-generated lyrics may disconnect fans from their favorite musicians. Peralta emphasizes that fans appreciate it when music reflects the artist’s thoughts and emotions, and AI has the potential to take away that crucial component that fosters an emotional connection between fans and artists.

Chelsea Toledo, Peralta’s co-host on the podcast, admires Seventeen for being a self-producing group, where members actively participate in the songwriting and choreography process. She shares a concern that an album filled with AI-generated lyrics might compromise the authenticity of the group’s music and potentially alienate the fans who appreciate their involvement in the creative process.

However, it’s important to note that for those working in K-pop production, the integration of new technologies like AI is not surprising. Chris Nairn, a producer, composer, and songwriter who has written songs for K-pop artists, explains that the Korean music industry values innovation and staying ahead of the curve. He believes that the use of AI in lyric writing is a way for K-pop artists to keep up with technology while offering new experiences to their fans.

Nairn, who has experimented with AI lyric generators himself, also raises the point that AI-generated lyrics may not be strong enough for top-tier artists. He argues that the artists who excel in the songwriting game are those who innovate and create something unique. While AI can produce good quality content based on existing data, it lacks the ability to innovate and create truly original work. Consequently, Nairn predicts that AI in K-pop will actually increase the demand for more personal and heartfelt songs, as fans will recognize the difference between AI-generated content and lyrics that come from the artist’s heart.

Seventeen is not the only K-pop group experimenting with AI. Girl group Aespa, featuring both AI and human members, has also incorporated AI technology into their music video for the song “Supernova.” This decision has triggered mixed reactions from fans, with some expressing disappointment that the AI-generated scenes take away from the charm of K-pop’s renowned production and editing.

Arpita Adhya, a music journalist and self-proclaimed K-pop superfan, believes that the use of AI in the industry reflects the pressure on artists to constantly create new content. K-pop groups typically release albums every six to eight months, compared to the two-year album cycle of most recording artists. As a result, the demand for fresh material is high, leading to the normalization of AI in K-pop. Adhya points out that this trend is not unique to K-pop, as AI covers and mimicry of other artists’ voices have become popular on platforms like YouTube. The lack of regulations surrounding AI in the music industry puts the burden on fans to determine what is acceptable and what crosses the line.

In fact, this issue of AI in music has gained attention beyond the realm of K-pop. In a recent open letter, global superstars including Billie Eilish and Nicki Minaj called for the responsible use of AI in the music industry. They urged tech companies to pledge not to develop AI music-generation tools that undermine artists’ creativity and deny fair compensation for their work.

Arpita emphasizes the importance of establishing clear guidelines to govern the use of AI in music. She believes that K-pop artists are sensitive to public opinion and fans’ concerns, and hopes that they will take those factors into account when making decisions. Ultimately, maintaining the connection between artists and fans is crucial in the K-pop industry, and AI should be a tool that enhances creativity rather than replacing the human touch.

In conclusion, the use of AI in the K-pop industry is a topic that is generating mixed reactions among fans. While some fans are open to the integration of AI into music videos and songwriting, others worry about the impact it may have on the authenticity and emotional connection between artists and their audience. K-pop artists, such as Seventeen and Aespa, have experimented with AI to stay ahead of technology trends and offer unique experiences. However, concerns about regulation, artistic authenticity, and the emotional connection between artists and fans remain. The debate surrounding AI in K-pop highlights the need for clear guidelines and responsible use of technology to ensure that it serves as a tool for artistic development rather than a replacement for human creativity.

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