That headline’s not supposed to be a cheap shot at the notion of homogenization of pop music in 2019.
And if you subscribe to Stephen Hawking’s view that the rise of AI “could be the worst thing” for humanity, and you’re worried about losing your job in the music business to a robot – then you might want to look away now.
A stress-reducing sound app called Endel has become the first-ever algorithm to sign a deal with a major label, Warner Music Group, and will be releasing 20 albums throughout the year.
As part of the distribution partnership (originally inked in January) with WMG’s Art Music division, Endel has already released the five first albums part of its Sleep series titled Clear Night, Rainy Night, Cloudy Afternoon, Cloudy Night, and Foggy Morning on Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, and Deezer.
Warner will be releasing the remaining Endel albums for modes Focus, Relax, and On-the-Go throughout the year.
“This new integration at the intersection of voice interfaces, adaptive soundscapes, and neuroscience is another key step in the expansion of our multi-device ecosystem.”
Oleg Stavitsky, Endel
Endel, described as an app that “produces personalized sounds to help you focus and relax”, uses personal inputs such as time of day, location, heart rate, weather to create custom sound frequencies to enhance a person’s mood towards sleep, relaxation and focus.
Following on from the partnership with WMG, Endel also released an Amazon Alexa skill yesterday (March 21) and is slated as the first Alexa skill app to use predictive mechanics and suggests “the best activities and according soundscapes throughout the day” based on circadian rhythms.
Endel is Techstars Music 18 company with investors including Amazon Alexa Fund, Avex Inc., Major Lazer’s Jillionaire, Plus 8 Equity Partners, Kima Ventures, Impulse Ventures, and DJ La Fleur.
Techstars Music is supported by Warner Music Group, AVEX Group, Sony, Bill Silva Entertainment, Silva Artist Management, Q Prime Management, Concord Music, RecoChoku and Royalty Exchange.
The app reached No.1 on Top Free Apps for iOS devices in Japan and just launched in November.
“This new integration at the intersection of voice interfaces, adaptive soundscapes, and neuroscience is another key step in the expansion of our multi-device ecosystem,” said Oleg Stavitsky, founder and CEO of Endel, commenting on the release of the Alexa skill.
“[Endel’s] innovative compositions provide unique listening experiences that will be introduced to a larger audience through the extensive reach of the Arts Music division’s marketing and distribution resources.”
Kevin Gore, Warner Music Group
Said Kevin Gore, President of Warner Music Group’s Arts Music Division, speaking in January: “I’ve been a fan of Endel since Techstars Music brought the company to our attention.
“Their innovative compositions provide unique listening experiences that will be introduced to a larger audience through the extensive reach of the Arts Music division’s marketing and distribution resources.
“I’m certain listeners enjoying these new albums will benefit from reduced anxiety and improved mood.”
Last year, Spotify’s AI expert in residence François Pachet told MBW that AI should be embraced and not feared by the Music Business.
Pachet, who was previously Director of the Sony Computer Science Laboratory in Paris, also said that AI “is an opportunity for everyone in the music industry, and the first people to benefit will probably be the artists”.
That same month saw the release of Hello World via Flow Records, touted as “the first multi-artist commercial album created using Artificial Intelligence”.
We’ve clearly come a long way since then, with what Endel is claiming to be the first major label deal entered into on the basis of albums created by Artificial Intelligence.
And it looks like WMG is making the most of the “opportunity” discussed by Spotify’s Pachet, while at the same time answering this question posed by Amadeus Code co-founder and CEO Taishi Fukuyama, writing in a blog post for MBW last year: “Would you buy an idea from a machine?”Music Business Worldwide