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July 1, 2020

In a World Without Music Festivals, Zyro’s AI Recreates Headliners at Home

Oliver Peckham

If you’re a fan of live music, 2020 has been an extraordinarily bad year for you. From Bonnaroo and Burning Man to Eurovision and Lollapalooza, music festivals around the world have been put on an indefinite pause until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control. Now, Zyro, a Lithuania-based AI startup, has taken it upon itself to offer a decidedly 21st-century alternative: an AI-driven lyrics generator tool tuned to the headliners of one of the UK’s biggest (and now canceled) music festivals.

The 2020 Glastonbury Festival – its 50th iteration – was planned for late June, with hundreds of thousands of people slated to travel to rural farmlands in the UK to enjoy headliners like Kendrick Lamar, Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Diana Ross. And, then, of course, it wasn’t: in mid-March, the festival’s organizers announced that it would be cancelled.

Enter Zyro, which decided to get creative with its AI tools – tools that are typically applied to generate content for its customers’ websites. “With the world’s biggest festivals cancelled in the wake of COVID-19, we thought we’d use our AI tech to help out the world’s music fans and allow them to play around with creating their own songs inspired by their favourite artists,” said Tomas Rasymas, head of AI at Zyro.

Zyro’s “AI Festival” consists of a set of three AI lyrics generator tools: one for Kendrick Lamar, one for Taylor Swift, and one for The Beatles (a stand-in for Paul McCartney). Zyro’s trained the tools with over 50 hours of the artists’ music and lyrics, allowing users to generate sets of lyrics imitating those artists’ styles on demand.

“AI has evolved dramatically in recent years, and this type of lyric-generation technology could very quickly become the future of music,” Rasymas said. “Groups like the Beatles are no strangers to innovative tech, with the band’s song Daddy’s Car famously being the first piece of music to be written by AI. Today, this type of technology is more advanced than ever before, reaching a level where fans can write their own songs in the style of their favourite artists.”

Not every generated “song” is a smash hit in the making (“an miVartee came into my house in my virology suite at night,” Zyro’s AI Beatles crooned to this reporter). But at least some were catchy enough for Zyro to record them with singers and tribute acts – to hear a sample, watch the YouTube video below.

“Our new platform is a bit of fun for music fans missing out this weekend,” Rasymas said, “but it’s also a powerful test of what AI is capable of. If we can teach a machine to write relatable, original song lyrics, then that opens up a whole host of new options for creative writing and content creation in future. That’s really what this experiment is all about.”

To try out the tool for yourself, click here.

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