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Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant backs up AI

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Talking with Radio Times magazine, Neil Tennant shared his view on AI. Pet Shop Boys’ vocalist and songwriter suggested that artificial intelligence can be considered a tool that helps musicians to overcome writer’s block. The musician believes that the technology is beneficial and says that the results of AI creating songs in the style of particular artists are impressive. Thus, Tennant recalls being amazed when the PSB manager’s daughter played him a track generated by a chatbot followed by her request to hear something similar to Pet Shop Boys.

Needless to say, Neil Tennant’s opinion differs from the prevailing view on AI as a potential threat to the music industry. “What makes a great song great is not its close resemblance to a recognizable work, it is an act of self-murder that destroys all one has strived to produce in the past”, he elaborates.

Despite being enthusiastic about AI, Tennant hasn’t been happy with recent technological moves. Earlier this year, the musician told MOJO that the intruding activity of Google is similar to a “paranoid thriller, without the thrilling bit”. Probably, Tennant thinks that AI lacks that “all-seeing eye” of the notoriously omniscient technology company.

Giving an example from his career, the songwriter says that the collaboration with AI could be indeed a prolific one: “There’s a song that we wrote a chorus for in 2003 and we never finished because I couldn’t think of anything for the verses,” he said. “But now with AI you could give it the bits you’ve written, press the button and have it fill in the blanks. You might then rewrite it, but it could nonetheless be a tool.”

Author

  • Irina Shtreis

    Irina Shtreis is a music writer, researcher and musician. Her byline has appeared in British publications such as MOJO magazine, The Quietus and Louder Than War. Irina has been a news editor of the latter since 2020.

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