Meet Mixboard, Your New AI DJ Overlord

HAL 9000 wearing a pair of headphones
I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t play that.

You’re in front of a crowd. They’re going crazy over your mix. You’re in that Zen place where the music is flowing from your hands. You get ready to throw another track into the beat. You look down and see…an iPad? Damn.

Are you ready to be a cyborg DJ? If so, the Center for Music Technology at Georgia Institute of Technology has created Mixboard. Mixboard is an AI-powered DJ application that allows users to mix up to four songs simultaneously. According to DesignTaxi,

[T]he software works by segmenting songs into four components: vocals, bass, chords, and drums. Then, the AI uses information from open-source music libraries to identify a track’s tempo, keys, and music stems before breaking it up into 32 bars.

Here’s a demonstration:

Computers have democratized music production to an extent. What we call AI nowadays is something that has been around for a while. After all, when someone uses Ableton Live to jam a 140 bpm bassline into an 80 bpm song, that person is already using an AI music platform. The program is simply doing something that the producer could do, but the computer does it faster and with less effort. Hoowever, Ableton won’t help someone who won’t learn a few basic rules. Likewise, Mixboard might remove a certain skill barrier from music production, but it won’t do much for the aspiring DJ who doesn’t want to take the trouble to learn the most basic beatmatching.

While Mixboard will have some general appeal, it could also provide cheap and simple inspiration to turntable pros. A quick glance at Reverb or eBay shows that people still love the quirks and challenges of hardware, but Mixboard could prove useful as a scratch pad for DJs looking for the perfect vinyl mixes for their sets.

I’ll download Mixboard and play around with it if it’s ever available to the public. What are your thoughts?

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