Columbia Business School

The Future of Music: A Collaboration Between Humans and AI

Presented by Columbia Business School

Drew Silverstein co-founder and CEO of amper music an AI Music company

When Drew Silverstein ’16 started his composing career, it didn’t take long to recognize a growing need among potential clients: video editors, producers, and directors who didn’t have the time or budget to hire composers but still wanted professional-level music. So Silverstein and his partners created Amper Music, an artificial-intelligence composer, performer, and producer that allows anyone to create original music with just a few clicks—even if they can’t play a single note.

Creative Spark

After getting my college degree in composing from Vanderbilt, I worked with composer Christopher Lennertz at Sonic Fuel Studios in California. There, I met the composers who would become Amper’s co-founders. We saw how technology was democratizing the ability to create music. At the same time, we worked with video editors, producers, and directors who relied on what’s known as functional music—music created without a specific purpose in mind, similar to stock photography—because they couldn’t afford or wait for original music. Writing music is a time- and relationship-heavy process, and thus an expensive one. You really need to understand what emotions your client wants to evoke, then translate them into music.

Hitting New Notes

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We asked producers and directors, “If we can build artificial intelligence that gives you the collaborative experience of working with a composer within the time and economic framework of using functional music, would you want it?” Overwhelmingly, the answer was yes. We put our heads together and came up with a novel philosophical and techno-logical approach to a decades-old problem: how to teach computers to write commercially viable music. In using Amper, users select a mood, style, and length. They can also “spot” the video and customize their music with editing tools, so that their composition is created and broadcast-ready in seconds. Amper is integrated with Adobe’s Creative Cloud as well.

The Key to Success

As we grew more confident in Amper, we realized not only that it would provide producers and directors with an end-to-end music solution but also that Amper could function as a collaborative AI tool to help artists be more creative, productive, and efficient—in essence, to allow musicians to work with a personal music assistant.

Sounds of Tomorrow

Our goal is to help empower creativity—to help anyone, regardless of ability, express their creativity through music.


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About the Author

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