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ChatGPT, but for music: Google’s new AI System, MusicLM

Google has developed an AI system called MusicLM that can generate music in any genre based on a text description, but due to potential legal issues, the company has no plans to release it


Google has created an AI system, called MusicLM, that can generate music of any genre from a text description. It’s not the first AI music generator, but it’s the first to produce complex and high-fidelity music. Trained on 280,000 hours of music, MusicLM has the capability to generate musical narratives, and audio for specific genres and instruments, and even to build on existing melodies. Its creators have warned of the potential ethical challenges posed by such a system, including the risk of misappropriation of creative content and the possibility of violating music copyright.

Despite some limitations, such as distorted quality in some samples and less-than-desirable vocals, the capabilities of MusicLM are impressive. It can be instructed by pictures and captions, generate audio for specific instruments, and even the AI musician’s level of expertise can be set. The Google researchers found that during an experiment, about 1% of the generated music was directly replicated from the training data, leading them to reconsider the release of MusicLM.

Legal issues are sure to arise if a system like MusicLM is released to the public. The potential of AI music generators to infringe on music copyright has been widely debated. A whitepaper by Eric Sunray argues that they violate the reproduction right of the United States Copyright Act. The release of OpenAI’s Jukebox has sparked similar debates and concerns have been raised around the use of copyrighted training data in AI systems.

From a user’s perspective, the music generated by an AI system is considered a derivative work, meaning only the original elements would be protected by copyright. The future of AI music generation and its potential impact on the music industry is still unclear, but one thing is for sure, it will not be without challenges and controversies.

MusicLM is undoubtedly a groundbreaking AI system that has the potential to revolutionize the music industry. However, its creators, Google, have acknowledged the risks and ethical challenges posed by such a system, including potential misappropriation of creative content and the violation of music copyright. The future of AI music generation and its impact on the industry is still uncertain, but the challenges and controversies it brings are inevitable.


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