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AI-generating music app Riffusion turns viral success into $4M in funding

AI-generating music app Riffusion turns viral success into $4M in funding

2023-10-17 09:13:57

Practically a yr in the past, builders Seth Forsgren and Hayk Martiros launched a passion challenge known as Riffusion that might generate music utilizing not audio however photos of audio. It sounds counterintuitive (no pun meant), but it surely labored — my colleague Devin Coldewey bought the rundown here.

Whereas their strategy had its limitations, Riffusion netted Forsgren and Martiros numerous consideration — not precisely shocking given the curiosity (and controversy) surrounding AI-generated music tech. Thousands and thousands of individuals tried Riffusion, in line with Forsgren, and the platform was cited in analysis papers printed out of Huge Tech firms together with Meta, Google and TikTok mum or dad ByteDance.

A few of the consideration got here from traders as properly, it appears.

This yr, Forsgren and Martiros determined to commercialize Riffusion, which is now being suggested by the musical duo The Chainsmokers and has closed a $4 million seed spherical led by Greycroft with participation from South Park Commons and Sky9.

Riffusion can be launching a brand new, free-to-use app — an improved model of final yr’s Riffusion — that permits customers to explain lyrics and a musical model to generate “riffs” that may be shared publicly or with associates.

“[The new Riffusion] empowers anybody to create unique music by way of brief, shareable audio clips,” Forsgren advised TechCrunch in an e-mail interview. “Customers merely describe the lyrics and a musical model, and our mannequin generates riffs full with singing and customized art work in a couple of seconds. From inspiring musicians, to wishing your mother ‘good morning!,’ riffs are a brand new type of expression and communication that dramatically cut back the barrier to music creation.”


Picture Credit: Riffusion

Matiros and Forsgren met at Princeton whereas in undergrad, and have spent the final decade taking part in music collectively in an novice band. Forsgren beforehand based two venture-backed tech firms, Hardline and Yodel, whereas Matiros joined drone startup Skydio as one in every of its first staff.

Forsgren says that he and Matiros had been impressed to scale Riffusion by the potential they see in generative AI instruments to attach folks via creativity.

“The pandemic gave us all much more time at residence — and led me to be taught to play the piano,” Forsgren mentioned. “Music has an incredible energy to attach us in instances of isolation. Generative AI is a brand new and quickly altering area, and Riffusion goals to harness this expertise to ship a enjoyable new instrument — one which empowers everybody to actively create music all through their lives.”

The upgraded Riffusion is powered by an audio mannequin that the Riffusion workforce — which is six folks robust, together with Forsgren and Matiros — skilled from scratch. Just like the mannequin behind the unique Riffusion, the brand new mannequin’s fine-tuned on spectrograms, or visible representations of audio that present the amplitude of various frequencies over time.

Forsgren and Martiros made spectrograms of music and tagged the ensuing photos with the related phrases, like “blues guitar,” “jazz piano” and so forth. Feeding the mannequin this assortment “taught” it what sure sounds “seem like” and the way it may re-create or mix them given a textual content immediate (e.g. “lo-fi beat for the vacations,” “mambo however from Kenya,” “a folksy blues music from the Mississippi Delta,” and so on.).

“Customers describe musical qualities via pure language and even recording their very own voice, as a way of prompting the mannequin to generate distinctive outputs,” Forsgren defined. “We expect the product will empower music producers and audio engineers to discover new concepts and get inspiration in a completely new means.”

Right here’s a pattern made utilizing Riffusion’s capability to file a voice with the immediate “punk rock anthem, male vocals, energetic guitar and drums”:

However what, you may ask, concerning the potential for copyright infringement?

More and more, homemade tracks that use generative AI to conjure acquainted sounds that may be handed off as genuine, or no less than shut sufficient, have been going viral. Simply final month, a Discord neighborhood devoted to generative audio released a whole album utilizing an AI-generated copy of Travis Scott’s voice — attracting the wrath of the label representing him.

Music labels have been fast to flag AI-generated tracks to streaming companions like Spotify and SoundCloud, citing mental property considerations — they usually’ve generally been victorious. However there’s nonetheless an absence of readability on whether or not “deepfake” music violates the copyright of artists, labels and different rights holders.

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Forsgren was fast to notice that the brand new and improved Riffusion wasn’t skilled to acknowledge well-known artist names or songs — and, he says, can’t replicate them.

“The product isn’t constructed to supply deepfakes and doesn’t acknowledge well-known artist names in its prompts,” he mentioned. “As a substitute, it lets customers craft private messages and catchy hooks utilizing the app. It’s not unusual to have a riff you create get caught in your head and end up singing alongside to all of it day.”


Picture Credit: Riffusion

There’s no clear monetization technique — but. For now, Forsgren and Martiros say that they’re specializing in rising Riffusion’s workforce and creating complementary new generative AI merchandise.

However Forsgren additionally hinted at working extra intently with artists like The Chainsmokers to see how the tech could possibly be used of their inventive processes.

“It’s very early days for generative music. Fashions equivalent to Google’s MusicLM, Fb’s MusicGen, and Stability’s Steady Audio are thrilling instruments within the area,” Forsgren mentioned. “However Riffusion stands out as one of many first to allow customers to generate lyrics of their music by way of a enjoyable and accessible web site.”

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