Google Assistant's New Sample-Spotting AI Causes Issues for Producers

Google Assistant's New Sample-Spotting AI Causes Issues for Producers

Published Fri, March 17, 2023 at 2:00 PM EDT

Whether directly, through interpolations or digital samples, the musical element of Hip-Hop has always depended on the usage of already existing material.

The source of that material has always been held to the highest levels of secrecy whether it was DJs soaking the labels off of their records or producers chopping samples to an unrecognizable degree. Google's Assistant's new song recognition AI technology threatens to reveal the source of digital samples, even when they are one second long, causing ethical, legal, and creative hurdles for sample-based producers and artists.

Tracklib recently revealed that previously unknown samples on Daft Punk's Discovery album and classic Mobb Deep and Madlib songs were found for the very first time using Google Assistant.

"The technology breaks entirely new ground with a method only discovered recently," Tracklib revealed. "Google Assistant can even detect samples less than one second long, and is usually able to detect samples that have been chopped or time stretched."

Many first generation Hip-Hop DJ's were originally opposed to break beat compilations in the mid 1980's because they revealed the source of previously unknown breaks.

Song recognition software is not new in itself. Shazam uses a similar "audio fingerprinting" technology, but Google's use of deep neural networks makes their song recognition technology much more advanced.

"With Shazam, we usually had to try and match the tempo and structure near-perfectly to get a result," sample spotter DJ Pasta explained. "We usually go against using Shazam anyway. Because, for some reason, Shazam likes to suggest random EDM tracks from the 2010s. Not very helpful when you're looking for a jazz record."

AI technology is also employed in YouTube's Content ID and Serato's on-the-fly recent stem isolation app.

The isolating tools included in Serato Stems allow the user to separate vocal, melody, bass and drums from any track on the fly, with superior sound quality. DJ Jazzy Jeff calls the advancement "other level." "There have been certain groundbreaking things that have changed in the art of DJing; the invention of Serato, not having to carry records, the invention of Phase, not having to worry about vibration in a live setting,” Jeff said, according to Music Radar. “I think Serato Stems will be bigger than all of them from a creative standpoint. This is about to be the most fun I've ever had DJing. I'm telling you, my brain is on fire.

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