Is 2024 the year audio AI gets its ChatGPT moment?

From sonic branding to brand x artist partnerships

2023 placed AI firmly on the agenda for brands, and in the psyche of consumers. But not much thought or attention was given over to the evolving realm of audio AI. And yet, it’s an area that’s progressing at speed — and not just for musicians. From adaptive sonic branding to new territories for artist and brand partnerships, audio AI is set to become more accessible than ever, going far beyond the confines of professional musicianship to empower consumers and give brands new ways to connect with their audiences. 

Here are just five of the reasons why audio AI is set to get its moment in the limelight in the year ahead:

1. Adaptive sonic branding

Sonic Branding had a huge 2023, with a growing number of the world’s largest brands including MasterCard and Sony investing in the power of sound to craft their identity and connect with their customers. For 2024, a deeper integration of AI sophistication in sonic branding strategies can be expected. AI algorithms are expected to evolve further, refining their analysis of brand personas and consumer preferences. An example is Veritonic’s platform, which utilises AI to analyse consumer responses to sonic elements, guiding the creation of a brand’s signature sound to help them connect with their audience on a deeper level.

2. Nuanced audio-visual sync

Music composition for TVC and visual advertising is a nuanced science, ensuring that the right mood, tone and brand are conveyed, and the sonic narrative develops in perfect sync to the visuals. Some are starting to use AI to assist in the process, with brands such as Loudly already offering text-prompt generative music where users can describe in words a video and generate a musical match.

It’s worth noting here the inherent subjectivity in the words used and the resulting output. Hence, in 2024 expect to see refinement in AI’s adaptability and contextual understanding. We could see tools that map video content frame by frame, identifying key visual and emotional triggers — for instance, during emotionally charged scenes the AI could adapt the generative music’s tempo, tonality, or instrumentation to amplify emotional impact and strike a chord with audiences.

3. New territory for artist + brand partnerships

In late 2023, Sony Music — in partnership with The Orb, David Gilmour, and Vermillio — introduced an AI-powered project, where fans could remix tracks and cover art from the album Metallic Spheres In Colour, using AI-generated tools.

The collaboration between major recording artists and AI platforms represents an innovative partnership, and 2024 is tipped to create even more new opportunities between artists and brands that incorporate AI for fan and user participation and reach. We could see a rise of Audio AI in more diverse activations, particularly from brands with already-existing artist partnerships and endorsements — the sky’s the limit. 

4. Immersive music performances

2023 saw a growing presence of artists leveraging VR to connect with fans in new ways through companies such as WaveXR. The year started strong with the Calvin Harris Experience. In 2024, AI-augmented elements could create a totally new concert experience. Could we see AI leveraging the audience’s emotional cues and interactions to seamlessly alter visuals and live music in real time? Or perhaps put music fans in the DJ-booth to steer ship on the music direction through real-time generative setlists?

5. The commoditisation of background ‘AI Muzak’

Generative music for short-form videos, advertising, podcasts and social media has been a hot market over the past few months, with an exposition of tools such as Beatoven delivering high quality, quick and royalty-free music. This is a low-barrier music generation option, with opinions such as genre and mood customisation meaning unique tracks can be made quickly and simply by any user, regardless of musical knowledge. This form of background music has seen such a prolific emergence (thanks to AI generative tools in 2023) that it even has its own alias: ‘AI Muzak.’

In 2024, it’s not out of the question to imagine the need for short-form background music to be the first commoditised by AI generative models, with brands finding the sweet spot between having something custom-made, yet instantly available at a touch of a button. In the evolving realm of audio AI, 2024 stands at a transformative juncture. The debate around the ethics and efficacy of generative AI may have overshadowed audio AI, and its ability to enhance engagement and creative expression… up until now. Soon, brands and consumers will have an arsenal of new tools at their fingertips, and these advancements transcend mere entertainment. They become catalysts of connectivity, redefining the interplay between art and audience.

One thing’s for sure — AI will remain top of the agenda in 2024.

Featured image: Bryan Catota / Pexels

Dani Valkova, Head of Audio at UNIT9

Dani is Head of Audio with UNIT9. With over 10 years experience, Dani has lead Audio across award-winning projects in digital, AR, VR, Animation, Experiential, and emerging tech. Dani’s vision fuses the latest in sonic technology to innovative user journeys, and pushes the boundaries of how sound transforms our experience.

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