Bigger than ChatGPT, In its Own Way

My Sunday essay was about Generative Synthetic Media. If you don’t know what that is, have a quick look at the post, then go play around (pun intended) with some examples you’ll find in this Google Research paper: MusicLM: Generating Music From Text.

MusicLM is a model that generates high-fidelity music from text descriptions like “a calming violin melody backed by a distorted guitar riff.” It’s mind-blowing – and it isn’t even a commercial product yet.

As many of you know, I’ve been composing and producing commercial music for more than 50 years. One of my specialties is taking a musical theme and arranging it in a wide array of styles. You can see examples of this in my Meow Mix Anthology or samples from my MSNBC Theme Package, so MusicLM speaks to me differently than it may speak to you.

I hear everything it’s doing wrong, but I also hear everything it’s doing right – and that’s the part that’s mind-blowing. I can’t wait to create a piece of music, then feed it to MusicLM: “Please create a :30, :25+:05, :23+:07, :15, :10+:05, :07, and an :05 for the main theme, then create variations in the following styles: Rock, Pop, Fusion Jazz, 50’s Rock & Roll, Symphonic, Baroque, and HipHop.” I literally can’t wait!

After that, I want to be able to say things like, “Master this track in the style of Bob Ludwig,” or “premix these stems in the style of Alan Meyerson,” or “replace the drum sounds with 90s jazz-style Danny Gottlieb tom-toms,” or “70s disco-style Allan Schwartzberg kick and snare tunings.” I get excited just thinking about it!

Nothing excites me more, though, than asking for things that others would consider musically insane. For example: Maynard Ferguson, Buddy Rich, Michael Brecker, Sting, Willie Nelson, Prince, and Quincy Jones meet at Taylor Swift’s house to produce Frank Sinatra and Madonna doing a cover album of the Sesame Street songbook in Zeuhl or Witch House or Chillhop. You know… insane. Can’t wait!!!

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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