HITS 2024: All-4-One Singers Debate AI’s Creative Uses

LOS ANGELES — Jamie Jones, singer, songwriter, producer, and founder of the American R&B group All-4-One, is a self-proclaimed “nerd” who’s quick to adopt new technologies as they come along.

But even he’s somewhat amazed at how AI-infused technologies are impacting how he manages his craft.

“Technology is about convenience, how can technology make my life easier? People don’t realize the time it actually takes to write a song,” Jones said, speaking May 22 at the Hollywood Innovation & Transformation Summit (HITS). Just one song can require 6-8 hour days for a full week, and that’s if everything clicks, he said. But once it’s written, AI is helping him and his fellow musicians actually produce the music in ways they never could before.

“AI can cut the workflows down in half, it’s making life easier,” he said during the HITS kickoff discussion “Integrating AI Across Creative Workflows.” “You still have to have talent, but [AI] is speeding up the process.”

Matt Wong, All-4-One singer, songwriter and producer, called AI a “new toy” that’s making song-creation not only more accessible to more people, but far more streamlined for content creators. But that’s not completely good news, he added.

“There’s a looming threat: we’re leveling the playing field a little bit, and it’s impacting the workflow so much, but it’s something we’re going to have to grow with,” Wong said. “There are certain people who have no business being in music.”

Jones said the biggest concern with using AI to actually create content is the infringement of other people’s work. “We don’t use it that way,” he said. “Some of that AI creativity could be people’s songs.” But if you need to get the piano, the voices and the guitar all on the same range, AI-enabled plug-ins can take the manual processes out of the equation.

“Now you can sing it one time, B-flat, and be a lot lazier,” Jones said, laughing. “As every year progresses the technology improves. It used to take $300,000, $500,000 to put together a small recording studio. Now just buy a Mac, it comes with Garage Band, and you’re set. Technology has changed the model, made it more accessible for everyone.”

But for all the benefits of AI to his business, Jones is keenly aware of the pitfalls as well. All you have to do is read the news to see how there’s potential for misuse of AI in the creative space.

“Next thing I know [I might be] listening to the radio and ‘Wait a minute, that sounds like me. Where are my royalties?’”

HITS Spring was presented by Box, with sponsorship by Fortinet, SHIB, AMD, Brightspot, Grant Thornton, MicroStrategy, the Trusted Partner Network, the Content Delivery & Security Association (CDSA) and EIDR, and was produced by MESA in partnership with the Pepperdine Graziadio School of Business.