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Is "AI" generated music finally useful? [for Indie Game Devs]

A short post about a service I stumbled across called AIVA.

I have been working on systemising my processes for content creation.

One thing that I want to do is to create some YouTube shorts (1-2 minute videos, same as TikTok / Instagram stories type videos) and I was looking for some subtle background music that wouldn't be copyrighted.

While searching I stumbled across - a service to generate AI music.

As with anything new and interesting, I had to have a play!

First impressions

It was easy to use, even for a dummy like me!

You just select a few things such as what style of music / instrumentation you want, duration (up to 3 minutes for free tier), tempo, key and time signature and then select how many tracks you want the AI to produce (up to 5 at a time).

Screen allowing you to set the instrumentation, duration, tempo, key that you would like AIVA to generate

Then you press "Create Your Track" and wait for a minute or two.

You can then listen to the AI masterpiece...or disaster!

Consistency / results

From about 100 tracks I generated I would say that 1 in 15 tracks are decent enough that you could possibly use them, a lot of them end up with too heavy a drum beat or some weird transitions etc.

Despite that I am impressed with the results.

Good enough for Indie game developers?

They aren't perfect, but if you have next to no budget for sound tracks they will probably be good enough!

I found about 6 tracks that I think would work for a low budget Indie game, which isn't bad considering I did no editing on the tracks (other than removing some weird bits from the end of the first example below).

With a bit of work and tweaking I imagine you could make them feel like high quality pieces composed just for the game.

Or at the very least use them as inspiration pieces to make the ideation part of music design a lot shorter (and therefore a lot cheaper!).


Here are three examples I downloaded of tracks that I think are pretty much good enough for usage.

I have given them some fun names and the sort of game I think they would work for, enjoy AIVAs work!

Example 1 - DrAIgon born

Example 2 - PAIrates Adventures

Example 3 - In SpAIce, no one can hear you scrAIm

So what do you think?

Do you think Machine Learning has come far enough to generate some useful music / sound tracks?

Could you picture a game with one of these sound tracks in it?

I personally think some of the Hip Hop, Low-Fi and Easy Listening stuff it produces would make great background music for streams and videos (the main reason I am exploring the service) with a very slim chance of a copyright strike!

I would encourage you to have a play yourself and see what you think!

Quick Poll

Cover image: Unsplash

Top comments (16)

jayjeckel profile image
Jay Jeckel

Very interesting and they sound as good or better than many royalty free tracks I've heard. The site felt kind of shady at first due to them hiding their terms of use away, but after finding and reading it, there doesn't seem to be any major red flags. Will have to chalk the hiding of it up to bad site design.

The free tier license is a little badly worded in my opinion and it would have been better if they had used something like CC-BY-NC instead of trying to roll their own.

  • You may use the tracks that are created under a Free plan for non-commercial purposes. That includes ANY use cases that are meant to be non-for-profit, and that are not promoting any commercial activity in any way.
  • The copyright of the tracks you create is owned by AIVA
  • You MUST give credit to AIVA when using the track. For example, if you are publishing a video on Youtube with some music composed by AIVA under a Free Plan, you can add the following line in the description of your video: Soundtrack composed by AIVA (Artificial Intelligence Virtual Artist):

In simple terms, AIVA keeps the copyright on the tracks and gives you a non-commercial license to use the tracks as long as you provide attribution. That's pretty normal, but the "not promoting any commercial activity in any way" is a little aggressive in my opinion and raises the annoying question of whether "promoting" your patreon or similar donation mechanisms counts as "commercial activity". Overall, not a major issue, but an annoying one none the less.

It gets slightly more confused if one includes the ToS section on the matter:

Non-Commercial License: Licensor hereby assigns, grants and conveys to Licensee a non-exclusive, non-transferrable and non-commercial license to use, modify and distribute the MIDI and Audio Composition, in any Content that the Licensee holds rights over.

Note the term "non-transferrable". This means that the person who creates the track on AIVA is allowed to "use, modify and distribute" the track, however anyone who receives a copy of the track does not have those rights transferred to them. In other words, InHu has the right to distribute the tracks here, but if I download the tracks I don't have the right to use the track, modify it, or distribute it further to other people. This is not surprising, the purpose of the site is to generate tracks for use in content, not for generating tracks as content.

Again, this isn't a major issue, but overall the information is vague, badly worded, and spread across multiple pages. That isn't how licensing information should be handled; everything should be clear, concise, and located together.

The topic gets even more interesting when you consider the Monkey Selfie precedent and realize these tracks and anything else generated by AI most likely aren't copyrightable in the first place. To quote the Copyrightable Authorship: What Can Be Registered, chapter 306, The Human Authorship Requirement, "The U.S. Copyright Office will register an original work of authorship, provided that the work was created by a human being."

Australia, the EU, and various other countries agree, no human author means no copyright. AIVA, according to their ToS section 12, Governing Laws, operates under Luxembourg jurisdiction, so that would put them in the realm of AI generated content lacks the originality of an "author's own intellectual creation" and therefore not copyrightable.

That's not to say everyone agrees. Some places take the stance that the copyright should be assigned to the person who causes the work to be created, best summed up by section 9(3) of the UK's CDPA.

In the case of a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work which is computer-generated, the author shall be taken to be the person by whom the arrangements necessary for the creation of the work are undertaken.

Yes, that is as ambiguous as it sounds. Is the person making the "arrangements" the coders that made the underlying software, the data scientists that trained the model, the developers that built the page, the company that owns the site, or the user that configured a few widgets and clicked a button? All of them and more could claim to be doing the arranging.

Bottom line, in the case of this site, as far as most people are going to use the service, there don't seem to be any major problems. Generate your music, use it in your content (videos, games, etc), and don't forget to give AIVA their attribution credit and there shouldn't be any issues.

Anyway, thanks for another great article and for giving me a tangent to procrastinate over instead of doing actual work. :P

grahamthedev profile image

I enjoy the licensing / privacy / terms write ups you do - you need to stop adding them as comments on my posts and write an actual post with them though as they are really interesting and useful information! 🤣🤣

For me I wasn't even going to take any risks, if I wanted the tracks I would go tier 3 license where I own the copyright, at which point from what I could see they renounce all claim to the piece. I tend to pay around $10-$20 a track anyway, so if I generate more than 3 tracks a month I am better off (assuming they keep improving the quality).

You touched on a point I was questioning which was how copyright works with AI generated pieces anyway, I bet that will be really interesting in the future when the lawsuits start piling up to see where the law lands on ownership (and for example if I generate a track and then edit it, who is deemed as the creator at that point).

I think I will keep playing on the free tier, if I get 50 tracks I think are good enough then I will cough up the money (as stupidly they let you generate as many tracks as you want and only charge for downloads...pretty sure their cost is in the generation part and CPU cycles!)

jayjeckel profile image
Jay Jeckel

I've got half a dozen articles in various stages of completeness, just can't seem to ever get around to finishing them. Writing these comments at least helps work out what I would want to say in any article. Either way, I appreciate the encouragement. :)

auroratide profile image
Timothy Foster

I can totally see using something like this for a short-term event like a 48-hour game jam! As opposed to using the same set of free songs a lot of other people use and thereby sounding cheap in the process 😬

grahamthedev profile image
GrahamTheDev • Edited

That is a good shout! Excellent suggestion!

I also thought that things like hold music etc could be good uses, background music for cafes etc - basically anywhere where you don’t actively listen I think this music holds up just about well enough that you could get away with it!

chozabu profile image
Alex P-B

I used aivi in the recent epic megajam.
Still ended up doing lots of editing on the 2 tracks used, and they were generated over several iterations.
Game can be seen here

grahamthedev profile image

Looks cool, will try and have a play when back at PC!

I think the trick is to get familiar with a decent midi editor and export to that as their editor is pretty hard to work with.

Saying that I think this is the first time I have had a good at anything to do with sound design so maybe it is just that I am a noob!

grahamthedev profile image

Without doubt my favourite bit is in the PAIrates Adventure track at 20 seconds - it kicks in and immediately makes me think of Kung Fu Panda or something similar!

If you have a play with AIVA then let me know!

siddharthshyniben profile image

I don't know if this is the source of the name, but in Malayalam "aiva" is commonly used to say "very good!" Or "it's perfect!"

molnfront profile image
Göran Svensson • Edited

You have virus in your JSFiddle according to my Avast antivirus. Don't know if it's a false positive or not... But you may have to check it out. It's not possible to read your fiddle..

hsrobbv profile image

I'm not seeing any issues on a locked-down corporate laptop with Sophos.

grahamthedev profile image

Which fiddle, do you mean the code sandbox with the quiz?

The 3 fiddles are just audio elements pointing to MP3s so I can’t imagine there is anything in them.

nombrekeff profile image

The pairates one was quite good, I wouldn't mind using that one!

grahamthedev profile image

Yeah, that one is my favourite too! I like them all in their own way, but the pirate one does feel more "finished" with fewer random changes in mood.

awdev profile image

Thanks yours information.

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