The Beatles ‘Now and Then’: CintSnap reveals consumer sentiments of AI’s impact on the music industry

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Originally released as a demo in 1977, ‘Now and Then’ was written and recorded by late Beatles member, John Lennon. Using cutting-edge AI technology, Lennon’s vocal tracks were extracted using a stem separation software, mixed with older guitar elements from George Harrison and new music recording from the surviving band members, to create the finalized version. The result has been a resounding success with ‘Now and Then’ topping the charts to become the number one UK single within a week of its release, as well as this century’s fastest selling vinyl single.  

The discussion on AI has centered heavily around repetitive white-collar jobs being taken over, with automation easing a labourer’s traditional sense of ‘work’, aiming to make life less tedious.  

More controversially, is the topic around AI taking over arts, music and other forms of creative expression – the core things that make us ‘human’, that looms over us.  

While there are undertones of excitement swirling over the possibilities, concerns around the preservation of artist integrity and ownership are making others wary of its impact.  

Using Cint’s owned data – that we call CintSnap – we gathered some insights around sentiments surrounding consumer behavior of the implementation of AI in the music industry, specifically on the posthumous Beatles collaboration. 

The survey revealed that 58% (in the US) and 64% (in the UK) of respondents were aware that AI technology was used to recover and finalize John Lennon’s vocals in “Now and Then”, showcasing a positive consumer understanding of how the role in music production is shifting.   

Singing to a different tune

When asked about their feelings toward AI’s role in the new era of the music industry, the responses were varied.  

While 44% expressed a possibility that it could be a positive development, 24% were definite in their opposition, 20% were optimistic, and 12% remained uncertain.  

This diversity of opinions highlights the complexity of moral implications surrounding AI’s involvement in music. 

Harmonizing ethics and innovation 

Concerns of the rapid implementation of AI across all industries were remarkably high at 75%, with 71% of respondents believing AI could replace the role of artists and producers.  

The survey also probed into the ethical dimensions of using AI to finalize the work of deceased artists.  

A combined 61% (36% strongly and 25% somewhat) believed it could be a violation of their artistic autonomy, while 24% argued that it depended on the situation, and 8% did not perceive it as a violation at all.  

Nostalgia and the future outlook 

With the newly released track already breaking records in the music world, will we see similar successes being replicated? 

The results show a high 61% believe that AI has a firm footing in the music industry, which represents the evolving landscape around society’s acceptance of AI-generated music. This is key to understanding how receptive consumers will be towards future adaptations of an artist’s posthumous work.  

“I want you to be there for me,” chime Lennon and McCartney in the chorus, and undoubtedly with the intervention of AI, the Beatles will always be with us – comforting nostalgia neatly packaged for our present-day gratification, opening the doors to an endless realm of opportunities for music creation.  

And with 60% of people claiming not to have heard an AI rendition of their favorite artist yet, that figure is set to quickly change as new technologies get adopted.     

As the data shows us, excitement is already building around future possibilities with a majority 41% identifying as somewhat intrigued for what’s to come, and 19% stating they’re very intrigued. And will this impact a consumer’s inclination to enjoy the music? The majority of people surveyed said that it had no impact (42%) while a high percentage (40%) were more positively inclined to enjoy it, indicating very low aversion.  

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