Pop music AI writes cheesy Christmas hits

Web Log: Software recognises visual elements within an image and “writes” a song


A picture is worth a thousand words but only if those words are Christmas song lyrics penned by an artificial intelligence (AI) system. Researchers from University of Toronto have developed AI software that can write a seasonal song based on any image it is shown. The software works by recognising visual elements within a picture eg a Christmas tree or a present, and using these words to “write” a song.

The songwriting skills were developed by training the software on more than 100 hours of pop music, helping it to learn the melodic structures of chart hits. The researchers behind this project call it “neural story singing”. A few online videos show why: it sings what it sees but does so with a canny pop sensibility that includes some schmaltz. These lyrics show why this software is the Tiny Tim of AI: “The best Christmas present in the world is a blessing.”