Last week I released my latest project - computoser - an online service that generates music algorithmically. Feedback has been very positive and this certainly means I'll continue improving it. But what could that service actually become? First, as I noted in my technical description, the idea is not new at all. Many people, including scientists, have attempted to that the same thing - make the computer generate music. And some of these attempts (you can see some links in the discussions on HN and my blog) actually generate nice music, sometimes better than that of my algorithm. But why is it that this hasn't got any traction? Why there isn't an industry and a business model around these things?
- it's mainly research. Researches don't and don't have to think of business applications of their findings. Researchers are interested in the essence of the music composition and rarely in serving it to a large amount of people.
- the algorithms are not that good yet. Something can't get popular if it generates dissonant, boring or non-varying music. Mine also can still be classified as boring, but at least it's not dissonant and tracks may differ from each other significantly. Most of what I've seen is just recombination of a set of samples, which produces a limited set of results, or attempts to employ math principles, which I think is not necessary (mainly because existing, human-composed music doesn't seem to exhibit such patterns, apart from some low-level details, e.g. note pitch frequencies). Mine is far from perfect, but I've tried to address many deficiencies.
- existing software is not marketable - even if someone with a business plan took the software, he can't make it popular - the UI is in many cases horrible and unusable, and it expects a lot of human input. Something which is not actually needed.
- although it has been around, it is not an extremely popular idea. Not because it's bad, but because it requires a person or a team to have a good grasp on both computing and music theory.