The news popped this week, a new artist emerged on the scene. Its name: TravisBott.
A flesh-free cousin of internationally known rapper Travis Scott. You can listen to its first hit entitled Jack Park Canny Dope Man on every streaming platform.
Plot twist, this artist is actually a machine learning bot created by the space150 agency. If you are currently streaming the sound, you might be bluffed. The instrumental, the voice, the autotuned vibe, the hooks, the theme, even the backs (“It’s lit!”, “Straight up!”) are identical to Houston’s own Jacques Webster.
The agency built a neural network for R&D purposes and decided to experiment the algorithm on music. They fed TravisBott with the entire career of La Flame and the bot worked on reverse engineering the whole performances.
Bot Rappers in the 2020s
Since 2015, the rap industry has seen a lot of young rappers emerge from nothing and become “trap stars” with one hit. People like Lil Tecca, Lil Pump or Lil Mosey. Young dudes made hundreds of millions of views after starting on their own on SoundCloud, rapping over typebeats.
A typebeat is an instrumental music made by a producer that try to sound like a specific rapper style.
If the 2010s made rapping over imitated beats so popular, why can’t the industry go one step further and create robots that imitate lyrics?
TravisBott might not be the first one. For years, engineers have worked on this type of features. But this one is definitely the most successful of them all. Travis Scott is my favorite artist, though I can see myself enjoying TravisBott! And space150 did not even intend to break the industry, it was just a R&D project.
But what if the Majors start signing engineers instead of artists?
With the campaign led by a lot of rappers to become independent artists, have their own record company and leaving the majors, one can start thinking about the revenge coming.
Imagine, instead of an artist, you have a bot that can generate a new song whenever you want! One hit per week. Auto-generated lyrics based on the trending topics. Straight to market delivery through streaming platforms. Hell, you can even have them perform on a live stage with holograms!
Can bots be considered artists?
One might say this question is highly philosophical. I am not a writer for the Westworld TV series, but I think this show covers a large scope of the concept. I recommend you check it if you did not already.
On the specific case of TravisBott, it is hard to judge since it is largely plagiarism. Even if the lyrics are different, the flow and the way of singing is so close from a Travis Scott performance that you cannot dissociate it from the original artist. In this case, the question becomes: are copycats artists?
But what if engineers start to tweak their algorithm to try to sound more original? They already have the recipe for a hit song, now they just have to move the cursors around to generate authenticity.
Here we are guys, we are touching it. How to generate uniqueness and authenticity with computed algorithm? This is how far we have gone with technology.
At this point, Travis Scott did not respond to his cousin. But La Flame loves innovation. We are talking about a man that built an amusement park inside its concert tour! We cannot be sure that bot rappers will replace artists. But in the upcoming 10 years I can bet we will listen to some fully generated song. And I look forward to it.
Thank you for reading my lines.