Meet Ripple: TikTok parent’s new AI-powered music-making app that can turn a hummed melody into a song
ByteDance has shaken up the power dynamic in the music business.
The $220 billion-valued technology giant’s popular video-sharing app TikTok is capable of breaking hits, turning unknown artists into viral stars, and driving new commercial success for ‘catalog’ tracks recorded decades ago.
Now, ByteDance wants aspiring creators to make the music for their short-form videos using an app it built itself, and it’s even developed and trained a model to get them started.
MBW told you last month that TikTok’s parent was working on an AI music app that ‘significantly lowers the music creation barrier’ after we spotted a pair of job ads for experts in the space.
Today (June 30), the technology giant has confirmed that it is indeed launching a new, free-to-use music production app, called Ripple. The app has two key features: a ‘Melody to Song’ generator and a virtual recording studio.
The Melody to Song feature lets users sing or hum a melody directly into the app, and Ripple will then expand the melody by generating an instrumental accompaniment in a variety of different genres.
The length of the music outputted will match the length of the song inputted and the model currently has the ability to create instrumental music outputs only.
As you can see from the screenshot below, you can also adjust the BPM and FX.
According to Bytedance, the AI model was trained on music which is licensed to or owned by Bytedance.
The company tells MBW that it was not trained on major record company music. MBW understands that Bytedance also used music produced in-house to train the model.
“Ripple is designed to inspire musical creativity and help musicians, artists and composers express themselves.”
A Bytedance spokesperson told MBW in a statement that, “Ripple is designed to inspire musical creativity and help musicians, artists and composers express themselves.
They added: “We’re excited to see how creators use Ripple to tap into their creativity to soundtrack their own short-form videos.”
Today’s news ties into two key music technology trends we’ve been following closely here at MBW for some time now.
The first is the rise of the mobile music production app market targeted toward hobbyist music makers and aspiring musicians.
The other is the explosion of AI-powered generative music models developed by tech giants. In recent weeks, MBW has written about Microsoft, Google, and Meta’s research in this field.
A prominent player in the music production app market is Singapore-based BandLab, whose flagship social music-making app counts over 60 million registered users.
It offers a range of features for emerging creators, like cross-platform digital audio workstation Studio, royalty-free sample and loops service Sounds, and the AI music generator tool SongStarter. BandLab Technologies recently raised an additional USD $25 million in its Series B1 financing round, valuing the company at $425 million.
The launch of ByteDance’s new app means that BandLab has a serious new rival to contend with.
Also operating in the space is Splice, reported by Bloomberg to be valued at nearly $500 million after raising $55 million in February 2021 (led by Goldman Sachs’ GS Growth).
Splice recently launched the Create a Stack feature, which it says uses AI to match sounds from across the Splice catalog “to give you endless songstarters”. It also previously launched CoSo, an AI-powered music creation app.
According to the announcement, Ripple launches on Friday (June 30) in the US to a small group of beta testers via invitation only. There is currently no information available on how long the beta phase will be, or if there are any further rollout plans.
In addition to Ripple’s melody-to-song tool, the app features a virtual recording studio much like other portable smart digital audio workstations (DAWs).
According to Bytedance, users will be able to share the music they’ve created to TikTok and other social media platforms, but the app isn’t capable of distributing music to the TikTok song library.
You can request an invitation code to beta test Ripple app on iOS mobile devices here.
MBW noted last summer that ByteDance had recently launched a machine-learning-driven music-making app called Mawf, which analyses incoming audio signals and then “re-renders” those signals using what it says is machine-learned models of musical instruments.
Additionally, according to a report last year from news site Tech Planet, ByteDance had also recently launched a music creation app in China called ‘Sponge Band’.
According to Tech Planet’s report, this recording and music editing app also features AI tools, and notes that it is particularly “helpful for users who want to further improve audio effects and background music for short videos”.
MBW understands that all three apps, Mawf, Spongeband and Ripple are all standalone apps.Music Business Worldwide