Naps, Snacks, and Belly Rubs

Naps, Snacks, and Belly Rubs
"Canine Music Video Star" by Marcel Gagné, created with DALL-E

What follows is a story about writing a song. A song about living life as a dog, which you know (at least in this part of the world) isn't terribly difficult or taxing. :-) You know what is hard? Writing music, especially when you don't know anything about writing music. Or playing it. Oh, I'm a slightly better than mediocre guitar player, but that won't get you far if you're trying to make a hit song. Then, when you've written your hit song, and played it, you need to record it, mix it, and a bunch of other things I know nothing about.

That didn't stop me from doing it.

A few notes. There's a good chance, especially if you follow the sorts of things that I talk about and write about, that you've heard me talk about AI, or artificial intelligence. Well, there's this tool called Suno, an artificial intelligence engine that allows you to create music, even when you know as little as I do about the process. And when I say music, I'm talking about realistic music with vocals, words, backgrounds, and multiple verses—you name it. It's really quite amazing. There is another one out there as well, called Udio, and it is also impressive but in different ways. Both can do the same thing, which is this; with a relatively simple prompt, allow you to create a song, in pretty much any style that you desire.

Now, as an experiment, I decided to go ahead and not just create a song—a seemingly impossible feat (given my non-existent skills) that I've accomplished a few times already. What I wanted to do, however, was to create a whole music video. For that, I decided to employ as many artificial intelligence tools as made sense and find out just how quickly I could actually put something that was, in my mind at least, relatively good to both watch and listen to.

Below, you can see the result of that YouTube video, which I hope you will like, share, subscribe to, and you know, tell other people about. 😃 You know how it works. But I digress...

"Naps, Snacks, and Belly Rubs" by Marcel Gagné (with a little AI help)

So, here's the thing: Essentially, I wanted to write a song about how easy it is to live life as a dog, at least in our modern Western society. I used ChatGPT to generate lyrics, and then I took the lyrics—mostly as they were—but modified them to be more in line with what I was trying to say.

Then, I took the lyrics from ChatGPT and used the custom generation part of Suno AI (you supply lyrics) and told it that I wanted a song based on these lyrics as a laid-back pop song with a Jimmy Buffett vibe. Obviously not written or sung by Jimmy Buffett, but that vibe—you know, that kind of laid-back, relaxed, I'm hanging out by the beach, the waves are splashing—that sort of stuff.

Anyhow, then I took the result of that which actually took several iterations because what you have to do is generate a portion of the music, then generate the next portion. Rinse and repeat. Decide if you like those—if you don't like those you throw them away—then you export those bits and pieces into a finished audio file which I downloaded to my PC.

I then took that audio file and loaded it into PowerDirector, which is a modern video editor used by a lot of YouTubers. I generated the subtitles based on the lyrics, but unfortunately the automatic subtitle generation was only so good. So, I had to go and write all of those lyrics down by hand so that they would show up at the appropriate locations, in time with the music.

That's a lot of editing for less than 3 minutes!

Then I used PowerDirector’s hook into Getty Images to find myself some videos of dogs doing what dogs do, particularly in time with the music and the lyrics which I had created. I then did a whole pile of editing back and forth, trimming, adding, removing, back and forth, rinse, repeat, and four hours later (give or take), I had the music video that you now see.

The point, I guess, is this... The idea that you just say or type something into a box and something miraculously pops out on the other end isn't quite 100% the whole story—at least not yet. I'm not saying that at some point in the near future we won't have something like that, And, for all I know, that future may be nearer than I think—but right now, even doing something like this requires a lot of hands-on work. Even when it's relatively quick, it's not instantaneous.

I know all of this is scary, but the more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that what these tools are doing is providing us with new ways to create things. To express ourselves. The power is grants us is putting the ability to create art in the hands of people who may not have been able to do so in the past. For instance, I am a good writer, and I'm also very good at using computers and technology in general, but I'm not so good at writing music. Okay, I can't write music at all.

However, today, with a little AI help and some amount of work, I managed to put together a music video that is, if not great, good. And that feels pretty awesome.

Let me know your thoughts; please leave comments here and start a conversation if you so desire. I would also really appreciate it if you would share this post with others so that they can discover this blog of mine.

Until next time.