Nick Cave, AI, and songwriting

Photo: Roof paint

Nick Cave, AI, and songwriting

A friend recently pointed us to The Red Hand Files by Nick Cave, who wrote recently that ChatGPT “is fast-tracking the commodification of the human spirit by mechanising the imagination,” thereby rendering “our participation in the act of creation as valueless and unnecessary.”

It’s struggle that imbues an act of creation with “a moral imperative, in short love,” he writes, adding that “even though the creative act requires considerable effort, in the end [artists are] contributing to the vast network of love that supports human existence.” [read more]

This thing we love doing – creating songs occasionally in a moment of inspiration but more often through days, weeks, months of revising and revisiting, experimenting with melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation, poking at stubborn phrases – is seldom only about achieving a polished product. It’s also about the journey and what we learn along the way. 

We’re learning to value songwriting as a “call to courage,” as we sing in Fly on the Wall, as a way of becoming and of contributing – at least to some small degree – “to the vast network of love.”

No AI can do that for us.