Head of A&R for Baste Records Chris Wallin Comments on Whether ChatGPT Could Replace Songwriters

Live from Music Row Friday morning on The Tennessee Star Report with Michael Patrick Leahy – broadcast on Nashville’s Talk Radio 98.3 and 1510 WLAC weekdays from 5:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. – host Leahy welcomed the Head of A&R for Baste Records, Chris Wallin in studio to examine new AI called ChatGPT and what effect it could have on the songwriting industry.

Leahy: In studio, the famous singer-songwriter and now the head of A&R for the new anti-woke music label here in Music City Baste Records, Mr. Chris Wallin. Chris, I got a curveball for you. Are you ready?

Wallin: I’m ready.

Leahy: Have you heard of this thing called ChatGPT?

Wallin: I have.

Leahy: Here’s the thing. ChatGPT is very interesting because it’s artificial intelligence. And there is a report now, and it’s relatively new, out that ChatGPT is going to be used by some news outlets.

The topic is what will be the impact of ChatGPT on the music industry? I did a little test, and I think you did a little test, too, but I had a friend ask Chat GPT this question. Are you ready?

Wallin: I’m ready. What is The Tennessee Star newspaper and why is it a threat to traditional news? This is what we got from ChatGPT when we asked that. The Tennessee Star is an online newspaper that provides news and opinion pieces from a conservative point of view with a footnote.

It has been seen as a threat to traditional news outlets because it provides alternative perspectives on news topics which can be seen as a challenge to the narrative that is typically presented by the mainstream media. Okay, that’s pretty good so far.

Wallin: Yes.

Leahy: But then they get into, additionally, some concerns have been raised about potential bias in the reporting of The Tennessee Star as there is no editorial oversight of the content that is published on the site. That’s what ChatGPT said.

That is factually untrue because I’m the editor in chief and I edit it, and then our executive editor, Christina Botteri, edits, and then we have a couple of other editors, Zach Schmidt. The point is, it’s sort of garbage in, garbage out. My question to you is what changes will come about in the music industry as a result of ChatGPT?

Wallin: Personally, I think this is going to happen. I think that you’re going to be able to put in a scene to a film or a series and explain what it is, and it’s going to write the background track to that film or TV.

Leahy: That’s interesting. That’s one possibility. We did a little experiment here during the break. I asked you if you would ask a particular question to ChatGPT. Tell us what you asked ChatGPT. I can’t wait to see what the response was. What did you ask them?

Wallin: I asked it right to write a country music song in the style of songwriter Chris Wallin.

Leahy: That’s you.

Wallin: That’s me.

Leahy: And did we get a song from ChatGPT?

Wallin: Yes, we did. It took it a while. It took it a little bit. It took some thinking. The first line kind of is a little creepy because we talked about where I’m from. I grew up in a small town. I’m just going to read it down.

This is the verse: I grew up in a small town where the streets were dirt, and the cotton fields stretched out. I learned to love a good time and a cold beer, but most of all, I fell in love with country music here. (Laughs)

Leahy: Would you have written something like that?

Wallin: I would have probably been a little more colorful than that. (Leahy laughs) But okay, chorus time. This is where it gets a little cheesy. The chorus says, I’m a songwriter just like Chris Wallin.

Leahy: Okay, thank you. Thank you ChatGPT.

Wallin: Thanks. Okay, so I’m a songwriter just like Chris Wallin. I’ll sing you a story that will make you grin. I’ll take you back to a simpler time where love and heartache is all in a rhyme.

Leahy: Well, there you go. We don’t want to overdo this, but if you’re out there in the listening audience, you might want to try this. We won’t do it, but this is for you. If you were to go into ChatGPT and ask ChatGPT, write a country music song that includes the following words: pickup truck, beer, mama, and prison. (Laughs) What else do you need?

Wallin: It would be the perfect country and western song.

Leahy: We’ll see how that all plays out. In terms of songwriting, I think the problem that I see with it is, and look, this, ChatGPT has only been out there for, what, a month or so?

Wallin: Yes.

Leahy: And so artificial intelligence learns. And so right now, what you’re seeing is really preliminary. The early stages of ChatGPT.

Wallin: Yes.

Leahy: What do you think will happen, let’s say, a year from now? Does ChatGPT have the possibility of replacing songwriters?

Wallin: I don’t think so. For one thing, I don’t think you can replace heart in songwriting. I think there are characters in songwriting that people can’t duplicate, especially in lyrics. I always tell people great melodies are extremely important, and great production is extremely important. Production and melodies change moods, great lyrics change lives.

And don’t get me wrong. But no one has ever quit committing suicide because they heard a loop on the radio. No one has ever stopped talking to their dad or started talking to their dad they hadn’t talked to in 15 years because they heard a modulation of keys. To me, lyrics are extremely important. And I don’t think they’ll ever be able to replace great lyrics.

Leahy: Mediocre lyrics.

Wallin: Oh, they’ll be able to do that.

Leahy: And it will be more and more of a challenge, I think, don’t you?

Wallin: Yes. I agree.

Leahy: Let’s talk about ChatGPT as it might apply to the news business. There’s a report at this liberal rag out there called BuzzFeed.

Listen to today’s show highlights, including this interview:

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Tune in weekdays from 5:00 – 8:00 a.m. to The Tennessee Star Reporwith Michael Patrick Leahy on Talk Radio 98.3 FM WLAC 1510. Listen online at iHeart Radio.
Photo “Chris Wallin” by Chris Wallin.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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