SPOTLIGHT - Dr. Joe Lyske (MXX Music)
Ahead of his chairing on Resonate’s ‘Future Of The Music Industries’ panel, we spoke to MXX CEO & Co-founder Dr. Joe Lyske
Resonate : MXX Music is an incredibly innovative platform in it’s unique ability to join automate seamless audio editing for existing music, how did this development come about?
Dr Joe Lyske : Well, it’s all part of the journey I’ve had as a Film and Advertising composer. I used to do a hell of a lot of demos for ads and that, so started creating automated ways of writing chord schemes and melodies and so on. This eventually turned into a PhD in Artificial Intelligence with regards to creating compositions from scratch. Thing is though, I think the last thing the world needs is tech able to replace composers with computers, that’s not the point, but it would be great if the composer could rework their material on the spot for a game, social media post, ad etc. I knew how to use AI to create form and follow a narrative, so it seemed natural to create a product that would allow composers' works to be re-edited on the fly to give them new life and make them malleable.
Resonate : How many years in development and planning went into MXX before it’s launch?
Dr Joe Lyske : There are quite a few patents and inventions necessary to make MXX work, six in total. So we were dark for quite a few years whilst we secured these, and quite frankly made sure it all worked! We’ve been at it as a company for four years, but I’ve been personally working on AI music for 25 years - that’s where the background to the project cultivated.
Resonate : At the MXX offices, what happens in a normal day?
Dr Joe Lyske : Well, we all get coffees, check email etc, and get ready for the 10am stand up. This is when we have an international call between our staff here in the UK, in Spain, and in Greece. This call is what’s known as a “stand up”, and we literally stand up for it - that way we don’t get bogged down into any detail. The purpose of the call is to say in turn what we did yesterday, what we are working on today, and if we need any help from anyone else on the call. After this, we all make our individual meetings to collaborate, or simply scatter and crack on with the day’s tasks.
Resonate : MXX has won a number of awards and accolades in it’s short history, do you feel this is a sign that the industry is embracing new technologies more and more?
Dr Joe Lyske : Well, I think it is a sign they are definitely embracing ours! It’s been very flattering all of the awards, I think that is down to us presenting a novel product that you can’t just look at on a technical level and go “yea, I know how they’re doing that”. It’s when you get judges going quite deep into the tech in a public forum that you get a warm feeling and know you are onto something, François Pachet asked me when I was on stage at RockTech Paris if we had published any papers on our tech that he could read, which was very flattering. Likewise, at ADE for the “companies to watch”, Shawn Wilson asked me twice on stage to elaborate on our patents - well, the first time I answered in an overview kind of way, but clearly this wasn’t enough for him, so it was a great honour to be able to explain the six patents in detail. I think they videoed that.
Resonate : The world’s first AI engine that atomises and edits music to wrap around experiences such as user generated video, workouts etc, can you give another few examples of how the adaptive music encoding can benefit music industry professionals?
Dr Joe Lyske : As a composer or artist, you never know how your work is being used. You send out stuff all the time, but you don’t know who finds it, listens to it, or uses it. I’ve had nearly a hundred ads on air and the number of times someone has called me to tell me they are about to use my track is zero - you simply have to watch the ad go out with your music and then call them to chase a licence. Our systems give massive transparency to right-holders, artists and composers. You can see how your work is being searched for, imported, how it is listened to, how bits are used and how it is edited, how it is exported and who then goes and listens to it. It’s like a gold mine of information that can help you get better at each and every stage of how your music is created, searched, listened to and used - this is a massive new benefit to the industry.
From a content producer standpoint, there are 1.5 million games released on handsets each year. Even one of them deserves a decent music sound track, but the work involved in this for Game developers is massive. Imagine our technology in these games as an SDK (Software Development Toolkit) so all you have to do as a developer is describe what is happening in the game, such as “give me 30% intensity rising to 80% over the next 15 seconds” or “boss fight now! Jump to musical Climax”, then you drop in a music track and you’re done. The engine edits the music in realtime depending on game play. This is a new power that will save shedloads of programming effort, musical knowledge, and faff.
Resonate : Dr Joe Lyske is heading up our Future Of The Music Industries panel alongside Jesper Skibsby, Anna Xambo, Nick Breen and Sammy Andrews, how important do you think attending conference events are? What are they most important aspects?
Dr Joe Lyske : Well, the event you are talking about is very special because this is a great panel that is well qualified to give real insight into the positive way that technology will impact the future of the music industry. In general, for me, I think it is important to spread the word and allay fears of how AI is going to impact creatives lives. There are companies out there that are trying to replace them, but I reckon the real traction will come from companies trying to empower them - it is important people hear this message and the reasoning behind it.