HomeEntertainmentMusicCountry MusicGarth Brooks Gives Thoughts on AI Taking Over Music Industry

Garth Brooks Gives Thoughts on AI Taking Over Music Industry

by Craig Garrett
Garth Brooks
(Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images)

Country music legend Garth Brooks is taking aim at what he sees as a rising threat to artistic expression: Artificial Intelligence. During the Country Radio Broadcasters’ 54th Annual Seminar Conference on Monday night, R.J. Curtis and Garth Brooks discussed their shared concerns for America’s future, Nashville’s The Tennessean reports.

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Reflecting on Johnny Cash’s rendition of the traditional African American folk ballad “Ballad of John Henry,” Brooks articulated that, in contrast to its past human-driven approach, the music industry is now being shaped by AI applications and streaming services. Radio station programmers who used to control listener engagement no longer do so; digital algorithms have overtaken their role.

Providing a fond memory of his attendance to the CRS conferences in 1989 and 1990, Brooks acknowledged that programmers had “to stare, honestly into the eyes of artists and still judge precisely who the [country music industry’s] next stars would be.

Still, Brooks seems to be open to the idea of AI writing a hit tune. “But if an AI program writes a song that kills me and makes me cry, isn’t that what songwriting is all about?” he pointed out. “If AI gets to that level, I have to be thankful I get to be a fan that one of those songs touches.”

Garth Brooks insists that radio’s time isn’t over

However, Brooks believes nothing will truly replace gut instinct when it comes to art. “Don’t underestimate how powerful you are just as human beings against ratings, streaming numbers, and all that stuff,” Brooks added. “Don’t forget your gut, don’t forget what moves you. That’s the gift God gave you.” The “Red Strokes” crooner also seemed to be concerned about mass media and the internet. “I see the internet entering the dis-information age. … The internet is dangerous … civil war is waiting if we don’t watch out.”

He underlined the significance of radio in safeguarding national solidarity, telling those in attendance that broadcasters should emphasize to their listeners a single golden rule formulated as an influential query: “Do people listening to you feel better about the future?”

The record-breaking solo artist Brooks likened the current struggles of radio to a timeless fable about John Henry and his battle against an automated drill machine. Despite giving it all he had, John Henry ended up lifeless with a hammer in hand as the ultimate testament to human resilience. “Heart differentiates the man from a machine,” Brooks explained. “Radio’s time isn’t coming to an end.”

As he highlighted, his initial pop achievement arrived at a time of rock’s shift away from metal to grunge, urban music’s attempt at balancing rap and R&B, as well as house music’s endeavor to recreate disco’s accomplishments. “People needed something [back then],” Brooks said. “Radio is the window to the people. It could’ve been anybody, but it was me.”

Early on in the discussion, Brooks made a remark that encapsulates the keystone to his success and all of modern country radio and America’s as well. “Communication makes everything better.”