Musicians globally have expressed concerns that artificial intelligence could undermine creativity, yet the CEO of a prominent platform, BandLab, argues that such fears are misguided. BandLab, headquartered in Singapore, is a largely free online music workstation and distribution service with over 100 million users. The platform recently introduced an AI tool called SongStarter, which aids in creating music based on genre, key, tempo, and lyrical prompts. CEO Kuok Meng Ru emphasizes that AI is not intended to replace human creativity but to inspire it. He notes, 'It's not called SongFinisher. It's called SongStarter. It's not trying to replace people's creativity... (with) a vending machine approach of a magic button where you press and a song comes out.'

Advocates of platforms like BandLab claim they have transformed the music industry by enabling artists to act as their own producers and by making affordable home recordings more accessible. However, many musicians worry that AI could be used to mimic voices and sounds, making it even tougher for professional artists to survive in a highly competitive market. Despite these concerns, Kuok, a fan of Radiohead and from a wealthy family, believes the trend towards self-production is irreversible. One of BandLab's notable successes is American indie artist d4vd, who recorded and mastered his hit song 'Romantic Homicide' entirely on the app, surpassing one billion Spotify streams.

Kuok views BandLab as an instrument rather than a replacement for talent. He foresees a shift in the definition of music creators, akin to how mobile phones have transformed photography. New AI features like Voice Cleaner are being introduced to improve vocal recording quality. Kuok urges critics to view AI as a tool that amplifies human creativity rather than ending it. He compares the technological evolution of AI to historical innovations like the phonograph, which initially sparked fears among musicians.

Kuok, who holds a Cambridge mathematics degree and is a fan of various music genres, would pitch BandLab's social features to artists like Thom Yorke of Radiohead. His diverse background includes ownership of Swee Lee, a leading musical instrument retailer in Asia, and he humorously acknowledges his connection to the music industry through his family's business.