Producing music for AI with Humtap

As part of the larger Abbey Road family, Abbey Road Institute students have access to an incredible network of music industry connections, including Europe’s first music tech startup Abbey Road Red. That relationship works both ways! Humtap is an artificial intelligence-driven music production platform and a current member of Abbey Road Red. When Founder and CEO Tamer Rashad needed music producers to join Humtap’s team, he put the call out to Abbey Road Institute’s campuses around the world. We spoke to Tamer and two of our three graduates – Carlos and Sebastian – who joined the Humtap team from London and Berlin.

What is Humtap?

Please introduce yourself and tell us about this incredible app, Humtap.
I’m Tamer, the founder, and CEO of Humtap; an AI music generative platform. We’re all about one thing, creating original music content. We’ve started with a platform on mobile devices; we have a free app available globally on Apple’s App Store, yet our technology is much more adaptable to other applications.

There are two things Humtap does that makes it different from other music generation technologies out there. First, our music is generated in real-time, and second, it’s on 100% all created on mobile devices, like an iPhone. It’s not an interface that’s talking to a server; it’s all on the mobile device itself.

So how does Humtap work?
Our name says it all: users can use Humtap to create a song in any genre. All you need to do is hum a melody and tap a beat. We cover every style from rock to hip-hop, pop, dance, you name it; the magic of Humtap will create it for you. Right now we’re working on introducing Arabic music, Latin, reggae, and country. Eventually, we’ll be adding Bollywood and many more. You can also generate music in the style of artists like Drake, Depeche Mode, Calvin Harris, Metallica – we can do this for most artists.

From student to producer

Ah, so is that why you needed music producers to join the team?
Yes! At some point late last year we were approached by Abbey Road Red, and they wanted to bring Humtap into the program. That coincided with us thinking that we needed a music producer to come and join us; someone who understands music production. When I learned about Abbey Road Institute, I decided to post our job openings there. I knew there were more branches across Europe as well as the Australian one, and we received quite a few excellent resumes.

I interviewed at least seven candidates, and I was very impressed with everyone. I was looking to add one producer, but there were three candidates in particular that I really wanted to work with; Sebastian in Berlin, and Carlos and David in London (David sadly couldn’t join us for the interview). We decided to take on all three!

Sebastian, you joined Humtap from Abbey Road Institute Berlin: why did you want to be part of Humtap?
As a student, one of the assignments we had to complete was to present a business idea. The funny thing is that the plan that I submitted for my final exam had something to do with user-generated music content with elements of AI. So when Humtap posted the position with the institute in Berlin, it was suggested I might want to look into it!

I had a few Skype calls with Tamer who presented the concept. I was immediately fascinated and very intrigued … that’s how it all started, and I’ve been with Humtap ever since.

Can you describe your work?
There are lots of layers to what we do. There is much assessing what is being produced, and a lot of sound design. We’re continually trying to optimize our process so that we have more sounds and styles on the app, but without taking up too much space. It’s a balance of sampling, synthesis, sound design, composition and assessment of the AI composition.

Carlos, what do you like about working at Humtap?
It’s an exciting opportunity because it’s a music production job, but it’s on the edge of technology. The “next big thing” right now is AI, and naturally, music was going to be part of that movement as well. You do indeed have to use all your music production skills and the skills that you’ve learned during the course: sound design, music analysis, song structure analysis, etc.

We analyze as much music as we can to best feed the AI, and come up with great music along with the user’s musical input; the hum and the tap. I am enjoying every moment of this. It’s a lot of fun, and it’s fascinating as well.

Music is for everyone

Some people find the idea of AI-generated music a little … unsettling. Tamer, what do you say to those people?
We built Humtap based on some fundamental premises: The first is that not everyone is a musician, yet everyone is creative. The second is that people have become very accustomed to expressing themselves with content that is their own, we call it UGC or user-generated content. We’re not just sharing other people’s photos, for example; it’s our own photos and videos. What’s missing from that medium is music!

For those of us who aren’t musicians, there are so many barriers to overcome in order to create music: you need to have an instrument, learn how to play it, buy hardware, software, and you need to be able to record.

We’re not trying to take anything away from professional musicians; Humtap just gives a tiny little bit of power to the rest of the population to express themselves with original music content using nothing more than their voice.

Ready to embrace the future of music making? Check out our Advanced Diploma in Music Production and Sound Engineering or contact us for more information.