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At SXSW, It Was Goodbye NFTs And Hello AI Music

by Bill Hochberg, Contributor at, March 18, 2023

Where have all the NFT bros gone? That was the common refrain at this year’s South-by-Southwest, the super-sized music-tech-culture conference wrapping up in Austin, Texas.

In 2022, some 40 panels and presentations were focused on the formerly fashionable now-fugacious non-fungible tokens.

(...) The SBF scandal plus the recent collapse of crypto-friendly Signature Bank equaled a massive net loss of interest in NFTs at this year’s confab. A search of the schedule showed half as many NFT-related panels. “The tech world just moves on very quickly to the next big thing,” said Molly White, a tech sceptic and Wikipedia editor who was a keynote speaker.

(...) In place of NFTs, this year’s tech buzz was all around artificial intelligence, including a panel led by the author entitled “Can Robots Create Life-Changing Songs?” and one called “Welcome To The Machine: Art In The Age of A.I.” including musician Dan Navarro, author of Pat Benatar’s hit “We Belong.” These panels took a more conservative approach to the AI-meets-Art craze than the cavalier parade of last year’s NFT party.

AI-created ditties seem too cliched and cringy for prime time, but AI can assist with difficult and menial musical tasks like film score orchestrations and music track mastering. Because of AI’s greater practical utility compared to the more abstract attraction of NFTs, AI music applications are more likely to last, White said.

Photo by Getty Images.

Note : some of the SXSW panels can be listened for free on their website.


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