The Magic Music Box Fallacy

The Magic Music Box Fallacy

The Magic Music Box is an concept I find myself using quite a bit anytime I talk about misconceptions that arise from computer-generated music.

A Magic Music Box generally refers to any computer program that generates an endless stream of music, usually with a few input parameters ("genre" or "style" is usually amongst them).

It's an innocent sounding idea at first, which what makes it so dangerous. It's a common trope one sees in CS students with a music minor. Perhaps you took a music theory class a while back, and learned a thing or two about counterpoint and harmony. Perhaps you find yourself frustrated that pop music has the same chord progression in every song. Surely, one could write a program that follows these rules without too much issue.

For the Suits, what they see in the Magic Music Box problem is a way to automate content creation, a common bottleneck problem that has more recently made itself more prominent in the binge-era of streaming media. It's an easy concept that many people can understand without having an extensive technical or musical background. The simplicity of the concept also makes it dangerous.

The Magic Music Box is a flawed notion because it itself is an unbounded problem incognito. What seems like a low-hanging-fruit idea can quickly turn into a black hole of a project, filled with nothing but bland music that nobody really asked for.

Later, I will expand upon some of the reasons why Magic Music Boxes are doomed to fail.