The GiantSteps project created tools to help amateurs and professionals compose electronic music.

Giantsteps: Artificial Intelligence for music

The GiantSteps project has helped amateur and professional musicians to combine techniques and technologies in new ways when creating music. Its goal was to overcome the limitations of current digital music production tools and create more powerful, inspirational, collaborative, affordable, and user-friendly music creation systems. Many of the ideas developed within the project are being integrated into commercial apps and tools that have already reached large audiences: they have been used by artists like Björk, Coldplay, and the UK band Nero. Native Instruments, an industrial partner for the project, has become a leading manufacturer of software and hardware for computer-based audio production and DJ-ing.

The project united leading music research institutions, industrial research and development companies, and musicians to develop artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning-based tools in the area of electronic music production technology. It focused on three areas: developing AI tools to help composers in need of inspiration, adapting new music analysis methods for use on portable devices, and improving the interactive nature of music composition and production software. The results have helped musicians work more efficiently: amateurs with minimal experience can create, mix and synchronise high quality soundtracks, while professionals are assisted by smart functions that carry out tedious tasks so that they can focus on the creative process. Five commercial products and three product updates were released by industrial partners (Native Instruments and Reactable Systems) during the project’s lifetime and more releases are expected in the near future, while some tools and datasets developed by the project are available open source in GitHub.

Giantsteps in brief

  • Total Budget: EUR 4,220,216 (EU contribution: EUR 2,900,000)
  • Duration: 11/2013-10/2016
  • Countries involved: France (coordinator), Austria, Germany, Spain, Netherlands

Key figures in the European Union

  • Studies estimate that AI could contribute up to EUR 13.3 trillion to the global economy by 2030.
  • In 2017, only 25% of large enterprises and 10% of SMEs in the EU used big data analytics.
  • Around EUR 1.1 billion was invested in AI-related research and innovation in 2014-2017 as part of the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme, including in big data, health, rehabilitation, transport and space-oriented research.

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

AI is one of the most promising technologies for economic growth and addressing societal challenges in the years ahead. The new wave of AI-based innovations will profoundly impact not only digital products and services, but also traditional industry and the non- ICT sector, and will help to improve people’s everyday lives.

In April 2018 the European Commission presented a series of measures to increase public and private investment in AI, to prepare for socio-economic changes, and ensure an appropriate ethical and legal framework. The new Digital Europe programme that the Commission is proposing for 2021-27, with an overall budget of EUR 9.2 billion, also includes EUR 2.45 billion of funding for AI.

Download the full project success story.

Project website