AI Startup Suno Raises Funds to ‘Democratize Music Creation’

Music startup Suno, which leverages ChatGPT tech with the goal of emulating that app’s success in music, has raised $125 million in Series B funding, resulting in a valuation of $500 million. Founded by Harvard physics PhD turned tech entrepreneur Mikey Shulman, the company is being called “a rising star” in the realm of generative AI. Suno lets people generate original songs by using text prompts or lyrics, with the AI supplying the melodies and harmonies for fully-formed compositions. “We started Suno to build a future where anyone can make music,” according to the company.

The idea is to allow music “to help people rediscover the joy of play and exploration we had as kids,” Shulman says in a blog post emphasizing discovery and fun.

“We released our first product eight months ago, enabling anyone to make a song with just a simple idea,” the post continues, noting “10 million people have already made music using Suno.”

While Suno claims to be used by “Grammy-winning artists,” it states the majority of its users are “everyday people making music, often for the first time.”

“Our mission at Suno is to democratize music creation and unlock the musical creativity within everyone,” VentureBeat quotes Shulman saying, noting that the funding will be used to “accelerate the development of our AI technology, expand our reach, and empower a billion people worldwide to express themselves through music.”

The $125 million Series B round investors include Lightspeed Venture Partners, Nat Friedman and Daniel Gross, Matrix and Founder Collective. VentureBeat says the stature of those backers within the disruptive tech space “speaks volumes about the immense potential of AI in the music industry.”

SiliconANGLE contextualizes that “despite its promise, Suno’s platform isn’t without controversy, and today’s funding round comes amid an ongoing debate over AI’s use of copyrighted data,” adding that “Suno hasn’t revealed what music has been used to train its music-generation models,” making it seem “almost certain that the startup has used materials without the explicit consent of their creators.”

Supporting that thesis, SiliconANGLE suggests “for one thing, many of its musical outputs are somewhat similar to popular songs.”

Music Business Worldwide reports the $500 million valuation is “according to sources cited by The Information” and says the new funds will enable expansion of a staff that “as of earlier this year amounted to just 12 employees.”

“Suno has been soaring in popularity ever since a Rolling Stone article earlier this year described how the AI tech’s ability to create authentic-sounding music unnerved even some of its creators,” MBW adds, noting that “the algorithm uses OpenAI’s ChatGPT to generate lyrics, and its own proprietary algorithms to generate music and vocals.”

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