Beatles and AI: why everyone is talking about the new song

A trending topic of the day is a song called “Now and Then”. This is the latest single from Beatles, available on all major music streaming platforms. But why does the tech community also talk so much about the “new” song by the historic British band? The answer might make purists turn up their noses: if we can listen to this song today, it is above all thanks to theartificial intelligence and machine learning.

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and the Beatles

That’s it, Now and Then And The Beatles’ latest singlebut its “birth” dates back to 1995. A few months ago, Paul McCartney e Ringo Starr they thought well of exploiting the most modern technologies – artificial intelligence and machine learning – to create a song starting from a lo-fi recording by the late John Lennon.

In truth, already in the 90s McCartney, Starr and Harrison tried to work on Now and Then to then be able to include it in the collection Anthology. At the time, however, technical problems made it impossible to come up with anything good. «In John’s demo, the piano was a bit of a problem. And in those days, of course, we didn’t have the technology to separate the voice from the instrument», declared McCartney in mini-documentary concerning the new song. «It took us almost a quarter of a century to wait for the right moment to get closer to “Now and Then” again».

The turning point came a few years ago, when director Peter Jackson began working on the documentary Get Back (available on Disney+). In fact, his team managed to create a tool based on machine learning capable of extrapolate all the different elements of any piece of musiceven qualitatively poor demos.

At that moment, McCartney and Starr realized the enormous opportunity to take a dive into the past and give “Now and Then” the ending it deserved. McCartney then recorded his own bass track, Starr added drums and Giles Martin (producer) inserted a string arrangement inspired by his father’s.

It was born like this the definitive version of Now and Then:

But how many appreciated the initiative? There are those who are against it, of course, and those who are enthusiastic about the work done. As Sean Ono Lennonaccording to which his father would have loved this experimentation with technology.


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