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  • Writer's pictureAlibek Jakupov

Machine Learning and Music : Grace and Beauty (part VII)

Updated: Nov 19, 2021


I am in need of music that would flow Over my fretful, feeling fingertips, Over my bitter-tainted, trembling lips, With melody, deep, clear, and liquid-slow. Oh, for the healing swaying, old and low, Of some song sung to rest the tired dead, A song to fall like water on my head, And over quivering limbs, dream flushed to glow!

I Am In Need Of Music by Elizabeth Bishop

In the previous article we discussed the timeline of the Artificial Intelligence from 1992 to 1998. In this article we are going to cover the next period of the fascinating history of the AI and music.

2002: Torch, Nickelback and The Eminem Show

Everyone working with modern AI applications is familiar with Torch machine learning library (Python users should know PyTorch). It was first released in 2002 as a software library. However, nowadays it is not only an open-source machine learning library, but also a scientific computing framework, and a script language based on the Lua programming language. It offers a wide range of algorithms for deep learning. Torch uses the scripting language LuaJIT and an underlying C implementation.

The core package of Torch is torch. It provides a flexible N-dimensional array or Tensor, which supports basic routines for indexing, slicing, transposing, type-casting, resizing, sharing storage and cloning. This object is used by most other packages and thus forms the core object of the library. The Tensor also supports mathematical operations like max, min, sum, statistical distributions like uniform, normal and multinomial, and BLAS operations like dot product, matrix-vector multiplication, matrix-matrix multiplication, matrix-vector product and matrix product.

Nevertheless it is important to mention that as of 2018, Torch is no longer in active development.

The most popular album of 2002 was The Eminem Show, the fourth studio album by American rapper Eminem, released on May 26, 2002 by Aftermath Entertainment, Shady Records, and Interscope Records. This album included the commercially successful singles "Without Me", "Cleanin' Out My Closet", "Superman", and "Sing for the Moment".

The Eminem Show reached number one in nineteen countries, including Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States, and was the best-selling album of 2002 in the United States, with 7,600,000 copies sold. Since its release in 2002, the album has sold 10,600,000 copies in the United States and over 30 million copies worldwide. At the 2003 Grammy Awards, it was nominated for Album of the Year and became Eminem's third album in four years to win the award for Best Rap Album. On March 7, 2011, the album was certified 10× Platinum (Diamond) by the RIAA, making it Eminem's second album to go Diamond in the United States.

The most listened pop single of 2002 was "How You Remind Me", a song by Canadian rock band Nickelback.

2006: The Netflix Prize, Daniel Powter and Some Hearts

The most popular single of 2006 was a pop song from Canadian singer Daniel Powter's self-titled second studio album.

Although "Bad Day" received mixed critical reviews, with some music critics praising its "universal appeal" while others felt it lacked depth in its lyrics, it was a commercial success. In 2005, the single charted in the top five in more than ten countries worldwide and became the most played song on European radio. After its European success, it was released in the United States where it topped the Billboard Hot 100, Pop 100, Adult Top 40, and Adult Contemporary charts. In 2006, it became the first song ever to sell two million digital copies in the United States. After another million were sold, it was certified three-times platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) in 2009. It was certified platinum in Australia, Canada, and the United Kingdom, gold in Denmark and Germany, and also received a certification in France and Japan.

The most popular album was Some Hearts, the debut studio album by American singer and songwriter Carrie Underwood, released in the United States on November 15, 2005 by Arista Nashville.

2006 has seen a huge event called The Netflix Prize. This competition was launched by Netflix. The main goal of the competition was to use machine learning to beat Netflix's own recommendation software's accuracy. Netlix's software predicted a user's rating for a film given their ratings for previous films. The aim was to bypass the software accuracy by at least 10%.

2009: ImageNet, Alicia Keys and Low

The Netflix prize, described in the previous section was finally won in 2009. Another huge breakthrough was the creation of ImageNet, a large visual database envisioned by Fei-Fei Li from Stanford University. Fei-Fei Li was conscious enough to understand that the best machine learning algorithms wouldn't work well if the data didn't reflect the real world. There is a large number of developers who consider ImageNet as the catalyst for the Machine Learning boom of the 21st century.

In 2009 the audience chose "Like You'll Never See Me Again", a song by American singer-songwriter Alicia Keys from her third studio album As I Am, as their favorite RnB song.

Upon its release, the song peaked at number twelve on the Billboard Hot 100 and became Keys' second consecutive R&B chart-topper, remaining atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart for seven weeks. It was ranked number forty-seven on Billboard's Top Hot 100 Hits of 2008. The song went on to replace her single "No One" at number one on the US R&B/Hip-Hop charts. In 2008, the song won two NAACP Image Awards for Outstanding Music Video and Outstanding Song, and an ASCAP Rhythm & Soul Music Award for Top R&B/Hip-Hop Song.

The most listened pop single was Flow by Flo Rida featuring T-Pain.

2010: Kaggle, Unthinkable and Susan Boyle

Kaggle is one of the most important and definitely the most popular online machine learning competition. It allows all the passionate engineers, data scientist, data analyst and data engineers to test their skills in solving real-world industrial cases. It was first launched in 2010 as a website that serves as a platform for machine learning competitions.

Kaggle is an online community of data scientists and machine learners, owned by Google LLC. Kaggle allows users to find and publish data sets, explore and build models in a web-based data-science environment, work with other data scientists and machine learning engineers, and enter competitions to solve data science challenges. Kaggle got its start by offering machine learning competitions and now also offers a public data platform, a cloud-based workbench for data science, and short form AI education. On 8 March 2017, Google announced that they were acquiring Kaggle.

Another remarkable event was I Dreamed a Dream, the debut studio album by Scottish singer Susan Boyle. What is special about this album is the fact that Susan Boyle rose to fame after appearing as a contestant on the third series of Britain's Got Talent, singing "I Dreamed a Dream" from Les Misérables.

The album entered the UK album chart at number 1 and became the fastest-selling debut album ever in the UK, selling 411,820 copies, beating the record previously set by Spirit by Leona Lewis and outselling the rest of the top five albums combined during its first week on sale. The album remained at the top spot for four weeks, becoming the biggest selling album in the UK in 2009. In the U.S., I Dreamed a Dream debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200, with 701,000 copies sold in its first week, breaking the record for the highest debut by a new solo female artist in the SoundScan era (post 1991). I Dreamed a Dream became the biggest opening sales week of 2009 in the U.S., beating out Eminem's Relapse which sold 608,000. It was the second-biggest selling album of 2009 in the U.S., with 3.1 million copies sold, right behind Taylor Swift's Fearless at 3.2 million copies. In only six weeks of sales, it became the biggest selling album in the world for 2009.

As in 2009, the most popular RnB singer still was Alicia Keys who released "Un-Thinkable (I'm Ready)", a single that became the most popular RnB song.

In the next chapter we are going to cover the 2010s, which the period that we actually living in.

Hope you enjoyed this chapter.


  1. Collobert, Ronan; Benigo, Samy; Mariethoz, Johnny (30 October 2002). "Torch: a modular machine learning software library" (PDF). Retrieved 5 June 2016.

  2. "The Netflix Prize Rules". Netflix Prize. Netflix. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 16 June 2016.

  3. Gershgorn, Dave. "ImageNet: the data that spawned the current AI boom — Quartz". Retrieved 2018-03-30.

  4. Hardy, Quentin (2016-07-18). "Reasons to Believe the A.I. Boom Is Real". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2018-03-30.

  5. "About". Kaggle. Kaggle Inc. Retrieved 16 June 2016.

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