Thu, 11 Feb 2021 07:46:08
Somehow, maybe with cosmic intervention, I never tired of hearing “Bad Guy” Billie Eilish. As it turns out, I’m not the only one because tens of thousands of people have tried to cover the song and upload it to YouTube. To celebrate its music video passing 1 billion views, YouTube and Google Creative Lab have turned all of those covers into interactive AI experiments. “Infinite Bad Guy,” which YouTube calls “the world’s first infinite music video,” collects thousands of covers and blends them, using machine learning to align each one within quarter-beats of the original.
Go to billie.withyoutube.com featuring the original “Bad Guy” music video with covers on both sides, against the backdrop of hundreds of tiny video thumbnails floating around a black void. When you click from one video to another, the second will continue the same beat from the first one left. Pausing will display statistics on how many cover versions you’ve watched and how many times you’ve played the song in a full loop. When the song reaches the top of the bridge, the interface color changes from green to red.
Nice and chunkiness of “Infinite Bad Guy”
The nice thing is that they also curate different tags that you can explore. There are predictable keywords like guitar, chorus, and signing (for sign language covers), as well as some funkier options like ASMR, cat, and toy chicken? When I clicked, I became less interested in the actual song and more interested in instrument variations, genres, and mistakes.
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That’s a cool premise, even if it’s not smooth enough. When I tried it, there was a slight lag while each video loaded, so it didn’t really satisfy my desire for a smooth DJ mix. The difference in quality is especially noticeable when the covers are rotated sequentially — out of thousands of covers, not all of them will make great covers. Some “covers” are actually just homemade music videos tuned to the original audio. There’s also no audio leveling from one video to the next, so you’ll probably be fiddling with your volume while browsing the playlist.
While there is some chunkiness, it’s an interesting way to spend a few minutes away from the usual algorithms. I suggest you experience it yourself and see how many melodic solos you can go through before you close the browser.
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