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What the f*ck is Thunderboom Records?

Thunderboom Records is the world's first robot record label. It probably sounds like every musician's worst nightmare. After all, what good are robots to musicians who can also make music and stand on stage? For Max Tiel and Joost de Boo, this question was exactly the reason to set up Thunderboom Records.

WAIVE is an AI-driven DJ tool that uses sounds from Sound & Vision's audio archive material.

Thunderboom Records was founded three years ago as a foundation to ensure that new technology always continues to add to our human creativity. As Max puts it: “We want to ensure that the latest technology, such as AI, enriches our creative expression as much as possible and strengthens the position of musicians in the music industry. We hope to prevent new technology from threatening the creative process of musicians.”

Thunderboom Records does this by developing and testing creative technology concepts together with musicians and their audience. These are, for example, virtual robot artists who release new music together with human artists. But also unique tools with which a DJ can run live back-to-back with an AI system and receive creative suggestions.

Fi is an AI-powered virtual artist who collaborates with human musicians. Fi has a unique fluid appearance.

Does this mean that every musician should start working with AI? Absolutely not. “New technology is going to play an increasingly important role in the music industry and we especially want to help musicians to use this technology properly and safely.” Simply put, Thunderboom Records helps musicians better understand and take advantage of technology.

This mission originated from the idea that technological developments, such as artificial intelligence and avatars, will continue to increase and will change the music industry even more radically in the coming years. But these new developments come with risks and it is important that artists are helped in this, says Joost.

Joost (left) and Max (right) at the Audio Collaborative conference in London 2022.

“It is not always clear what data is used to build an AI system and it is not always clear what happens to the intellectual property of the end users.” It is also often unclear to users why AI creates certain texts, pictures or melodies. “There are many cases where the AI even generates racist and sexist texts, images or music.”

To make musicians resilient in the rapidly changing music industry, Max and Joost therefore give workshops and regularly speak at conferences and schools. “The Open Culture Tech project is a great way for us to further propagate our mission and to work together with musicians on a sustainable music industry in which public values are central and in which every musician is given the opportunity to work in a safe and critical manner. with the latest technology”.

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*This article is the first in a series of articles introducing the initiators of Open Culture Tech.


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