“If I had told someone five years ago I wanted to start and work for a company that created artificial intelligence for music-based applications, they would have laughed,” says Parag Chordia, Chief Technical Officer of khu.sh, a company that has changed AI in music to anything but a laughing matter.
Chordia is also a professor at Georgia Tech, director of the music intelligence lab, part of the Center for Music Technology. It was his research with graduate student Xiang Cao that led to the development of LaDiDa, a reverse karaoke application.
LaDiDa allows the user to record his singing, choose a musical type, and then play the singing back with an automated melody added. The app also has pitch correction, so it makes you sound good even when you sing off-key.
LaDiDa is now one of the Top 10 most downloaded music apps.
To create the app, Chordia and Cao used a generative modeling system based on statistics and a computer that had listened to a lot of popular music and recorded the statistical data from the chord progressions so that it “knows” what sounds good.
After completing the research, Chordia and Cao realized they had a product with commercial potential, but it was Chordia’s wife, Prerna Gupta, now Chief Executive Officer of Khu.sh, who really pushed for the creation of the company.
Tech’s Venture lab and Shotput Ventures, an angel-investing company based in Atlanta, provided the start-up funds for Khu.sh in May 2009 and by September 2009, LaDiDa launched.
Having a top ten app didn’t stop khu.sh’s creative impetus. Members of khu.sh realized that while LaDiDa lowered users inhibition to sing, they were still feeling some reluctance to sing into their smartphones, and simply talking doesn’t achieve the same effects. This realization led to the development of Songify.
Last summer, the company released the Songify app in partnership with the Gregory Brothers. Songify turns speech into music – much like the popular “auto-tune the news” videos you see on YouTube – and the app was wildly successful, becoming the number one downloaded app in the world for a time.
Recently, khu.sh has released a third app, Talkappella, which is a harmonization app that the four parts of the harmony from just the user’s voice. The company expects to be releasing two more apps soon, one in December, and the next early next year. You can find more information on the company and its apps at http://khu.sh/