August 25, 2023 I by Brendan Alviani
Using AI to Your Advantage
On November 30, I plan to bake a small birthday cake, so I can blow out one single candle. This is not only an excuse to enjoy some tasty cake, but also to commemorate the one-year anniversary of the announcement of OpenAI’s ChatGPT — potentially the largest game-changer in generative AI yet. Despite it not even having been a year since ChatGPT was announced, the AI platform has elicited wonder, excitement, fear, anxiety and confusion from the public, with an avalanche of AI advances getting announced, seemingly every day.
With something as overwhelming as artificial intelligence, where do we start? Simple, the trick is to start simple. Literally go to chat.openai.com and create a free account. Don’t wait until tomorrow, do it now. It takes less than five minutes, and it’s painless. Then, just play with it. Get a feel for it. It’ll take some time to really get a good intuitive feel for AI, so let’s start now.
Getting familiar with any tech tool is a very important first step to understanding the potential and limitations of it before you even try implementing it into your workflow. Later, you may also experiment with upgrading to ChatGPT Plus for $20 per month — for the “smarter” model— and/or trying competitive products, such as Microsoft’s Bing Chat and Google’s Bard.
Now, as a ChatGPT user, you can type in any request to get more information. For instance, try something that applies to your business, such as “write about how to pick a good piano.” ChatGPT will “magically” write a full-length blog post for you. It does so after reading trillions of words on the internet, with more than 175 billion parameters, so typically the results look pretty impressive. Because it operates similarly to a very smart auto-correct (like the one on your phone), it’s worth noting a few things:
- It’s not necessarily lined up with reality, so these Large Language Models (LLMs) have a well-documented propensity to “hallucinate” facts, quite confidently.
- It will probably give you some interesting ideas, but also some banal, useless or off-base ones, too.
- The language of the output will typically be articulate, but pretty bland and generic.
With these limitations in mind, I recommend focusing on having ChatGPT assist you with things you’re knowledgeable about, so that you can quickly fact-check it, cut the BS and refine the language as necessary.
Using AI in Your Music Business
There are a few ways to use AI in your marketing, for example, when it comes to brainstorm marketing ideas. When using ChatGPT, format the question like how you might ask your coworker. Give it the basic parameters of the request and ask it to generate 20–30 ideas for you, so you can sort through the good, the bad, and the ugly, and get inspired.
You can also use it to draft creative content. This can be for your store’s blog, social media feeds or YouTube channel. You’ll have to adapt what it generates, but it can greatly speed up the process and give you extra ideas for a more creative final product.
For this first article, I’ve focused solely on ChatGPT, to keep it simple. However, on the website, ThereIsAnAIForThat.com, there are more than 4,500 AI tools listed, covering a vast array of industries and applications. It’s very exciting what these tools can do to transform your business, improve customer service, get projects done faster and produce slicker marketing materials.
Some of these, we’ll cover in future columns. While I’m sure many of the more tech-savvy readers of Music Inc. have already experimented with some of these tools, I’m hoping that everyone can benefit from giving AI a try. In future columns, we’ll be making it accessible to readers with even the most basic levels of technical sophistication and provide actionable steps that you can take to improve your music retailing business today. MI
Brendan Alviani is the president of Family Piano Co in Waukegan, Illinois, by day, but has spent every day for over a year learning about artificial intelligence for various side-projects. Here, he hopes to use his English degree from Vanderbilt to distill the most relevant AI info for the MI community. He welcomes feedback at Brendan@FamilyPiano.com.