Mar 29, 2023 - Economy

Timbaland plotting collaboration with an AI artist

Timbaland speaks at Axios' What's Next Summit in Washington, D.C. on March 29. Photo: Axios

Musical sensation Timbaland’s latest innovation could cause you to rethink what’s real.

What's happening: The rapper-producer said Wednesday at Axios’ What’s Next Summit that he’s considering incorporating fictitious AI influencer Lil Miquela into his next musical endeavor.

  • “I don't want to get into details but … you've never seen Timbaland with an AI artist,” he told Axios' Hope King. “Who I’m enjoying now is watching Lil Miquela. She's an AI robot, and I'm like, man, imagine if I stood beside her with a dope-ass song.”

Zoom out: Timbaland, who cofounded Beatclub to nurture budding musical artists, appeared on stage alongside co-founder Gary Marella and creative partner Zayd Portillo.

  • He also had positive things to say about video-sharing service Triller after reportedly settling a lawsuit with the company.
  • TikTok and Triller “are dictating the new new,” he said.
  • "TikTok might be gone, so they're gonna be other" services, Timbaland said, referring to debate in Washington over whether to ban TikTok.
  • “We’re pushing for Triller,” Marella added.

Timbaland said he still enjoys the “art of discovery” in music despite a deluge of new tracks every year on platforms like Spotify and SoundCloud.

  • To me it’s never enough,” he said. “I’m a hunter.”

Marella said Beatclub, which he said has “under 100,000” members after moving beyond an invitation-only phase, empowers independent artists.

The intrigue: TikTok has revolutionized how people discover new tunes, Timbaland said, but he insisted he’s keeping pace.

  • “Music is a young sport,” he said. “Some people feel like (they're) older now. … Not me. I’m still 19 at heart.”

He added that he tries to serve as an example for aspiring musicians hoping to break into the business.

  • “I am music," he said. "I am what you are trying to be."
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