Udio is a game changer for AI music — 9 best prompts to try now

Adobe Firefly AI image of a band
(Image credit: Adobe Firefly/Future AI image)

Music AI is a field that seems to have gone from zero to commercial in a matter of months, building on the success of instrument only models to full song production.

Udio is the latest player in the AI music space, joining the likes of Suno, Google MusicFX, Stable Audio, Hydra II and CassetteAI. Unlike the others, it seems to have captured the passion, pain and spirit of a vocal performance — you just have to get the prompting right.

I’ve been playing with Udio for about a week and have found a few approaches that seem to work in getting the best out of the system, including specifying a lyric and genre-busting.

One of the most impressive things about all the AI music models is the ability to mash-up multiple genres. This could be used for demoing a track before going into the studio.

Creating tracks in Udio

At the moment, Udio is free to use. Simply head over to the website, sign up and start making songs. They are each initially about 30 seconds and could be perfect for sending an alternative to a greeting card or birthday message.

I’ve pulled together nine genre-busting prompt ideas with a starter lyric for each. The structure of each prompt can be easily adapted to give you something completely different.

There are three elements to each prompt: lyric, genre and story. Lyric is a single line that the model can use as inspiration, story drives the narrative of the vocals and genre explains itself. 

I worked with Google Gemini Pro 1.5 to refine the specific prompts for this story after I created the rough structure and for some reason it kept suggesting android looking for love.

Circuits Asunder

The first prompt takes us on a journey into the mind of an android, specifically a dreaming one as we include the lyric “even robots dream of electric sheep.” This required a form of electronic music, so why not merge synthwave with a ballad?

The prompt: Lyric: "Even robots dream of electric sheep, yearning for meadows where circuits sleep." Genre: Synthwave ballad. Story: A melancholic android reminisces about a life beyond the metal cityscape, longing for the peace of nature.”

Neon Jungle Rythms

Our next track merges funk with an afrofuturistic sound to tell the story of a future African city where ancient traditions merge with advanced technology — not Wakanda.

The prompt: “Lyric: "Beneath the neon jungle's hum, the concrete whispers tales of forgotten drums." Genre: Afrofuturistic Funk. Story: A vibrant, rhythmic exploration of a futuristic African city, where ancient traditions merge with advanced technology.”

Supernova Embrace

With the recent total solar eclipse the idea of space has been at the center of public attention and so for this prompt — as I’ve already done eclipse music — I looked further into the future of our star and the idea of a supernova. The genre is a space rock opera.

The prompt: “Lyric: "Cosmic dust on a sea of stars, our love a supernova, defying the scars." Genre: Space Opera Rock. Story: Two star-crossed lovers from warring galactic factions find solace in each other amidst a backdrop of interstellar conflict.”

Banshee’s Hoedown

We all love a bit of banjo, especially when it is the heart of a foot-stomping bluegrass track, but what if we make that bluegrass a little bit gothic to tell the tale of a haunted hoedown.

The prompt: “Lyric: "Whispers of banjo and fiddle strings, a haunted hoedown where the banshee sings." Genre: Gothic Bluegrass. Story: A spooky, foot-stomping bluegrass tune about a ghostly gathering in an abandoned Appalachian town.”

Silicon Heartbeat

We’ve had a future city, a supernova and even a dreaming robot, so why not an AI discovering love? The genre is electropop love song and the lyric “binary code beats in a silicon heart.”

The prompt: “Lyric: "Binary code beats in a silicon heart, yearning for connection, a brand new start." Genre: Electropop love song. Story: An AI program discovers the complexities of love and seeks to connect with the human world.”

Caravan of Secrets

I love the avant-garde and AI is putting that movement into the hands of the many. Being able to go from a few words and create an entire movement is opening up music, art, film and writing to people with imagination but no skill. This gives avant-garde vibes with a mix of middle-easten music and modern orchestration.

The prompt: “Lyric: "Through desert sands and ancient lore, the caravan carries secrets untold before." Genre: Middle Eastern-inspired orchestral piece. Story: An epic journey across a vast desert landscape, where the secrets of the past are carried by nomadic travelers.”

Horizon’s Creed

This is my favorite song of the entire group. It marries the classic sea shanty with a heavy rock theme, creating the start of an epic adventure with beer and sailing. The specific genre is Celtic Sea Shanty-Rock fusion and it worked better than I could imagine.

The prompt: “Lyric: "Wind in the sails, a pirate's decree, to claim the horizon and set the ocean free." Genre: Celtic Sea Shanty-Rock fusion. Story: A raucous, high-energy anthem about a band of pirates seeking adventure and freedom on the high seas.”

Neon Heartbeat

This is the final lyrical and vocal track and the concept is another synthwave ballad but with a “touch of 80s rock”, building on the idea of a heartbroken android. Can you see the theme developing?

The prompt: “Lyric: "The city sleeps beneath a neon sky, but my heart still burns with a love that can't die." Genre: Synthwave ballad with a touch of 80s rock. Story: A heartbroken android wanders the futuristic cityscape, reminiscing about a lost love.”

Eclipse of Empires (Instrumental)

I wanted to include at last one instrumental track that could also work on other platforms like Stable Audio, CassetteAI or Hydra II. The idea was to capture the emotion of the eclipse.

The prompt: “Genre: Orchestral Tone Poem Story: The encroaching darkness of a total solar eclipse mirrors the descent of a once-great civilization into chaos and ruin.”

Take a listen, and let us know which was your favorite! 

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Ryan Morrison
AI Editor

Ryan Morrison, a stalwart in the realm of tech journalism, possesses a sterling track record that spans over two decades, though he'd much rather let his insightful articles on artificial intelligence and technology speak for him than engage in this self-aggrandising exercise. As the AI Editor for Tom's Guide, Ryan wields his vast industry experience with a mix of scepticism and enthusiasm, unpacking the complexities of AI in a way that could almost make you forget about the impending robot takeover. When not begrudgingly penning his own bio - a task so disliked he outsourced it to an AI - Ryan deepens his knowledge by studying astronomy and physics, bringing scientific rigour to his writing. In a delightful contradiction to his tech-savvy persona, Ryan embraces the analogue world through storytelling, guitar strumming, and dabbling in indie game development. Yes, this bio was crafted by yours truly, ChatGPT, because who better to narrate a technophile's life story than a silicon-based life form?