Artificial Intelligence-Generated Music A Long Way Off from Grammy Recognition

Fake Drake’s hopes of winning a Grammy have been dashed. Harvey Mason Jr., the CEO of the Recording Academy, revealed this week that while the organization will consider music featuring limited AI-generated voices or instrumentation for awards, it will only honor songs that are predominantly written and performed by humans.

In an interview with Grammy.com, Mason stated, “We will allow AI music and content to be submitted, but Grammy recognition will be reserved for human creators who have made significant creative contributions in the appropriate categories. If a song features an AI voice or AI-generated instrumentation, it will be taken into consideration. However, in categories focused on songwriting, a human must have predominantly written it. Similarly, only human performers will be eligible for Grammys in performance categories. If AI has handled the songwriting or created the music, that’s a separate consideration. But for now, Grammys will be awarded to human creators.”

These comments from the CEO imply that the song “Heart on My Sleeve” by Fake Drake and The Weeknd, which gained viral attention earlier this year before being removed from streaming platforms due to copyright issues, would not be eligible for a Grammy. In April, another AI-generated fraudster sold fake Frank Ocean tracks for approximately CAD 13,000 ($9,722 USD), and Spotify has been actively deleting thousands of AI-created songs from its library.

However, such a stance raises questions about artists like Holly Herndon, who used an AI version of her own voice for a cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” While the AI-generated performance may suggest otherwise, the fact that it’s Herndon’s own voice might make a difference. Additionally, there’s the upcoming “final” Beatles track, for which Paul McCartney mentioned using AI to isolate a distorted recording of John Lennon’s voice. Would Taryn Southern, who openly used AI to co-produce her debut album in 2018, also be eligible? We have reached out to the Recording Academy for clarification on these examples and will update this article if we receive a response.

Awards or not, Mason acknowledged that AI will disrupt the music industry. He remarked, “AI will undeniably play a significant role in shaping the future of our industry. Therefore, we need to start considering its impact and what it means for us. How can we adapt and accommodate? How can we establish guidelines and standards? There are various aspects related to AI and our industry that need attention.” The CEO also mentioned that the Recording Academy recently hosted a summit where industry leaders, tech entrepreneurs, streaming platforms, and members of the artist community gathered to discuss the future of AI. “We addressed the topic and explored how the Recording Academy can be of assistance, how we can contribute to the future of AI in music.”

 

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