On Friday, the Recording Academy did for AI what film and TV have yet to do: It drew a line. Quite simply, AI can’t win a Grammy. Only a human can be presented, be nominated for, or win music’s highest honor.
IndieWire called a real live human being, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr., to explain his position. Perhaps the surprising guild of writers and probably the surprising guild of film actors can use this as leverage. At the very least, it should provide more leverage than the pending directors guild deal.
Bottom line: If a song or album doesn’t have “human authorship,” it’s ineligible for submission to the Grammys Anyone category. A human has to write the music and/or lyrics, and a human has to perform the music.
However… that doesn’t mean that AI is forbidden. If a songwriter uses AI to create an AI-generated vocal track, the human writer could still get a Grammy composition for the underlying music. If an artist sang on a track entirely generated by artificial intelligence, the singer could be nominated for a Grammy performance. AI still has a place at the Grammys, but only as a tool for the artists behind them.
“There is a question of how AI will affect all of us. We know for a fact that AI will play a role in music, entertainment, art and entertainment,” Mason told IndieWire. “We’re not banning AI recordings at all. We’re saying we know that AI will play a role in the process of creating the music. We are not going to award an AI or a Grammy to a computer. I don’t even know what that would be like. What we are saying is that only human creativity or human performance is eligible for a nomination or a win at the Grammys”.
So, could “Heart on My Sleeve” – a collaboration between AI versions of Drake and The Weeknd, which blew up on TikTok before it was quickly taken down for copyright reasons: Winning a Grammy? The complicated answer: AI Drake or the Weeknd can’t, but anonymous @ghostwriter977 (who is, indeed, a person) can.
“We make it crystal clear so you don’t get people to misunderstand,” Mason said. “The song, first of all, is permissible; we wouldn’t give a Grammy to AI versions of Drake or the Weeknd or any artist who isn’t the real human version of their voice or vocal performance. It would be eligible for whoever wrote the song and whoever created the track and music. We’d look at the publication and say it was created by a human, that’s permissible.
In the case of “Heart on My Sleeve,” Mason says he spoke to “Ghostwriter,” the person behind the hit track (no, he didn’t tell us who it was) and informed some of the Academy’s thoughts on these big issues .
“We spent time talking about it, how he’s using it, what the process was, what his thoughts and concerns were,” Mason said. “He’s very, very knowledgeable and has given us great ideas and insights into what the future of music could be using that technology.”
Artificial intelligence is nothing new to the music industry. Bedroom artists and garage bands have long used apps and tools to create entire backing tracks or to manipulate their sound. However, Mason said Ghostwriter was “a game changer. The record he created made us all sit up, take notice and pay attention. Something is happening here with this technology. To have someone use AI to have a hit record, which is actually a hot record, that sounds like something we all want, has brought an awareness, both an excitement and a concern, to the industry, to the whole the creative community and the Academy.
The Grammys’ AI rules allow songwriters and producers to use technology just like they did with synthesizers or sampling. Mason quoted Grimes, who She said he would split the royalties with anyone who wanted to use an AI version of his synthesized voice to make a song.
Its location has been controversial among the creators. Some believe that as long as it is clear that a song is not an original Grimes track and is identified as AI Grimes, it is a great opportunity to create some hits, raise your profile and even provide market research on what fans might want . Next. (All with proper remuneration and attribution, of course.) Others see it as a threat to their brand, likeness, artistry.
“What’s promising is that artists still feel an opportunity to use technology to improve what they do,” said Mason. “You would never want to see it remove our creativity or take the place of our creativity, but after having these conversations, I hear more and more people excited about the potential it has to enhance or amplify our creativity. People are nervous, I’m concerned, we’re all concerned, and as far as artists are concerned, there has to be a fair and equitable way for them to hold ownership of their voice and likeness to make sure other people aren’t. t go wild with their personal talents, voice and sound.
The AI Grimes are yet to win a Grammy, but Mason clarified that the current AI rules are the standard “for this year.” So not today, but maybe one day yes.
“As our industry evolves, technology evolves, our community, creators and members change the way they’re making music, and if something else comes up that we haven’t thought of, we’ll review again,” he said. “Not this year, and I mean that on purpose. Not this year.”
Writers, directors and actors are freaking out about artificial intelligence, as is the recording industry. Mason said he’s heard everything from “absolute terror” to “tremendous excitement” from creators and technical pros. Some see that AI has the potential for something like Napster to completely revolutionize the industry. Many fear it could take the jobs out of people who have spent their lives behind a soundboard. He hopes the Recording Academy will lead the charge in creating legislation that can regulate the use of AI.
However, he says figuring out whether or not AI works is up to foodies and professionals alike.
“AI isn’t spitting out success records by itself,” he said. “Especially music people. We are resilient and are always able to find a way. We’ve been told all our lives that your music isn’t good, your voice isn’t good, and we’ve always been able to find a way to bounce back. So I see it as a similar challenge here. Artificial intelligence will play a role in our creative process and our music and entertainment process. But we are resilient and we will find a way to use it to create great things”.