Important note: Humans can use AI to make music and still bag a Grammy
Organizers change rules as generative ML takes over everything
Artists using machine learning software to make music can win a Grammy someday, thanks to a change in the awards' rules.
The Recording Academy, the organization in charge of the Grammy Awards, updated its eligibility criteria earlier this month, stating only human musicians can be nominated and win.
On Tuesday, CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr clarified that artists who use AI to craft songs are still eligible for awards. But the specific parts of music created by machines will not be recognized for certain categories and the software can't claim credit.
If AI is used to generate an artificial voice for the lead vocals of a track, the piece could be eligible for the songwriting category but not the performance category, for example, he told reporters. If a human sung the song, and AI was used to write the lyrics or the backing track, the song would not be eligible for the composition or songwriting category, though it could be considered for the performance category.
"As long as the human is contributing in a more than de minimis amount, which to us means a meaningful way, they are and will always be considered for a nomination or a win," he said. "We don't want to see technology replace human creativity. We want to make sure technology is enhancing, embellishing, or additive to human creativity. So that's why we took this particular stand in this award cycle."
The changes come as at least some musicians turn to artificial intelligence to create music. The technology, however, is controversial and opinions are divided on how it should be used.
Paul McCartney revealed an upcoming Beatles track contains AI-generated audio copying John Lennon's voice, making it possible for fans to hear music that sounds as if the band had got back together, despite Lennon being murdered in 1980 and George Harrison dying of lung cancer in 2001.
- Record label drops AI rapper after backlash over stereotypes
- Musicians threaten to make Oasis 'Live Forever' with AI
- Music bosses go after Twitter's unlicensed soundtrack to the tune of $250M
- Happy birthday MIDI 1.0: Getting pop stars wired for 30 years
Meanwhile, Nick Cave, an Australian singer-and-songwriter, told a fan in a letter that a ChatGPT-made song in the style of his own lyrics "doesn't look good."
"What ChatGPT is, in this instance, is replication as travesty," he said. "ChatGPT may be able to write a speech or an essay or a sermon or an obituary but it cannot create a genuine song. It could perhaps in time create a song that is, on the surface, indistinguishable from an original, but it will always be a replication, a kind of burlesque."
A track, Heart On My Sleeve, using AI-generated vocals that sounded like Canadian rapper Drake and singer The Weeknd, was removed from most streaming platforms after going viral in April. The artists' record label, Universal Music Group, slammed the song's maker for imitating their talent.
Other artists are more supportive of having their voices ripped off, however, such as electronic-pop musician and ex-Elon-Musk-lover Grimes, who said she would be happy to split royalties 50-50 with anyone who used AI to mimic her voice for new tracks. ®