Songs with AI elements can win a Grammy, says Grammy CEO

“We don’t want to see technology replace human creativity," said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason jr.
Sejal Sharma
CEO and President of Recording Academy Harvey Mason jr
CEO and President of Recording Academy Harvey Mason jr

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Given the pace at which artificial intelligence is creeping into our lives, industries positively or negatively affected by technology are setting guardrails and standards to accommodate and adapt.

One such industry which has been massively affected by AI is the music industry.

With the growing possibility that AI will be used increasingly in songs sung or written by artists, the CEO and President of the Recording Academy, which hosts the prestigious Grammys every year, has said that AI-generated music is eligible to win a Grammy.

“Here’s the super easy, headline statement: AI, or music that contains AI-created elements is absolutely eligible for entry and for consideration for Grammy nomination. Period,” said Harvey Mason jr to The Associated Press. “What’s not going to happen is we are not going to give a Grammy or Grammy nomination to the AI portion.”

Music with AI elements can win a Grammy

This comes a month after the Recording Academy announced a series of changes to the way the Grammy Awards are awarded. One rule said “only human creators” can win the music industry’s highest honor.

Simply put, if AI is used in the lead vocals of a song, the track is eligible to be nominated in the songwriting category, and not the performance category since a human has not carried out the said performance. If the lyrics of a song were written with AI's help but were sung by a human, the track will neither be eligible for the songwriting category nor the composition 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,” said Mason. 

“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,” he added.

Music industry faces the AI music

Over the last couple of months, we have seen how fake songs using machine learning have been generated, music streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music scrambling to take down AI-generated songs violating the platform’s rules. 

While many are not open to incorporating AI into the future, a music stalwart like Paul McCartney is working on an old Beatles song from which John Lennon’s voice will be extracted using AI.

Asked whether the new Beatles song would be eligible for a Grammy nomination, Mason remained cryptic and said he would first have to look at the technology being used.

“I’ve met with the copyright office. We’ve talked about the future and what that looks like on a federal and legislative level,” Mason said, adding that AI conversations “really came to a head in the last six months.”

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