Recording Academy CEO Affirms Grammy Eligibility for Music Incorporating AI Elements

The music industry is grappling with the growing presence of artificial intelligence (AI) in music production, as the Recording Academy recently announced that AI-generated music will be eligible for Grammy Awards in the 2024 award cycle.

In an interview with the Associated Press on July 4, Harvey Mason Jr., the CEO and President of the Recording Academy, clarified that music containing AI elements will be considered for Grammy nominations. However, he emphasized that the Academy will not give a Grammy solely to the AI portion of a track. For instance, if an AI voice model performs lead vocals, the track may be eligible for consideration in the songwriting category, but not in the performance category, and vice versa.

Mason explained that the Academy’s intention is to prevent technology from replacing human creativity and instead ensure that it enhances and complements it. While AI will play a role in music production, the Academy currently does not have plans to award AI itself.

The Academy’s updated rules and eligibility criteria, released on June 28, state that works with no human authorship are not eligible for any Grammy categories. These clarifications reflect the Academy’s efforts to adapt to the evolving landscape of AI in music.

The use of AI in music has gained momentum since the introduction of AI chatbot ChatGPT in November 2022. Some artists, like Grimes, have embraced AI technology, offering to share royalties with creators who use her voice track for successful songs. However, not all artists are receptive to AI. Rapper Ice Cube, known for his work with N.W.A., has expressed concerns about AI, referring to it as demonic and indicating his willingness to take legal action against anyone mimicking his voice on AI-generated tracks and the platforms hosting such songs.

The Recording Academy has been actively considering the inclusion or exclusion of AI in the Grammy Awards and recently organized a summit with industry leaders to discuss the future of AI in music. Mason anticipates that AI technology will play a significant role in many records and songs produced this year. As an example, shortly after the new Grammy rules were announced, Paul McCartney revealed that “the last Beatles record” involved AI extractions of John Lennon’s voice.

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