Artificial Intelligence Takes the Stage: AI Songs Could Bag a Grammy

There has hardly been an industry unaffected by artificial intelligence, so music is no exception. In light of the escalating potential for AI to play a greater role in both the composition and performance of songs the CEO and President of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason jr has come up with a surprising decision.

The CEO of the organization responsible for hosting the annual Grammy Awards announced that AI-generated music is now eligible to receive a Grammy. Yet, not all AI songs will qualify.

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Illustration: Lenka T.

Artificial intelligence is rapidly entering various aspects of our lives. To respond to it, industries are actively establishing safeguards and guidelines to embrace and adjust to the changes. One such industry that is considerably affected by artificial intelligence is music. 

With the emergence of AI-generated music, the question that lingers is whether copyright law should and does apply to it. The answer is it doesn’t precisely apply as such music not considered a copy, but original. It’s up to artists and labels to decide whether they will fight or embrace it. 

Harvey Mason jr, the CEO and President of the Recording Academy, the host of annual Grammy Awards, could be among the first to solve the dilemma. Namely, Mason officially declared that AI-generated music is perfectly acceptable. “AI, or music that contains AI-created elements is absolutely eligible for entry and for consideration for Grammy nomination. What’s not going to happen is we are not going to give a Grammy or Grammy nomination to the AI portion.” 

“Technology will not replace human creativity” 

This decision followed the Recording Academy announcement that the way Grammys are awarded would undergo a series of changes. One rule strictly noted that human creators only could win the prestigious music award. The work in which there is no human authorship will not qualify for any category.  

To clarify, if AI is used for the lead vocals in a song, the track becomes eligible for nomination in the songwriting category. What the song will not be nominated for is the performance category as it’s not sung by a human.  

On the other hand, if AI wrote the lyrics of a song that a human later performed, the track would not be eligible for either the songwriting or the composition category. 

Mason elaborated on such a decision, highlighting that so long as the human is contributing to the song in “a more than de minimis amount,” they will be nominated for the award. “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,” Mason added. 

AI generated songs in music industry 

In recent months, there has been a growing trend of fake songs generated through machine learning. Such music led popular music streaming platforms such as Apple Music and Spotify to take down AI-generated songs that violate their platform rules. 

Not everyone is happy incorporating AI into the future of music. However, notable figures such as Paul McCartney are ready to explore its potential. McCartney is currently working on an old Beatles song, using AI technology to extract the voice of the late John Lennon. 

When questioned about the eligibility of the new Beatles song for a Grammy nomination, Mason remained evasive. He stated that he would have to examine the technology being used in the song creation process.

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