AI proved just how talented it can be at ripping off major artists after a computer-generated song based on The Weeknd and Drake went viral in April. Now, the Recording Academy — the body that votes on and manages the annual Grammy Awards — is setting new rules for AI’s role in the coveted accolade.
Speaking to Grammy.com, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason, Jr. laid out some confusing new standards for acceptable use of AI. Mason Jr. said that AI-assisted music can be submitted, but only the humans, who must have “contributed heavily,” will actually be awarded. For example, in a songwriting category like Song of the Year, a majority of a the nominated song would have to be written by a human creator, not a text-based generative AI like ChatGPT. Similarly, in performance categories like Best Pop Duo/Group Performance, only the human performer can be considered for the award. Sorry, Hatsune Miku.
“It’s important because AI is going to absolutely, unequivocally have a hand in shaping the future of our industry. The idea of being caught off guard by it and not addressing it is unacceptable,” Mason Jr. said. “So, we have to start planning around that and thinking about what that means for us. How can we adapt to accommodate? How can we set guardrails and standards? There are a lot of things that need to be addressed around AI as it relates to our industry.”
AI has made its presence known in the music industry in recent months, with one of the largest music labels, Universal Music Group, asking streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music to limit AI’s access to music on different platforms in a bid to stop the tech from scraping data from and training itself on copyrighted content. At the same time, an anonymous con artist has allegedly made thousands of dollars hawking AI-generated Frank Ocean tracks over Discord.
The Recording Academy is not the only arts organisation that is trying to control the role of artificial intelligence in its constituents’ work. The Writers Guild of America went on strike last month, with AI’s presence in Hollywood being one of the main tenets of the union’s platform. More specifically, the WGA wants to limit the scope of AI chatbots like ChatGPT in writers’ rooms, ensuring that they are a tool to be used and not a tool to churn out completed scripts.