Grammy — Technology has been a crucial instrument in music creation, and musicians have risen to fame in recent decades as a result of years of invention.
Cher pioneered the usage of auto-tune in the late 1990s with her hit “Believe,” ushering in a new era of music production.
Auto-tune would become a big contributor to various performers throughout the 2000s and 2010s.
As 2023 approached, artificial intelligence began to gain traction in a variety of industries, and it wouldn’t be long until music was exposed to a new set of revolutionary tools.
While widely debated, the usage of AI-generated music has proven difficult to ignore, even for the prestigious Grammy Awards.
Many people were surprised when the grand stage of the music business issued its decision on the usage of AI-generated music.
It does, however, come with certain tight rules.
The Recording Academy, the institution in charge of the Grammy Awards, established new guidelines ahead of the 2024 ceremony.
The guidelines state that “human creators” are eligible.
While songs featuring AI-generated music can be nominated, evidence of human contribution is required.
“If there’s an AI voice singing the song or AI instrumentation, we’ll consider it,” said Harvey Mason Jr., CEO of the Recording Academy.
“But in a songwriting-based category, it has to have been written mostly by a human.”
The 66th Grammy Awards will be held on February 24, 2024, and the guidelines give further information on how they will address AI-generated music.
“The Grammy Award recognizes excellence. Only human creators are eligible to be submitted for consideration for, nominated for, or win a Grammy Award,” it wrote.
“A work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any Categories. A work that features elements of AI material is eligible in applicable categories.”
“However: the human authorship component of the work submitted must be meaningful and more than de minimis; such human authorship component must be relevant to the category in which such work is entered.”
“The authors of any AI material incorporated into the work are not eligible to be nominees or Grammy recipients insofar as their contribution to the portion of the work that consists of such AI material is concerned.”
Accommodating the future
Mason admitted that artificial intelligence will affect the music industry’s future.
He encouraged the Grammys to address AI-related concerns rather than dismiss them.
“How can we adapt to accommodate? How can we set guardrails and standards?” Mason challenged.
“There are a lot of things that need to be addressed around AI as it relates to our industry.”
The Grammy rules come at a time when AI-generated music has taken over the internet, with deepfake tunes becoming viral.
For example, David Guetta, a two-time Grammy winner, used AI to replace Eminem on an Eminem single earlier this year.
The fake single “Heart on My Sleeve” featuring AI-generated Drake and The Weeknd, on the other hand, received the most attention.
Universal Music Group ordered that the music be deleted, claiming copyright violations.
According to a UMG spokesman, the AI-generated song posed an important dilemma to music industry stakeholders, pushing them to choose between the side of humanity and the need for creative expression and the side of fraud that denies artists their just recompense.
Universal Music Group allegedly requested that streaming giants Spotify and Apple Music prohibit AI software startups from utilizing the label’s music.
As indicated by the increase of deepfake tracks, AI software businesses generally train their technology with the label’s songs.
Artists and AI
Sir Paul McCartney has announced plans for a “final Beatles record” to be released through AI with the assistance of filmmaker Peter Jackson.
“He [Jackson] was able to extricate John’s voice from a ropey little bit of cassette that had John [Lennon]’s voice and a piano,” said McCartney.
“He could separate them with AI — he could tell the machine, “That’s the voice, that’s the guitar, lose the guitar,” and he did that, so it has great uses.”
“We were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI,” McCartney added.
“So then we could mix the record as you would normally do.”
Meanwhile, songwriter Don McLean claims that AI-generated music will not be “worse” than some of today’s tracks.
However, Daft Punk’s Thomas Bangalter says AI’s prominence isn’t what his old band stood for.
“We tried to use these machines to express something extremely moving that a machine cannot feel, but a human can,” said Bangalter.
“We were always on the side of humanity and not on the side of technology.”