Grammy Awards embrace AI-Generated music with new guidelines

The Recording Academy recently made a significant announcement, unveiling a series of changes to the Grammy Awards that aim to reflect the evolving music industry. One of the highlights among the newly instituted guidelines is the introduction of protocols concerning technological advancements in machine learning. This particular decision has sparked headlines as it addresses the use of artificial intelligence in popular music and declares that only compositions created by human creators are eligible for the music industry’s highest honor.

The official rules state, “A work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any category.”

Recording Academy CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr. acknowledges that both the music industry and the Grammys must come to terms with this new technology. In a recent interview, he clarified the Academy’s position, stating, “AI or music that contains AI-created elements is absolutely eligible for entry and for consideration for Grammy nomination. Period. What’s not going to happen is we are not going to give a Grammy or Grammy nomination to the AI portion.”

Mason explains that if an AI or voice modeling program takes on the lead vocal in a song, the track would be eligible for consideration in a songwriting category but not in a performance category. This distinction arises from the fact that “what is performing is not human creation.” Conversely, if a human artist provides the vocals in the studio while AI writes the lyrics or the track, the composition would not qualify for a composition or songwriting category.

He emphasizes that as long as human creators make a meaningful contribution to the creative process, they will always be considered for nominations or wins. The Recording Academy’s intention is not to replace human creativity with technology but to ensure that technology enhances, embellishes, or adds to human creativity. This particular stance was taken in the current award cycle to safeguard the integrity of artistic expression.

To establish comprehensive AI guidelines, the Recording Academy conducted extensive research, which included organizing tech summits. Mason reveals that discussions were held with the copyright office and explored the future implications on federal and legislative levels. The topic of AI in music reached a critical juncture in the past six months, leading to the recent announcement of the Grammy AI protocols.

The question arises: Will viewers of the Grammy Awards witness the nomination of partially AI-created work as early as next year? The answer remains elusive, as it is impossible to predict the submissions. Nevertheless, Mason asserts that “people are using the technology. I’m imagining it’s going to be involved in a lot of records, a lot of songs this year, so we’ll see if some of them get nominated or not, but I’m sure there’ll be some that will be submitted.”

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