Grammys OK AI Use in Music—But Ban Fully AI-Generated Songs

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Artificial intelligence is permeating the artistic world—a fact the Recording Academy, the organization behind the Grammy Awards, is accounting for under their new eligibility requirements that restrict fully AI-generated songs but allow for its use in award-eligible music.

The Recording Academy announced Friday that artists can use AI in their songs and submit them for consideration for an award, as long as there is a “meaningful” human authorship component in the work. Songs that are fully generated by AI, however, won’t be eligible for any awards, and only “human creators” can be considered, nominated, or win a Grammy Award.

Other changes have also been announced, including one saying that an artist will have to have contributed at least 20 percent of the work put into an album to be considered for album of the year.

The new Grammy Award qualifications come after more recent advancements in AI have led to generative AI, which can create new content. Experimental use of technology in music has been around for decades, though.

The rise of AI and its use in the music industry has been seen through a new wave of AI-generated songs by popular artists that have made their way online. Tracks like “Heart on My Sleeve,” which used AI to add vocals from Drake and the Weeknd garnered millions of plays, going viral online before eventually being taken down after complaints of copyright infringement from Universal Music Group. Such tracks are particularly popular on TikTok, where there are accounts dedicated to creating AI covers of songs, like this one of Ariana Grande singing SZA’s Kill Bill.

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Some artists are embracing the use of AI. On Tuesday, Paul McCartney announced that a new Beatles record featuring John Lennon’s AI-generated voice will be released later this year. McCartney used AI to isolate Lennon’s vocals from a demo in order to make the track.

“It’s kind of scary but exciting, because it’s the future. We’ll just have to see where that leads,” Lennon told the BBC when speaking about the use of AI.

The Grammy Awards are set to take place on Feb. 4, 2024.

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