Following a report this week that a viral AI song mimicking Drake and The Weeknd’s vocals was being submitted for consideration at next year’s Grammy Awards, Recording Academy chief Harvey Mason Jr. took to social media Thursday night to blast “inaccurate information” around the suitability of AI numbers.
On Tuesday, the New York Times reported that Ghostwriter, an anonymous artist who produces AI tracks featuring the computer-generated vocals of artists like Travis Scott, 21 Savage and more, would submit his viral AI track “Heart on My Sleeve” for Grammy consideration. The song, which uses AI vocals to emulate Drake and The Weeknd, was uploaded to music streaming services Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music on April 4, but was quickly taken down following a copyright claim from Universal Music Group.
In the Time story, Ghostwriter’s team said they submitted “Heart on My Sleeve” for Grammy recognition in two categories at the 2024 edition of the awards, including Best Rap Song and Song of the Year. These two categories give prizes to the writers of the song that wins.
“On the creative side, it definitely qualifies because it was written by a human being,” Mason said of “Heart on my Sleeve”’s appropriateness in an interview with Time.
Mason’s response added more confusion and sparked a social media backlash. On Thursday the CEO of the Recording Academy posted a short video on his Instagram in an effort to clarify eligibility rules.
“I’m sorry, but I need to clear up some of this bad and very inaccurate information that’s starting to circulate,” Mason said. “This version of ‘Heart on My Sleeve’, which uses AI voice modeling, sounds like Drake and The Weeknd, is not eligible for Grammy consideration.”
“Let me be extra, extra clear: even though it was written by a human creator, the vocals were not obtained legally, the vocals were not approved by the label or the artists and the song is not commercially available and therefore it is not in qualify,” Mason continued.
He added: “I take this (AI) thing very seriously. It’s all complicated and it goes very, very fast. I am sure things will continue to evolve and change. But please don’t be confused. The Academy is here to support, advocate, protect and represent human artists, and human creators.”
In June, Mason said in an extensive interview with The Hollywood reporter, was convinced that the Recording Academy “will not award a Grammy to AI.” But he did say that while the Grammys want to honor music made with AI elements, the song should essentially be made by humans as well, and that humans should play a bigger role in making a song. “You can win a Grammy for the human part of the song,” he explained.