After a TikTok creator, Ghostwriter977, submitted his AI song Heart on My Sleeve for the Grammys back in September, which, at first, was seriously considered for the award, the question of AI music fit for the Grammys has seriously taken place.
An AI song that mimics Drake and the Weekend Heart on My Sleeve, made by artificial intelligence and an anonymous TikTok creator with the handle Ghostwriter977, was released in April 2023. Soon after, it hit millions of streams on Spotify, Apple Music, YouTube, and TikTok, but after it became obvious that neither Drake nor the Weekend had anything to do with the track, it was immediately removed from all platforms.
A few months later the song creator submitted Heart on My Sleeve for Grammy consideration, and there's been speculation that the track actually might get the award. Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr told The New York Times that “It’s absolutely eligible because it was written by a human.” The song has been submitted for the Best Rap Song and Song of the Year categories, as both of them are awarded to the writers and not necessarily the artists.
In July, however, Mason clarified the Academy’s new ruling on AI, telling Variety: “We’re not going to be giving a nomination or an award to an AI computer or someone who just prompted AI. That’s the distinction that we’re trying to make. It’s the human award highlighting excellence, driven by human creativity."
He further explained, “Even though it was written by a human creator, the vocals were not legally obtained. The vocals were not cleared by the label or the artists and the song is not commercially available and because of that, it’s not eligible.”
This whole story gave a push to the necessity of clear regulations of AI music qualifying for the award, and here's what is so far known on the matter of AI art eligibility for the Grammys 2024.
The Grammys 2024 rules & guidelines for AI music
"At this point, we are going to allow AI music and content to be submitted."
Basically, the Ghostwriter977's submission was declined because the vocals used in the AI track "weren't legally obtained," not due to the mere fact AI has been involved.
As per the Recording Academy CEO, "At this point, we are going to allow AI music and content to be submitted, but the Grammys will only be allowed to go to human creators who have contributed creatively in the appropriate categories. If there's an AI voice singing the song or AI instrumentation, we'll consider it. But in a songwriting-based category, it has to have been written mostly by a human. Same goes for performance categories — only a human performer can be considered for a Grammy."
He added, "If AI did the songwriting or created the music, that's a different consideration. But the Grammy will go to human creators at this point."
According to the 2024 Grammys updates, "The Grammy Award recognizes creative excellence. Only human creators are eligible to be submitted for consideration for, nominated for, or win a Grammy Award. A work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any Categories."
A work that has components of AI material is eligible in applicable categories; however, the human authorship element of the work submitted must be meaningful and more than de minimis. It also must be relevant to the category in which such work is submitted.
In plain English, it means that if someone used AI to create a part of a song or a piece of music, the people who created or programmed the AI are not allowed to be considered for awards like the Grammy Awards in relation to the specific part of the work that the AI-generated. In other words, if AI played a significant role in creating a piece of music, the AI's creators cannot receive awards or nominations for the music produced by the AI itself.
If you want to read more coverage on AI in music, check the Kill the DJ's AI section