UPDATE: Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. recalled his original statement and confirmed that the AI-generated track “Heart on My Sleeve,” which utilizes the voices of Drake and The Weeknd, is not eligible for the GRAMMYs.
The exec is backtracking after he recently told the New York Times that the song is, from a creative standpoint, ”absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” taking to Instagram to clarify that “[t]his version of ‘Heart on My Sleeve’ using the AI voice modeling that sounds like Drake and The Weeknd, it’s not eligible for GRAMMY consideration.” He further explained, “Let me be extra, extra clear: 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.”
“I take this stuff very seriously,” Mason added. “It’s all complicated, and it’s moving, really, really quickly. I’m sure things are going to continue to have to evolve and change. But please, please, do not be confused. The Academy is here to support and advocate and protect and represent human artists, and human creators period.”
In a New York Times interview with Ghostwriter, the mind behind “Heart on My Sleeve,” and Recording Academy executive Harvey Mason Jr., an anonymous rep for Ghostwriter shared that the AI track has been submitted for Best Rap Song and Song of the Year, as both categories are awarded to the writers and not necessarily the artists. Mason confirmed that from a creative standpoint, the song is “absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” but it must meet the requirement of having commercial availability or “the broad release of a recording, available nationwide via brick-and-mortar stores, third-party online retailers and/or streaming services.”
Elsewhere in the interview, it was revealed that Ghostwriter and his team has met with labels and important figureheads in the music industry since “Heart on My Sleeve” hit the internet. Mason even revealed that he directly reached out to Ghostwriter after the track went viral, and that the creator was present in the meeting while sporting a distorted voice. “I knew right away as soon as I heard that record that it was going to be something that we had to grapple with from an Academy standpoint, but also from a music community and industry standpoint,” he explained. “When you start seeing A.I. involved in something so creative and so cool, relevant and of-the-moment, it immediately starts you thinking, ‘OK, where is this going? How is this going to affect creativity? What’s the business implication for monetization?’”
Elsewhere in music, Diddy is giving the publishing rights back to his Bad Boy artists.