Sep 11, 2023 2 min read

Controversial Ghostwriter track not eligible for Grammy consideration

US Recording Academy boss Harvey Mason Jr has confirmed that the controversial AI-assisted Ghostwriter track ‘Heart On My Sleeve’ is not eligible for Grammy consideration after all

Controversial Ghostwriter track not eligible for Grammy consideration

For a brief moment last week it looked like next year's Grammy Awards could be interesting after it emerged that Ghostwriter's controversial AI-assisted track 'Heart On My Sleeve' had been put forward for consideration for two prizes. However, it has now been confirmed that the track is not eligible for consideration.

Given that the track featured AI-generated vocals designed to sound like Drake and The Weeknd - who are both already critics of the Grammys - had the Ghostwriter song got shortlisted, well, that would have been fun.

The boss of Grammys owner the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr, had already said that - while entirely AI-generated works would not be eligible for a prize at the US industry's big awards bash - tracks and songs where AI tools had played a role, but alongside human creativity, could be put forward.

That said, there was speculation that 'Heart On My Sleeve' - despite involving human creativity alongside the AI - might fail to meet another entry criteria, which is that a work must have been made generally available.

Although the Ghostwriter track did appear on the streaming services after going viral on TikTok, Universal Music quickly got it taken down, on the basis that the producer hadn't got permission to train his AI tools of choice with Drake and The Weeknd's recordings, nor to utilise their vocal style in his track.

Mason has now confirmed that that lack of general availability is a problem. But so is Ghostwriter choosing to release his track without getting the necessary approvals from Drake, The Weeknd or their label Universal.

“This version of ‘Heart On My Sleeve’, using the AI voice modelling that sounds like Drake and The Weeknd, it’s not eligible for Grammy consideration", he confirmed in an update on Instagram.

“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".

On the use of AI in music-making more generally, he went on: “I take this stuff very seriously. 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".

So that's that confirmed. Next year's Grammy Awards will not be interesting.

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A post shared by Harvey Mason jr. (@harveymasonjr)

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