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Grammy CEO clarifies AI Drake song ineligible for award over copyright issues

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The CEO of the Recording Academy that hosts the yearly Grammy Music Awards has cleared up misconceptions regarding the eligibility of an artificial intelligence (AI)-generated Drake song for award nomination. 

On Sept. 8 Harvey Mason Jr. took to Instagram and released a video clearly stating that the track is “not eligible for Grammy consideration” and wanted to be extra clear that:

“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 artist and the song is not commercially available – because of that it’s not eligible.”

He said the topic of AI is both “complicated” and “moving really quickly,” while also commenting that he takes it “very seriously” and anticipates more evolution and changes in the industry. 

While music with AI components can be eligible for Grammy award nomination, the track must meet specific requirements. Most importantly, that the part up for nomination was created by a human. For example, for a track to win an award for the vocal performance, it must have been performed by a human.

Mason Jr. reiterated this element in his most recent statement by saying:

“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 previous interview with Cointelegraph, he also stressed this aspect saying: “The role of the Academy is always to protect the creative and music communities.”

Related: Justin Bieber hit track becomes NFT for royalty-sharing

In addition to the human element, the other aspect stressed by Mason Jr. is that in order to be eligible for an award the track must be commercially available. This includes availability on major streaming platforms such as Spotify and Apple Music. 

However, the track in question was removed from platforms due to its copyright violations and lack of approval from the artist and label.

Labels have been advocating for platforms to be vigilant in removing content that infringes on the intellectual property of artists. Back in April, Universal Music Group (UMG) asked streaming services including Spotify to remove AI-generated content.

Most recently, UMG and Google announced a collaboration to combat AI deep fakes. The two are in negotiations for licensing melodies and vocal tracks for use in AI-generated music.

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