'Only Human Creators': Grammys Set Rules Around AI And Music

The Grammy Awards will only accept works with a “meaningful” contribution from humans, according to new guidelines released on June 16.

only human creators grammys set rules around ai and music
People look at an object during the Ars Electronica in Linz, Upper Austria on Sept. 6, 2019. (Alex Halada/AFP via Getty Images)

The new rules and guidelines from the Recording Academy come in the lead-up to next year’s event and amid ongoing questions around the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in music and art.

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,” the Recording Academy stated (pdf).

Works containing AI are only eligible if the “human authorship component of the work submitted must be meaningful and more than de minimis [lacking significance].”

Further, the author of AI material incorporated in a work is not eligible.

Many Things to Deal With Regarding AI: CEO

CEO of the Recording Academy, Harvey Mason Jr., said AI would “absolutely, unequivocally” shape the future of the music industry.

“Not knowing exactly what it’s going to mean or do in the next months and years gives me some pause and some concerns. But I absolutely acknowledge that it’s going to be a part of the music industry and the artistic community and society at large,” he told Grammy.com.

“So, we have to start planning around that and thinking about what that means for us. How can we adapt to accommodate? How can we set guardrails and standards? There are a lot of things that need to be addressed around AI as it relates to our industry.”

Mason Jr. said artists, tech entrepreneurs, and industry leaders had discussed the issue.

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 said.

AI’s Emerging Role in Music

The emergence of ChatGPT in recent times, a widely accessible AI-powered tool that can engage the public in all sorts of conversations, has spurred questions over its role in society.

Key questions posed include what impact AI will have on employment, whether AI-powered information be trusted, and broader, existential questions like whether AI will surpass or supersede humans (or achieve “singularity”).

A similar debate occurred in 1996 when scientists successfully cloned a female sheep, Dolly, leading to questions on whether the cloning of humans was next.

U.S. senators and governments in developed countries are investigating how to regulate AI’s development in the coming years.

In the creative space, AI is already used to create “music” and “art,” also forcing the Writers Guild of America and the Screen Actors Guild to wrangle with how to deal with the technology.

In the music scene, AI is already simulating famous (or deceased singers) to perform existing hits from other artists.

For example, Freddie Mercury, the deceased lead singer for British rock band Queen, is singing renditions of Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Ed Sheeran’s Perfect on YouTube.

While former Beatle Paul McCartney just announced the final track of the British band will be released this year with the help of AI.

The new track is speculated to be built on a preliminary recording of John Lennon’s “Now and Then” from 1978. Lennon made the recording on an old cassette tape in his New York City apartment before he died.

Despite the poor audio quality, AI was used to extract and enhance Lennon’s singing, according to Peter Jackson, the director behind the 2021 documentary Get Back.

“So when we came to make what will be the last Beatles record, it was a demo that John had, and we were able to take John’s voice and get it pure through this AI. Then we can mix the record, as you would normally do. So it gives you some sort of leeway,” he said.


Authored by Daniel Y. Teng via The Epoch Times June 21st 2023