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Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. is setting the record straight. After Variety reported earlier this week that an AI-generated track echoing the voices of Drake and The Weeknd would be considered for a Grammy Award, Mason is insisting that’s not the case. The track, Heart on My Sleeve, was created and submitted for consideration by someone using the pseudonym “Ghostwriter.” The song features lyrics written by Ghostwriter but imitates the voices of the rappers without consent.
Despite that, in an interview with The New York Times, Mason suggested the track would technically be eligible in songwriter categories because of the lyrics. “As far as the creative side, it’s absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” he said.
However, it seems things have changed. In a recent Instagram post, first spotted by Deadline, Mason offered some clarity. The CEO made it clear the song “is not eligible for Grammy consideration.”
“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,” he said.
Based on Mason's statement, it appears the problem isn't with the fact that the track was generated using AI, but thorny issues around consent. This could possibly mean that The Grammys would consider tracks that were created by AI as long as the necessary permissions were granted and it was distributed through the proper channels. But while Mason believes the industry will have to evolve and adjust to AI, copyright issues remain complicated. And Heart on My Sleeve was recently pulled from streaming services, including Apple Music, Spotify, Tidal and YouTube, after a complaint from Universal Music Group — which represents both Drake and The Weeknd.
“I take this stuff very seriously,” Mason said. “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."
As for Ghostwriter, the creator has already released a new song using AI to imitate rappers Travis Scott and 21 Savage. The new song, Whiplash, was posted to social media platforms, including TikTok and X, formerly known as Twitter, instead of Spotify and other streaming services. Ghostwriter also tagged the rappers requesting an official collaboration. While the song seems to be resonating with some fans on the platforms, neither Scott nor 21 Savage have responded.