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Music’s Digital Nightmare: AI-generated song feat. Drake, The Weeknd in race to win a Grammy

It seems that this year, there is an outstanding possibility that AI will be deemed the Best Rap Artist or the Rap Artist of the Year at music awards across the world.

A song generated by artificial intelligence, aptly named “Heart on My Sleeve,” skillfully mimicking the vocals and style of artists like Drake and The Weeknd, has now been in contention for the prestigious Grammy Awards.

Amid the ongoing surge in sometimes eccentric AI-driven innovations, the realm of music has become a battleground of sorts.

Can AI be a legitimate music artist?
The AI-generated track was crafted by a somewhat enigmatic entity known solely as Ghostwriter977, featuring vocals entirely created through artificial intelligence. Reports suggest that Ghostwriter977 has officially submitted the song to the Grammy Awards, vying for recognition in the highly esteemed Best Rap Song and Song of the Year categories, as reported by Variety.

This move comes at a time when the music industry is grappling with the looming question of how to navigate the potential displacement of human producers, songwriters, and composers by AI.

Although the song was promptly removed from streaming services, it remains fully eligible for consideration at the Grammys.

Harvey Mason Jr., the CEO of the Recording Academy, expressed his immediate recognition of the challenges posed by this song, both from the Academy’s perspective and into the broader music community and industry. He noted, “As far as the creative side, it’s eligible because a human wrote it.”

How AI can win a Grammy…technically
Earlier this summer, Mason Jr. outlined the new guidelines for handling AI submissions within the Recording Academy. He clarified that AI-assisted music could be submitted, but the primary award would be granted to the human creators who have made substantial contributions.

For instance, in a songwriting category like Song of the Year, most of the nominated songs must be attributed to a human creator, not a text-based generative AI like ChatGPT.

Since Ghostwriter977 is a human, they would receive the award rather than the original artists like The Weeknd or Drake. However, it remains uncertain how Grammy voters will react to one of their own being impersonated by a computer program.

A new kind of counterfeit music
It’s worth noting that Drake and The Weeknd aren’t the sole artists to have their styles replicated by AI. Ghostwriter977 recently revealed on Twitter that they had created a song mimicking the voices of 21 Savage and Travis Scott, which was alarmingly accurate.

Concurrently, counterfeit Frank Ocean tracks were sold online for substantial sums, purportedly as unreleased leaks, but they were, in reality, generated by AI. In response, Universal Music Group implored streaming services to prevent AI from accessing music data to curb the proliferation of AI mimicking famous musicians. More recently, Spotify has purged thousands of AI-generated songs from its platform.

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