Recording Academy CEO Says AI Music Will Be Considered for a Grammy Award

Artificial intelligence has been rapidly encroaching on the music industry and the long-term effects of the technology have been at the forefront of many musicians’ minds. What does it mean for the integrity of songwriting? And how will we differentiate old-fashioned musicianship from synthesized artistry?

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The awards circuit has been a big talking point when it comes to AI. Many have asked whether or not a song created using AI technology should be up for Grammy consideration. According to Recording Academy CEO and President Harvey Mason Jr., the answer is “yes.”

The Recording Academy released a new rule last month laying out a blanket guideline for AI. The organization stipulated that songs using the technology could be considered for the coveted award, but “a work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any category” (per Rolling Stone).

Now Mason Jr. is back with a more fleshed-out set of guidelines for AI.

“Here’s the super easy, headline statement: AI, or music that contains AI-created elements, is absolutely eligible for entry and for consideration for Grammy nomination – Period,” he explained. “What’s not going to happen is we are not going to give a Grammy or Grammy nomination to the AI portion.”

The stipulation immediately eliminates a work from being considered for the category in which the AI helped out. So, AI lyrics could not be considered for a songwriting category, and AI vocals could not be considered for a performance category.

“As long as the human is contributing in a more than de minimis amount, which to us means a meaningful way, they are and will always be considered for a nomination or a win,” he continued.

Mason Jr. went on to say that the organization doesn’t “want to see technology replace human creativity.” Instead, “we want to make sure technology is enhancing, embellishing, or additive to human creativity,” he explained. “So that’s why we took this particular stand in this award cycle.”

The next Grammy Awards will be held on February 4, 2024. Along with the new AI stipulation, next year’s award ceremony will introduce three new categories: Best African Music Performance, Best Alternative Jazz Album, and Best Pop Dance Recording.

The Recording Academy has been continually updating its categories over the past few years to better reflect the modern music industry. In 2023 they added Best Song for Social Change, Best Score Soundtrack for Video Games and Other Interactive Media, Special Merit Award for Best Song for Social Change, and Songwriter of the Year awards.

Photo: Courtesy of The Recording Academy

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