An anonymous ghostwriter who created an AI mash-up featuring Drake and The Weeknd’s voice has submitted the track for Grammy consideration.
Updated, Friday Sept. 8th early AM: Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason has now doubled back on his earlier comments to the New York Times regarding Grammy eligibility of Ghostwriter’s voice-AI track. “I’m sorry, but I have to clear up some of this bad and really inaccurate information that’s starting to float around,” Mason stated since the publication of this article. “This version of “Heart on My Sleeve” using the AI voice modeling, that sounds like Drake and The Weeknd, it’s not eligible for Grammy consideration.”
The track in question, “Heart on My Sleeve,” took the internet by storm earlier this year. The only problem is that neither Drake nor The Weeknd authorized or had anything to do with the track. It was promptly removed from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music—but Digital Music News reported on how YouTube continues to play whack-a-mole with re-uploads of this mash-up.
Now The New York Times reports that the ghostwriter contacted industry figures about the track. “In the months since, those behind the project have met with record labels, tech leaders, music platforms, and artists about how to best harness the powers of A.I,” the report reveals. That included a virtual round-table discussion organized by the Recording Academy.
“I knew right away as soon as I heard that record that it was going to be something that we had to grapple with from an Academy standpoint, but also from a music community and industry standpoint,” Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. told The New York Times. Mason reveals he contacted the ghostwriter directly via social media after the track dropped.
The Ghostwriter team has submitted “Heart on My Sleeve” for Grammy Awards consideration in two categories—Best Rap Song and Song of the Year. But is the track eligible? According to Mason, yes. It’s written by humans.
“As far as the creative side, it’s absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” Mason says. But the caveat is the track must be commercially available in ‘general distribution’ to be eligible. It’s unclear if the track would be eligible on those grounds since it is an unauthorized reproduction of two famous voices and was promptly removed from DSPs at the request of major labels who represent those artists.