Sorry, Ghostwriter, but the Recording Academy just handed you a big boo.
Seeming to walk back some apparently unpopular comments he made earlier this week to The New York Times, Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. took to social media last night to deny that “Heart On My Sleeve,” the hit viral, A.I.-assisted song by the mysterious music creator known only as Ghostwriter, will be eligible for Grammy consideration.
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After suggesting to The Times that “Heart On My Sleeve” would be Grammy eligible in songwriter categories – “As far as the creative side, it’s absolutely eligible because it was written by a human,” Mason was quoted in The Times – he now says in an Instagram video posted last night that the recording, which uses A.I.-generated vocals mimicking the voices of Drake and The Weeknd, “is not eligible for Grammy consideration.”
“I’m sorry, but I have to clear up some of this bad and really inaccurate information that’s starting to float around,” Mason says in the video (watch it below). “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.
“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,” Mason added.
“I take this stuff very seriously,” he goes on. “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. But please, please, do not be confused. The Academy is here to support and advocate and protect and represent human artists, and human creators period.”
The reasons given by Mason for the song’s ineligibility do not specifically reference the song’s A.I. origins, but rather focus on whether the voices were legally obtained, used with permission and whether the song is commercially available.
Earlier this summer, the Recording Academy clarified its rule regarding A.I. by stating, “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 Category.”
“Heart On My Sleeve” was posted to social media in April and has grown rapidly in popularity. The song’s creator appears on his social media accounts dressed as a ghost, draped in a white sheet and wearing sunglasses. The Times reported that Ghostwriter recently attended a meeting organized by the Academy dressed in his character get-up and using a voice-distorting device.
Earlier this week, Ghostwriter released a new song called “Whiplash” on social media, using A.I.-generated soundalikes for rappers Travis Scott and 21 Savage.
Watch Mason’s clarification below:
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