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Grammys Limits Use of AI In Music, Says 'Only Human Creators' Eligible For Awards

These changes come amid a growing trend of AI-generated music and its impact on the industry.
UPDATED JUN 23, 2023
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/David Becker
Cover Image Source: GettyImages/David Becker

The Recording Academy, responsible for organizing the prestigious Grammy Awards, has recently introduced new rules that address the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in music. The decision states that "only human creators" are eligible for the music industry's highest honor, as it attempts to maintain the human element in artistic expression. However, it doesn't mean that any work that features AI elements will be rejected.

These changes come amid a growing trend of AI-generated music and its impact on the industry, according to CBS News.

Under the newly released "Artificial Intelligence (AI) Protocols", the Recording Academy specifies that a work must have a human authorship component to be eligible for a Grammy Award. This means that a piece of music containing no human involvement in its creation is disqualified from consideration in any category. However, if AI is used in the production of a song, a human creator must have made a "meaningful" contribution to the music and/or lyrics. The goal is to ensure that human creativity remains a vital aspect of music production.

Image Source: GettyImages/Daniel Boczarski
Image Source: GettyImages/Daniel Boczarski

The announcement of these AI protocols follows Paul McCartney's revelation that it upcoming "last Beatles record" was created using artificial intelligence. McCartney expressed both excitement and concern about the possibilities AI presents, acknowledging the need to observe its impact on music creation.

Alongside the AI regulation, the Recording Academy has made several alterations to different Grammy categories. To be eligible for the Album of the Year nomination, a music creator must now contribute at least 20% of the work, encompassing all credited artists, featured artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers. This modification differs from the previous rule that allowed anyone involved in the album's creation to qualify for nomination.

Image Source: GettyImages/Daniel Boczarski
Image Source: GettyImages/Daniel Boczarski

Moreover, the number of nominees in the "Big Four" categories, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year has been reduced from 10 to eight. This change aims to maintain the prestige of these categories while fostering increased competition among artists.

The Recording Academy has also revised the rules for the Best Music Film category to align with the evolving format of music documentaries. Previously, 50% of the documentary footage had to consist of performances. However, this requirement has been removed to accommodate a broader range of music-related documentaries that incorporate verité and archival footage. Biopics and dramatic feature films are still ineligible for consideration.

Image Source: GettyImages/Vince Bucci
Image Source: GettyImages/Vince Bucci

The Recording Academy now acknowledges the concept of visual albums, which encompass music-focused and individual music videos packaged and submitted together as one cohesive film. This adjustment recognizes the trend popularized by Beyoncé's "Lemonade" film in 2016 and explored across various genres, such as Halsey's "If I Can't Have Love, I Want Power" in 2021.

The Academy has renamed the Best Improvised Jazz Solo award to Best Jazz Performance and the Best Regional Mexican Music Album (including Tejano) to Best Música Mexicana Album (including Tejano). The latter category now requires that 50% of the lyrics be sung in Spanish or that the majority of the musical content reflects a traditional style of Mexican music, such as banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, rancheros, sierreño, jarocho, huasteco, and huapango.


Additionally, three new categories have been introduced at the Grammy Awards: Best Pop Dance Recording, Best African Music Performance, and Best Alternative Jazz Album. These additions exemplify the Recording Academy's dedication to staying current and inclusive in the ever-evolving music landscape.

The new Grammy rule addressing AI acknowledges the rapid advancements in technology while prioritizing the significance of human creativity in music. By requiring a meaningful human contribution in AI-generated music and emphasizing the role of human creators, the Recording Academy ensures that the Grammy Awards continue to celebrate the artistry and talent of musicians worldwide. These changes reflect the ongoing dialogue between technology and the arts, as the music industry adapts to new possibilities and explores uncharted territories.