Recording Academy Demands Humans Win Grammys, Not AI-Generated Songs

The Recording Academy is making changes to the Grammy Awards, including implementing a rule demanding “only human creators” can win the music industry’s highest honor in a decision aimed at using artificial intelligence (AI) in popular music.

“A work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any category,” they said, under new “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Protocols” released Friday.

The rule was implemented following the semiannual academy’s board of trustees meeting in May 2023, where it was decided that work featuring elements of AI is eligible, so long as a human creator is responsible for a “meaningful” contribution to the music or lyrics.

“The human authorship component of the work submitted must be meaningful,” the new requirements read in part.

The development comes shortly after British singer Paul McCartney recently announced that a forthcoming “last Beatles record” had been composed using AI by reproducing John Lennon’s voice from an old presentation.

Alongside the new AI rule, the Recording Academy announced swift changes in other music industry categories. From now on, to win a nomination for the album of the year category, a music creator must account for at least 20% of the work, including all credited artists, featured artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers.

The number of those eligible in the “Big Four” categories, including best new artists and album, song, and record of the year, has been reduced from 10 to eight nominees.

In the past, to be nominated for the “best music film” category, 50% of the documentary footage had to be performance-based. Now, no such thing is required.

The Recording Academy also announced that the best-improvised jazz solo award is now called best jazz performance, and the best regional Mexican music album is now called best música Mexicana Album. To qualify in the Mexican category, 50% of the lyrics must be sung in Spanish, or most of the musical content must mirror a traditional style of Mexican music.

Such changes follow the creation of three new categories, recently announced: best pop dance recording, best African music performance, and best alternative jazz album.