Artificial intelligence (AI) is shifting the entertainment industry in a unique direction, as fans and professionals can now use a machine to generate or customize music. While Drake and The Weeknd have vocalized their concerns, Grimes gave listeners the green light to use her voice “without penalty.”

Videos by American Songwriter

Videos by American Songwriter

The conversation around AI-generated music sparked when a track titled “Heart on My Sleeve” went viral. The song, which garnered over 1.6 million likes and over 10 million views on TikTok alone, sounds similar to Drake and The Weeknd. Universal Music Group was quick to flag the song for violating copyright laws. Following the backlash, the machine-created track was pulled from YouTube and music streaming platforms.

[RELATED: AI-Generated Drake and The Weeknd Song Blocked from Streaming Platforms]

“The training of generative AI using our artists’ music (which represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law) as well as the availability of infringing content created with generative AI on DSPs [Demand Side Platforms], begs the question as to which side of history all stakeholders in the music ecosystem want to be on: the side of artists, fans and human creative expression, or on the side of deep fakes, fraud and denying artists their due compensation,” said the label in a statement obtained by NPR.

The creator of “Heart on My Sleeve” was identified as “@ghostwriter.” The user confirmed that the song was generated by AI software specializing in musicians’ voices. The two hitmakers have yet to comment on the controversy. However, the “Genesis” singer turned to social media (April 22) to weigh in on the hot topic.

The 35-year-old singer said she would be okay with AI cloning her voice, only if she receives royalties made from the music.

“I think it’s cool to be fused w a machine, and I like the idea of open-sourcing all art and killing copyright,” wrote Grimes on Twitter. “I’ll split 50% royalties on any successful AI-generated song that uses my voice. Same deal as I would with any artist I collab with. Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings.”

A fan concerned for Grimes’ livelihood quickly pointed out that AI music could be “misleading” for people.

“Idk, I think you could still end up in an uncomfortable situation here; even if you try to take down an objectionable song, it’s still going to be out there misleading people until the end of time, as is the nature of the internet. Be careful!!!” said the worried follower.

“We expect a certain amount of chaos,” replied the vocalist. “Grimes is an art project, not a music project. The ultimate goal has always been to push boundaries rather than have a nice song. The point is to poke holes in the simulation and see what happens even if it’s a bad outcome for us,”

Although the chart-topping artist is giving fans the creative freedom to use her voice, she declared that songs would be removed for copyright if it includes “toxic” lyrics or refers to sex and violence. She advised fans to register music under a portal using “A.I. Grimes,” so her team could collect and pay royalties.

While many creatives believe the music industry is in jeopardy, a handful are looking forward and evolving. For instance, Oasis frontman Liam Gallagher confirmed that indie band Breezer used his voice to create their eight-track album, AISIS. Meanwhile, GRAMMY-nominated producer Alex da Kid used AI to create “Not Easy,” a track that peaked in the top five on the iTunes Hot Tracks chart in less than 48 hours.

Grimes will speak about AI at the International Music Summit in Ibiza on Friday, April 28.

Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images


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