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Grammys: Only ‘human creators’ eligible to win, academy says in response to AI

‘A work that contains no human authorship is not eligible in any category’
FILE - Grammy Awards are displayed at the Grammy Museum Experience at Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. on Oct. 10, 2017. The Recording Academy has announced three new categories to be added to the 2024 Grammy Awards: Best Pop Dance Recording, Best African Music Performance, and Best Alternative Jazz Album. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

The Recording Academy are making several changes to the Grammy Awards, including a rule that stipulates “only human creators” can win the music industry’s highest honor in a decision aimed at the use of artificial intelligence 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 set following the semi-annual academy’s board of trustees meeting last month, where it was determined that work that features elements of AI are eligible, as long as a human creator is responsible for a “meaningful” contribution to the music and/or lyrics.

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

The news arrives shortly after Paul McCartney announced on Tuesday that a forthcoming “last Beatles record” had been composed using artificial intelligence by extracting John Lennon’s voice from an old demo. At the time, he described AI as “kind of scary but exciting,” adding: “We will just have to see where that leads.”

In addition to the AI rule, the Recording Academy announced that there have been swift changes made to other categories: now, to win a nomination for the album of the year category, a music creator has to account for at least 20% of the work. That includes all credited artists, featured artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers and mastering engineers, and differs from a decision made in 2021, which allowed anyone who worked on the album to receive a nomination.

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

Previously, to be nominated for the “best music film” category, 50% of the documentary footage had to be performance based. The Recording Academy has lifted that requirement.

The change better reflects the evolution of the music doc format, often a collection of verité and archival footage, like Apple TV’s “Billie Eilish: The World’s a Little Blurry”. Biopics and dramatic feature films are still ineligible.

Also eligible: “Music-focused and individual music videos that together create a visual album (if videos are packaged and entered together as one cohesive film),” evidence of a trend spearheaded by Beyoncé’s 2016 “Lemonade” film, and explored across genres, like in Halsey’s 2021 “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power.”

The Recording Academy also announced that the best improvised jazz solo award has been renamed best jazz performance, and best regional Mexican music album (including Tejano) has been renamed best música Mexicana album (including Tejano). To qualify in the latter category, 50% of the lyrics must be sung in Spanish, or the majority of the musical content must reflect a traditional style of Mexican music, like banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, rancheros, sierreño, jarocho, huasteco and huapango.

Those changes follow the addition of three new categories, announced on Tuesday: best pop dance recording, best African music performance, and best alternative jazz album.

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