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The Ghost of the Grammys 2023

The most rocky Grammy Awards have been awarded since 1959, and over the years have recognized some of the most influential artists in the history of music. It is understood that to this day it is one of the most coveted awards by artists and companies within the music industry.

For many, it can mean a significant increase in sales and transmissions of their materials, a phenomenon often referred to as the "digital revolution".Grammy boost". The size of the momentum often correlates to how many awards are collected and when wins occur at the ceremony. The visibility and opportunities that occur after winning or even being nominated for a Grammy can significantly increase an artist's visibility. This can lead to better offers, better contracts and more opportunities in general.

These awards recognize achievements in more than 25 fields, covering genres such as urban, pop, rock, rap, R&B, country, reggae, classical, gospel, Latin, jazz and many others. This means that artists from a wide variety of musical backgrounds have the opportunity to be recognized.

In short, winning a Grammy can have a significant impact on artists' careers in the global music industry, increasing their visibility, improving their sales and solidifying their place in music history. In addition, there is public and expert confidence in the quality of the jurors and decision-makers within the awards operation. 

But can you take advantage of a Grammy nomination or award without even getting to compete for it?

In recent times we have seen the growth of digital technologies and we have begun to live little by little the productive impacts of the implementation of new ways of managing knowledge and information. Some experts speak of a productive revolution. Music does not escape the footprints left by Artificial Intelligences (AI).

An anonymous artist known as ghostwriter (ghostwriter in Spanish) generated, using artificial intelligence, a song entitled Heart on My Sleeve which imitates artists Drake and The Weeknd. The track created controversy and was removed from the services of streaming after generating more than 600 thousand plays on Spotify and 275 thousand views on YouTube, not insignificant numbers considering that even after limiting access, it has continued to be shared and listened to in various ways. This happened while it remained open to the public on the accounts of its creator, even after removing the music.

Representatives of the anonymous artist (who can be seen in videos with a sheet over his head and glasses concealing his identity) revealed in an interview to New York Times who had submitted the song for next year's Grammy Awards. The song would participate in the categories of Best Rap Song and Song of the Year.. Harvey Mason Jr, CEO of the Recording Academy, confirmed that from a creative standpoint, the song is "absolutely eligible because it was written by a human." He had to retract it later because of the ethical and copyright implications.

Yes, it is true that the Recording Academy announced AI protocols earlier this year. They stipulated that "only human creators are eligible to be submitted, considered, nominated, or won a Grammy Award" and that "a work that does not contain human authorship is not eligible in any category". However, there is a significant loophole in these statements, because songs that contain elements created by artificial intelligences are eligible for consideration and nomination. The entanglement in this case involves the unauthorized use of the voices and names of industry figures. It would be very interesting to see what would happen if there were prior authorization and proper legal procedures.

Could it be that we have already been taken for a ride and have not even noticed?

The truth is that this song is not the only one that has caused high impact on the public and is recognized as AI-generated. Just to mention a few that you can search for: Daddy's Car and Mr. Shadowcreated by an AI system called Flow Machines; Break Free, a pop song created by Amper Music's AI; and I AM AI, a full-length album created by singer Taryn Southern and Amper Music's AI.

Already in previous articles We were talking about the fact that it would not be necessary for a user to be too creative or have deep knowledge of music to create songs. There are many ways and here are some of them, in case you want to do your own experiment. These are some platforms that allow you to generate your own music with the help of artificial intelligence:

  • SOUNDRAW is a platform that allows users to generate beats and songs using artificial intelligence.
  • JUKEBOX from OpenAI is a neural network that generates music, including rudimentary singing, as raw audio in a variety of genres and artist styles.
  • VOICEMOD allows users to choose from different AI singers and from various genres such as pop, trap, hip hop, classical and more.
  • FRESHBOTS is an advanced lyrics generator that uses artificial intelligence.

It is important to mention that people play an important role in the creative process, either by providing training data for the AIs or by adjusting and refining the outputs that are generated.

Already this year was marked as the first time that it was openly acknowledged that a work generated using AI was almost considered eligible to compete for a Grammy. Does this seem like a small thing? This specter is going to remain present for some time to come and the ethical debate will loom large.

In any case, we are in the midst of a time of exciting changes and colossal events. What does scare me is the uncertainty generated by the very high speed at which events are taking place. Five years ago all this seemed far away, and a few months ago, when the first articles in this column were published, it seemed far away too. Now we have to wait and see what will happen in the future. This time knowing that the future could be tomorrow.

Avatar photo Edu O'Bourke Professor and Researcher in Social Sciences. Psychologist and singer-songwriter. More posts

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