Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. has posted an Instagram video walking back comments published in the New York Times yesterday expressing support for the Grammy eligibility of "Heart on My Sleeve," a song created using deepfaked voice models of Drake and the Weeknd.
Criticizing what he characterized as "bad and really inaccurate information," Mason Jr. said that the song, written by an anonymous producer called Ghostwriter, was not eligible for a Grammy award. “Let me be extra, extra clear: Even though it was written by a human creator, the vocals were not legally obtained, the vocals were not cleared by the label or the artists, and the song is not commercially available. And because of that, it’s not eligible.
“I take this stuff very seriously," he continued. "It’s all complicated, and it’s moving, really, really quickly. I’m sure things are going to continue to have to evolve and change. But please, please, do not be confused. The Academy is here to support and advocate and protect and represent human artists, and human creators, period.”
Ghostwriter's "Heart on My Sleeve" was submitted for the Song of the Year and Best Rap Song awards. On Thursday, Mason Jr. told the Times the song was "absolutely eligible" because it was written by a human being, and the awards it was submitted for are given out to songwriters, not performers. The song's "general distribution" eligibility was in question, however, as the song was pulled off of streaming services by UMG soon after it went viral.
Mason Jr. has previously said that A.I. tools may be used in a song's creation, but music that is generated entirely by machine learning will not be accepted. In July, he told Variety that the Grammys are "the human award highlighting excellence, driven by human creativity."