Music made from AI and human collaboration is becoming increasingly mainstream. In fact, it may even snag upcoming Grammy nominations.
The Recording Academy’s new eligibility requirements for Grammy Awards in February 2024 say AI-assisted songs are now eligible, as long as the works feature human creativity in the nominated category. Essentially, this means songs with lyrics authored by humans and performed by AI are eligible for the awards in songwriting, while songs with AI-generated lyrics and human singers are eligible for the performance awards.
The Grammy’s evolving rules illustrate just how quickly the music industry is pivoting in response to evolving technology and times. “This transformation is not entirely new or unexpected,” says Kraig Kleeman, founder and CEO of Rock the C-Suite. “After all, the music sector is constantly evolving. Before AI, forces like The Beatles and Bob Dylan also made massive shifts in the industry. A brief review of rock ‘n’ roll history may help us get a handle on AI’s current implications and project its future impact.”
The Beatles — undoubtedly one of the most iconic and influential bands in music history — played a pivotal role in expanding the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll and reshaping the cultural landscape of the 1960s. “The Beatles’ willingness to explore new sounds and instruments was remarkable,” Kleeman observes. “It pushed the boundaries of rock ‘n’ roll and created entirely new genres.”
One critical factor that set The Beatles apart from their contemporaries was their eagerness to experiment with different musical styles. Early in their careers, the group was heavily influenced by rock ‘n’ roll pioneers like Elvis Presley and Chuck Berry, but they didn’t stop there.
“The Beatles incorporated elements of rhythm and blues, folk, country, and even classical music into their songs,” explains Kleeman. “Their eclectic sonic palette allowed them to create music that resonated with diverse audiences and appealed to a broader demographic.”
Bob Dylan’s decision to go electric in the mid-1960s marked a pivotal moment not only in his career, but also in the evolution of folk and rock music. His impact on his audiences, and the broader musical culture during this transitional time, was as profound as it was multifaceted.
“Dylan’s shift to electric instruments and rock-oriented production with albums like ‘Bringing It All Back Home’ and ‘Highway 61 Revisited’ ignited passionate and divisive reactions from his audience,” observes Kleeman. “Before this transformation, Dylan’s acoustic guitar and socially conscious lyrics positioned him as the voice of the folk revival. While folk purists viewed his decision to embrace electric guitars and a rock-infused sound as a betrayal of his roots, his evolving sound attracted a new, younger audience and changed the way we think about two genres.”
Over the past few years, it’s become apparent that AI’s impact on music is acutely significant. In fact, a recent survey finds that 60% of independent musicians use AI in some way as they create songs. Whether artists turn to AI for help in songwriting, production, mastering, or artwork design, it’s clear AI is no longer taking a back seat.
According to Kleeman, the arrival of AI on the music scene is likely to be as transformative as The Beatles’ drive to create new genres and Dylan’s decision to go electric. As artificial intelligence advances, it provides musicians, producers, and other music industry professionals with tools to create, analyze, and distribute music in groundbreaking new ways.
AI currently plays a major role in almost every aspect of the music industry. During the composition and songwriting process, musicians and composers use AI to generate musical ideas, harmonies, and chord progressions. AI algorithms speed up the creative process by analyzing vast musical datasets, sparking creativity, and inspiring fresh ideas.
In terms of production, AI offers tools such as mastering software and virtual instruments to enable producers to deliver higher-quality music than ever before. AI not only takes care of once-tedious jobs, such as audio restoration and noise reduction, but can also assist in copyright monitoring and licensing by detecting violations to ensure artists are properly compensated for their work.
Artificial intelligence is also enhancing the music industry and listening experience for fans, as more streaming platforms utilize AI to provide personalized music recommendations based on listeners’ preferences. This integration is already helping artists reach their target audience more effectively.
“A Grammy win — or even a nomination — for a song partly created by AI would significantly impact the way we perceive AI-generated music,” Kleeman speculates. “Recognition by the music industry’s most prestigious awards would legitimize AI as a creative tool in composition. It would place AI-generated music right alongside the best of the best in human-created music.”
Indeed, a Grammy nomination would certainly spark even more creative collaboration between artists and AI systems, and that collaboration is sure to push boundaries in the music sector. “As tech and humanity partner up, we are already seeing innovative and hybrid music styles,” Kleeman observes. “The blend of human creativity and AI computation is fascinating in the area of music. Just as The Beatles and Dylan pushed genre boundaries, AI encourages musicians to explore by analyzing vast datasets and generating music across various styles. A Grammy win could encourage musicians to use AI to explore unconventional musical styles.”
As with previous shifts in the music industry, the AI revolution is bound to come with its own set of growing pains. Next year’s Grammy recognition is likely to dredge up difficult questions concerning copyright and ownership, meaning legal and ethical discussions around who owns the rights to AI-created compositions will surely intensify.
Change is inevitable. Yet, despite the questions and concerns, AI showing up at the Grammy’s will likely only increase the general public’s acceptance of AI-generated music.
“As more and more musicians talk about how they utilize AI, it will reduce the stigma that AI-created music is somehow ‘less authentic’ than human music,” Kleeman predicts. “Such public inroads into the industry are bound to reinforce the idea that AI is a tool to enhance human creativity, rather than a replacement for human musicians.”
AI is an integral part of the music sector. While it has already shown its ability to enhance creativity and efficiency across music creation, distribution, and consumption, more change is yet to come.
“Ultimately, AI will upend the music industry in ways we cannot yet imagine,” Kleeman observes. “Its far-reaching impact will eclipse even that of Bob Dylan and The Beatles.”