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Grimes happy to split the royalties if anyone wants to create an AI Grimes track

By | Published on Monday 24 April 2023


If anyone is thinking of jumping on the bandwagon of training generative AI tools to make new songs in the style of existing artists, well, maybe you should start with Grimes. Because – unlike some in the music industry – she’s not bothered at all about AI being employed in that way and would gladly share the royalties in any tracks featuring an AI version of her voice.

Commenting on an article about one of the fake Drake tracks that got people talking last week, Grimes said 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”.

Last week an AI-generated track featuring vocals in the style of Drake and The Weeknd popped up on the streaming services for a time after going viral on TikTok. It prompted Universal Music – as the label of both artists – to again call on the streaming services to do their bit to help the music industry deal with the ever increasing stream of AI-generated music that is now being created and released.

The major had already urged the streaming services to ensure that people are not able to train generative AI technologies by scraping music on their platforms. The music industry is adamant that, if an AI is trained by mining data linked to existing songs and recordings, a licence is required from whoever owns the copyright in the existing music.

Last week Universal also said that the streaming firms should look for and remove AI-generated tracks that have clearly been created via the unlicensed mining of music data, for example AI-created music featuring vocals in the style of real world artists.

The actual legalities of all this are very much up for debate, of course. Artists could also try to stop the distribution of AI-generated tracks designed to sound like they provided the vocals under publicity rights in some jurisdictions, although again the law still needs to be tested in that domain.

In the same way opinion is divided in the legal community regarding what the law says about music created using generative AI, the music community is also somewhat divided regarding how it should respond to the ever more sophisticated music-making AI technology and the recent spike in interest in using said tech.

When commenting on another AI-generated fake Drake track, Drake himself recently posted on social media: “This is the final straw”. Though it wasn’t entirely clear if he was joking. Liam Gallagher, meanwhile, declared that an AI-created album in the style of Oasis sounded “mega”.

As for Grimes, in a follow up tweet she added: “I think it’s cool to be fused with a machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright”.

For more discussion around the use of generative AI in music, listen to this week’s edition of our Setlist podcast.