While many in the industry are focusing on the perceived threat that AI poses to musicians' livelihoods - particularly when it comes to emulating artists’ voices without their permission - Grimes is taking a different approach.
In a Tweet that features a screengrab of a news story reporting on the recent ‘fake Drake’ controversy, the musician (real name Claire Boucher) made AI-embracing producers a potentially lucrative offer.
“I'll split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated song that uses my voice,” proposed the star. “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.”
Grimes’ attitude is in stark contrast to that of Universal Music Group, the record label that Drake and The Weeknd are signed to. When Ghostwriter's track Heart On My Sleeve - which features vocals that sound like they’re being performed by the two stars - appeared on streaming services recently, UMG was quick to state that this “represents both a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” and the song was removed from streaming services.
It seems inevitable that this will just be the first of many similar cases, and record companies are sure to go legal when they feel that their rights are being infringed. However, there may also be other artists - particularly those who are no longer signed to labels - who follow Grimes’ lead and seek to embrace the potential of AI as a new revenue stream.
Whether anyone will take her up on her offer remains to be seen, but it seems that Grimes sees plenty of benefits to the inevitable AI revolution. In a further Tweet, she said: “I think it's cool to be fused [with a] machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright."
Bring on the era of creative nihilism.
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. pic.twitter.com/KIY60B5uqtApril 24, 2023