Grimes Endorses AI Songs And “Killing Copyright”
In recent months, one of the big topics of speculation — both in the music business and everywhere else — has been the rise of artificial intelligence. The increasing sophistication of those AI tracks has been a source of anxiety for many of artists, but Grimes has gone galaxy-brain and apparently embraced the new development, as well as the death of all copyright.
Earlier this month, an anonymous TikTok user shared a song called “Heart On My Sleeve,” which featured AI-generated vocals that sounded like Drake and the Weeknd. The song was pulled from streaming services for copyright infringement, but not before it racked up millions of plays. Plenty of people find this uncanny-valley thing to be weird and creepy, but Grimes is into it.
Last night on Twitter, Grimes posted a screenshot of a New York Times article about the fake Drake/Weeknd song, and she tweeted that she wants people to try to use her voice for AI purposes: “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… I think it’s cool to be fused w a machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright.”
Grimes says that she’s working on her own voice-simulation program but that she’s happy to let users attempt to replicate her voice.
Earlier this month, Grimes tweeted that she “trained an AI version of me and she fell in love with our friend who trained her.” Grimes then spent some time responding to complaints that she’d got more into developing AI than working on her own actual new music: “I was never a singer. I was just good enough at engineering to make it sound like I was… Lots of new music to come, but y’all can find singers anywhere.” Last night, Grimes addressed the status of her own new album, which has supposedly been finished since last year: “It got held so long I’m bored of it, I’ll put it out but I wanna release the new songs I just made first.”
Earlier this year, Jamie Brooks, Grimes’ old friend and former collaborator, wrote a fascinating Substack piece on the fake/generative songs that have recently been appearing on Spotify playlists. Brooks’ take on this whole phenomenon was pretty far from where Grimes seems to be going with all this.
UPDATE: Grimes specifies that her voice cannot be used for baby murder songs or Nazi anthems “unless it’s somehow in jest a la producers I guess.”
Billboard also reports that Grimes has split with Columbia Records.