The Recording Academy is orchestrating major changes to the Grammy Awards, with a groundbreaking rule that emphasizes the role of “only human creators” in winning music’s most prestigious accolade. The decision aims to address the increasing use of artificial intelligence in popular music and ensure that human authorship remains at the heart of the industry, according to the newly released “Artificial Intelligence (AI) Protocols.”
The Human Touch: Defining Meaningful Contribution
Following the recent board of trustees meeting, it was determined that works featuring elements of AI can still be eligible for recognition, as long as a human creator makes a “meaningful” contribution to the music and/or lyrics. The new requirements emphasize the significance of human authorship in submitted works.
AI Strikes a Chord: Paul McCartney’s Experimental Beatles Record
Just as the AI rule takes center stage, music legend Paul McCartney announced an upcoming “last Beatles record” created using artificial intelligence. By extracting John Lennon’s voice from an old demo, McCartney embraced the exciting yet slightly daunting possibilities of AI. He described the technology as both “kind of scary but exciting,” leaving us intrigued about where this musical innovation will lead.
Category Shakeup: Changes Beyond AI
Beyond the AI rule, the Recording Academy has swiftly implemented changes across multiple categories. For the album of the year nomination, a music creator now needs to account for at least 20% of the work, including all credited artists, songwriters, producers, engineers, mixers, and mastering engineers. The number of nominees in the “Big Four” categories has been reduced from 10 to eight, reflecting a more competitive landscape.
Evolving with the Beat: Music Doc Format Gets a Makeover
The Recording Academy recognizes the evolution of music documentaries, shifting away from a strict performance-based focus. Previously, 50% of the documentary footage needed to be performance-based for a nomination in the “best music film” category. However, this requirement has been lifted, allowing a broader range of verité and archival footage to be considered. Biopics and dramatic feature films remain ineligible.
Visual Albums and Musical Trends
The Academy now acknowledges the trend of visual albums, where music-focused and individual music videos create a cohesive film experience. This concept, popularized by Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” film and explored across genres like Halsey’s “If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power,” can now be entered as one collective work. It showcases the intersection of music and visual storytelling.
Rhythm and Name Changes: Jazz and Regional Mexican Music
The best improvised jazz solo award has been renamed to best jazz performance, reflecting the diverse nature of jazz expressions. Additionally, the best regional Mexican music album (including Tejano) has been rechristened as best música Mexicana album (including Tejano), with specific requirements. To qualify, lyrics must be at least 50% in Spanish, or the majority of the musical content must reflect traditional Mexican music styles such as banda, norteño, corridos, gruperos, mariachi, rancheros, sierreño, jarocho, huasteco