This is not a test. "Heart on My Sleeve," the viral AI-generated song composed by a human, but devised as an imaginary duet between Canadian superstars Drake and The Weeknd, is now considered an eligible contender for the Grammys.
As confirmed in a New York Times interview with Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr., the song does fit the criteria for the songwriting categories of Best Rap Song and the even more coveted Song of the Year. As Mason points out, "It’s absolutely eligible because it was written by a human."
The song first courted controversy upon its release in April, when it was uploaded to streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Spotify, SoundCloud, and of course YouTube and TikTok.
Legal bows and arrows started to fly once Universal Music Group got hold of the news, as the song was pulled almost immediately after it went up. Mysteriously, however, UMG claims they did not send take-down orders or threaten action against the ghostwriter. It's been suggested the songwriter themself did this for fear of legal retribution once it went stratospheric. As for both Drake and the Weeknd, they have largely remained silent on the matter. Drake had remarked publicly just after "Heart On My Sleeve" garnered notice that a previous AI-mashup of him singing Ice Spice's "Munch" was "the last straw."
At that time, UMG did issue a warning to DSPs, asking them to prevent AI companies from accessing their copyrighted songs just as the first rumblings of this technology were making waves.
Nevertheless, there are legitimate issues with the song's possible path to a Grammy nod. Most obviously, flesh-and-blood Recording Academy members would have to actually vote for it. There is also the possible hurdle of copyright infringement, as well as the Grammy rule requiring "generation distribution," meaning "the broad release of a recording, available nationwide via brick-and-mortar stores, third-party online retailers and/or streaming services."
In other words, this means you have to have access to the song, and with an uphill battle regarding its commercial viability, coupled with continual uploads by third-parties and the peek-a-boo identity of its creator, it's a bit of a mystery how this angle could play out. Like ghostwriter in a way.