An AI-generated song mimicking Drake and the Weeknd is eligible to win a Grammy

The controversial tune, titled "Heart on My Sleeve," by Ghostwriter first went viral back in April

By Joy Saha

Staff Writer

Published September 7, 2023 1:23PM (EDT)

The Weeknd | Drake (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)
The Weeknd | Drake (Photo illustration by Salon/Getty Images)

A collaborative track featuring AI-generated duets of Drake and the Weeknd's voices was submitted for next year's Grammy consideration. But here's the thing, the nominations — and possible awards — won't go to Drake or the Weeknd, considering that their actual voices aren't in the song. Instead, they'll all go to Ghostwriter, the anonymous creator behind it all, who's made a name for himself writing and creating similar AI-generated music. 

Ghostwriter's tune "Heart on My Sleeve" was submitted for best rap song and song of the year — two awards that are given to a song's writers, as opposed to its performers, Variety noted. The track was still eligible for consideration "because it was written by a human," said Recording Academy CEO Harvey Mason Jr. in an interview with The New York Times.

The track has a few issues regarding its release. Grammy rules require that songs have "generation distribution," meaning "the broad release of a recording, available nationwide via brick-and-mortar stores, third-party online retailers and/or streaming services." Shortly after it went viral in April, "Heart on My Sleeve" was pulled from several streaming services because Universal Music reportedly issued takedown notices to individual Digital Service Providers (DSPs). The song has since been re-uploaded by unofficial third parties across the internet and streaming services.

In a statement to Billboard, Universal Music Group (UMG) slammed the track and its usage of AI, saying its virality "demonstrates why platforms have a fundamental legal and ethical responsibility to prevent the use of their services in ways that harm artists." The Times specified that "Ghostwriter's representative said they were aware of the commercial availability requirement."