Fake Drake won't be eligible as Junos add AI guidelines to prevent robot takeover
David Friend writing for The Canadian Press:
The Juno Awards say a controversial "deep fake" song featuring unauthorized sound-alike vocals of Drake and the Weeknd won't be eligible at next year's celebration of Canadian music.
The organization's president Allan Reid said that newly introduced "AI Eligibility" rules lay out the basics of how artificial intelligence can be used in making songs — and the popular mashup of the two famed Toronto singers doesn't meet the requirements.
"It's 'Drake and the Weeknd' — but that's not them," Reid told The Canadian Press.
"That is not their voices; those are AI-generated voices."
Before submissions for the 2024 Junos open on Monday, leadership has clarified that eligible recordings can use AI, but that it can’t be the “sole or core component” of the project.
Exactly what that means is still up for some interpretation, Reid conceded. He described this as "very much a learning year for us" with the established rules as "a baseline" to work from.
"We want to make sure that we have humans being recognized," he said. "We can't be awarding an AI project a Juno."
The new criteria come as the music industry contends with a fast-evolving technology that’s flooded the internet with “deep fake” songs which use computer-generated voices that mimic the real artists.
“Heart on My Sleeve,” a song created by a producer who calls himself Ghostwriter and who to Reid's understanding is not Canadian, rattled the music industry earlier this year with its convincing performances by fake versions of Drake and the Weeknd.
Its release led record industry giant Universal Music Group, distributor of both Canadian artists, to issue takedown notices to music streamers. They released a statement calling unauthorized AI-made songs "a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law,” while the Grammys recently clarified the song would not be eligible at its awards show.
Submission forms do not directly ask if AI technology was used in the creation, said Liz Morgante, senior manager of the academy's operations. However, any projects that raise questions will be reviewed by the Junos music advisory committees.
"There's no question AI is going to revolutionize how music is created," Reid added.
"And with the rate that things are changing ... it's hard for us to predict where things will land in the future, which is why we need to take initial steps and learn as this evolves."
Not being a Canadian artist means Ghostwriter wouldn't have been eligible anyhow but more and more industries are going to be adding similar rules like this to limit how AI can be used.