Grimes invites AI artists to use her voice, promising 50 percent royalty split

“Feel free to use my voice without penalty,” the artist tweeted.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Canadian synth-pop artist Grimes says AI artists can use her voice without worrying about copyright or legal enforcement. “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,” she tweeted on Sunday. “Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings.”

The musician’s declaration comes in the wake of streaming platforms removing an AI-generated song using simulated voices of Drake and The Weeknd. Universal Music Group (UMG), which represents both artists, called for the purge after “Heart on My Sleeve” garnered over 15 million listens on TikTok and 600,000 on Spotify. UMG argued that publishing a song trained on its artists’ voices was “a breach of our agreements and a violation of copyright law.”

Grimes takes a considerably more open approach, adding that she has no label or legal bindings. “I think it’s cool to be fused [with] a machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright,” she added.

This isn’t Grimes’ first time weighing in on AI. The artist collaborated with mood music startup Endel to launch an AI-generated lullaby app in 2020. She was inspired to create “a better baby sleeping situation” for her son, X Æ A-XII. In addition, she predicted in 2019 that generative AI could mean “the end of art, human art,” continuing by saying, “Once there’s actually AGI (Artificial General Intelligence), they’re gonna be so much better at making art than us... once AI can totally master science and art, which could happen in the next 10 years, probably more like 20 or 30 years.”

In addition to music, generative AI is already disrupting numerous industries, including visual art, writing, online media and voiceover work. After its sudden arrival — and rapid improvements — within the past year, AI content creation has set off numerous legal, ethical and copyright firestorms. Unfortunately, it will likely worsen before society and copyright laws settle on any consensus. In March, the US Copyright Office said AI art, including music, stemming from a text prompt couldn’t be copyrighted. But it left the issue far from settled as it left the door open to granting copyright protections to works with AI-generated elements.

Grimes’ offer to split royalties says it would apply to any “successful” AI song using her voice, leaving some confusion over where that cutoff is. Either way, she sounds ready to back up the offer with tools artists can use, promising, “We’re making a program that should simulate my voice well but we could also upload stems and samples for ppl to train their own.”