Grimes: “Copyright sucks. Art is a conversation with everyone that’s come before us”
In a keynote at the International Music Summit in Ibiza, Grimes spoke about AI, copyright and wanting people to make music from her voice if she were dead
Grimes took the stage at the annual International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza today, April 28, talking about all things AI and the future of music.
With the theme of the summit being ‘Face The Future,’ Grimes was on hand to discuss topics surrounding artificial intelligence, music rights management and technology, in a keynote moderated by BBC Radio 1 Dance DJ Jaguar and live tweeted on the IMS Twitter feed.
“I feel strongly that there’s way too much gatekeeping in music,” said Grimes. “Copyright sucks. Art is a conversation with everyone that’s come before us. Intertwining it with the ego is a modern concept. The music industry has been defined by lawyers, and that strangles creativity.”
“I think everything about copyright is problematic,” she added. “There’s too much top down control. In the early days of TikTok there was a lot of weird music going viral, but now the gatekeeping stranglehold means less interesting stuff coming out.”
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The Canadian artist, who has been outspoken in her support of new evolving technologies, took to Twitter last week to tell fans they would be able to use her voice on AI-generated tracks “without penalty”, and that she would split royalties 50/50 with any artificial intelligence (AI) created music imitating her voice.
Touching upon her AI collaboration offer to fans at IMS, she said: “Why shouldn’t people be able to use my voice? Something cool and beautiful might come from it. I think this might be one of the coolest times to be an artist ever. We’re just at the start of the internet.
“I always say to my manager: ‘I want to make hieroglyphics. I don’t care if people remember my name, but I want to be able to meaningfully contribute to this culture at a time of great change.”
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On the topic of generating AI music from deceased artists, she added: “If I was dead I’d really like people to do it. But I’m not sure everyone would agree. I feel like maybe Prince would’ve been up for it. If it was one of his friends doing it maybe. It’s a tricky one.”
Grimes’ offer to collaborate came in response to the controversy over a viral track featuring AI-generated vocals of Drake and The Weeknd which was later removed from social media platforms.
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The track titled ‘Heart On My Sleeve (Drake AI Song feat. The Weekend)’ was produced by an anonymous artist named ‘Ghostwriter.’ The track was later reportedly removed due to a request from Drake and Universal Music, although it still remains unclear if this was due to a copyright infringement.
Grimes also touched upon her relationship with Elon Musk, sharing: “I’ve had people saying ‘your baby daddy invaded Bolivia for lithium. I’ve been cancelled so many times - I’m not sure it can get worse than saying I support war crimes.”
Upon inviting Grimes as their keynote speaker, IMS co-founder and lead curator Ben Turner said: “Grimes is one of the most important, impactful and creative artists of our times. A true visionary - sonically, lyrically, philosophically….and then there’s that angelic voice.”
“It is a true honour to host her at IMS for our finale keynote interview in what is a rare visit to Ibiza. She will also be performing - more news to come.”
Vee Pandey is Mixmag's Digital Trainee, follow her on Twitter