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Embracing the Future: The Rise of AI-Generated Art

Posted by on Wednesday, April 3, 2024 in Blog Posts.

By David Black

In the rapidly evolving landscape of creative expression, the emergence of generative Artificial Intelligence (AI) presents both exhilarating possibilities and profound challenges. As society witnesses AI’s expanding application and scope, particularly in the realm of artistry and creativity, fundamental questions arise: Are we prepared, or even willing, to embrace the new artists that AI will inevitably produce? This inquiry gained prominence in April 2023 when a TikTok user under the pseudonym “Ghostwriter977” released a song titled “Heart on My Sleeve,” seemingly performed by acclaimed artists Drake and The Weeknd. However, a closer examination revealed that AI, not human artists, was behind the creation of this remarkably convincing piece of music.

The incident stirred significant debate among legal scholars and music enthusiasts, prompting critical reflections on the implications of AI in the music industry and the protection of intellectual property rights. It raised concerns about the potential proliferation of “deep fake” music, challenging established notions of artistic authorship and copyright ownership. Unfortunately, the fate of “Heart on My Sleeve” was short-lived, as Universal Music Group, the label representing Drake and The Weeknd, swiftly intervened with legal claims, resulting in the song’s removal from major streaming platforms. Yet, this episode marked a pivotal moment in the ongoing discourse surrounding AI-generated art, paving the way for the emergence of a new “artist” named Anna Indiana.[1]

In November 2023, Anna Indiana took center stage, introducing herself as an AI singer-songwriter whose compositions were entirely crafted without human intervention. With each song meticulously produced by AI technology,[2] Anna’s works challenged traditional conceptions of creativity and artistic agency. While some celebrated the technological advancements enabling such feats, others expressed apprehension about the potential ramifications of relegating the human element in creative endeavors like music. Nevertheless, Anna Indiana’s presence on major streaming platforms, boasting songs devoid of human input, sparked profound philosophical inquiries about the nature of art and the role of technology in its creation.

At the heart of these discussions lie fundamental legal considerations, most notably concerning copyright ownership and the ability to profit from AI-generated works. Presently, prevailing copyright laws predominantly safeguard works originating from human creativity,[3] leaving AI-generated art in a precarious position. The question of whether AI-generated compositions qualify for copyright protection remains unresolved, underscoring the need for legislative clarity in an increasingly digitized creative landscape. Furthermore, the issue extends beyond legal frameworks to encompass broader societal attitudes towards AI-generated art and its recognition within established institutions.

Recognition, both within the industry and among the general public, constitutes another crucial facet of the debate surrounding AI-generated art. As Anna Indiana’s compositions garner increasing attention and appreciation from listeners, questions arise about their eligibility for prestigious accolades like the GRAMMY Awards. However, the Recording Academy’s stance on the matter reinforces the primacy of human creativity, asserting that AI-generated music does not meet the criteria for consideration. In declining eligibility to “Heart on My Sleeve”, the Academy explained that the “commercially available” requirement was not met based on the fact that the song was removed from the streaming platform based on the illegal obtaining of the vocals without clearance from the artist. Furthermore, Chief of the Recording Academy, explained that the GRAMMY is a “human award highlighting excellence driven by human creativity” and a nomination to an AI computer or person who prompts AI will not be given.[4]

In conclusion, as technology continues to redefine the boundaries of creativity, society stands at a critical juncture, poised to shape the trajectory of AI-generated art that likely will lead to three possible outcomes; the outright refusal to accept AI-generated art, the acceptance of AI-generated art as a complement or tool of human artists, or the acceptance and full recognition of this newly emerging art form. As technology develops and legal challenges to and for AI-generated art come forth, it is worth paying attention to how the aesthetic preferences and norms of various art industries both influence and are influenced by the posture of laws relating to art. The future of art, whether made using a paintbrush or a gavel, is sure to be breathtaking.

David Black is a Partner at Maynard Nexsen in Columbia, SC, and the Practice Group Leader of their Business Litigation group. He was a presenter at JETLaw’s 2024 Symposium: Music Law in the Music City.

[1] Indiana, A. (2024) Anna Indiana (@annaindianaai) / x. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2024); Willman, C. (2023) Ai-generated fake ‘drake’/’weeknd’ collaboration, ‘heart on my sleeve,’ delights fans and sets off industry alarm bells, Variety. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2024).

[2] Indiana, A. (2024) Anna Indiana (@annaindianaai) / x. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2024).

[3] Balashova, A. (2023) Ai-generated music copyright debate: Who owns the rights?, Kill the DJ. Available at:,the%20generative%20AI%20system%20Midjourney. (Accessed: 26 March 2024).

[4] Aswad, J. (2023) AI-generated Drake and Weeknd Song ‘heart on my sleeve’ is not eligible for a Grammy, recording academy chief clarifies, Variety. Available at: (Accessed: 26 March 2024).

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