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Grimes invites fans to make songs with an AI-generated version of her voice

Grimes, pictured in 2021, said she wants to be a "guinea pig" for music creators working with Artificial Intelligence.
Theo Wargo
Getty Images
Grimes, pictured in 2021, said she wants to be a "guinea pig" for music creators working with Artificial Intelligence.

The musician Grimes is inviting creators to use AI-generated versions of her voice to make new music, saying she could even provide the raw audio files to facilitate it.

"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," she wrote on Twitter on Sunday.

The pop singer, whose real name is Claire Boucher, also said she would "split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated song that uses my voice."

"Same deal as I would with any artist i collab with. Feel free to use my voice without penalty. I have no label and no legal bindings," she added.

Courts have not yet weighed in on AI's use in music and it's unclear how any profit would shake out legally. Grimes asked creators to register music with her website.

Fans immediately posted links to songs they've created featuring her vocal likeness. The Canadian artist said she's looking forward to being a "guinea pig" for such projects.

The musician, singer, songwriter, and record producer appears to have been inspired by last week's release of "Heart on My Sleeve," a viral hit that cloned the voices of Drake and The Weeknd, but has since been removed from streaming and social media platforms after the record label claimed copyright violations.

Neither Boucher or her team responded to NPR's questions about what she might do in cases where someone might make a song with objectionable, racist or violent lyrics. But she addressed the issue in a subsequent tweet, saying they "may do copyright takedowns ONLY for rly rly toxic lyrics w grimes voice."

She pleaded with creators to not be "the worst."

"That's the only rule," she wrote. "Rly don't like to do a rule but don't wanna be responsible for a Nazi anthem unless it's somehow in jest a la producers I guess. - wud prefer avoiding political stuff but If it's a small meme with ur friends we prob won't penalize that. Probably just if smthn is viral and anti abortion or smthn like that."

She later said she wasn't even sure, however, if she could legally ask for songs to be taken down.

This is not the first times Boucher has weighed in in support of AI-generated art or her first foray into AI song-making. In 2020 she worked with mood music start up Endel to launch an AI baby lullaby-making app. She told The New York Times she was inspired to create "a better baby sleeping situation" for son, X Æ A-XII Musk. His father is Elon Musk.

"I think A.I. is great," she said in the interview. "I just feel like, creatively, I think A.I. can replace humans. And so I think at some point, we will want to, as a species, have a discussion about how involved A.I. will be in art."

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Vanessa Romo is a reporter for NPR's News Desk. She covers breaking news on a wide range of topics, weighing in daily on everything from immigration and the treatment of migrant children, to a war-crimes trial where a witness claimed he was the actual killer, to an alleged sex cult. She has also covered the occasional cat-clinging-to-the-hood-of-a-car story.