Grimes loves to push the envelope. But after telling her fans that she’s down with “open sourcing all art and killing copyright” in a series of tweets on Sunday night, and offering to split royalties 50/50 with any successful AI-generated song that uses her voice,” the no rules singer realized she might need some guardrails after all.
“Ok hate this part but we may do copyright takedowns ONLY for rly rly toxic lyrics w Grimes voice,” she tweeted on Monday afternoon (April 24). “imo you’d rly have to push it for me to wanna take smthn down but I guess plz don’t be *the worst*. as in, try not to exit the current Overton window of lyrical content w regards to sex/violence. Like no baby murder songs plz.”
The mother of two with ex Elon Musk then went further, openly debating with herself whether issuing takedown notices after making the open call for facsimile Grimes songs with no limits would make her a hypocrite. “I think I’m Streisand effecting this now but I don’t wanna have to issue a takedown and be a hypocrite later,” she said in reference to an attempt to censor or hide a piece of information that only serves to further shine a spotlight on it.
“***That’s the only rule. 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,” she added in a nod to the 1967 Mel Brooks satirical comedy, The Producers, about the staging a Nazi musical. (Grimes admitted in a later tweet that she has never seen The Producers and that the plan was to wing it and “send takedown notices to scary stuff,” before adding that she’s not even sure her team is capable of sending takedown notices.)
“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 said, reiterating that she really doesn’t like adding rules after the fact and apologizing and saying “but this is the only thing.”
When a commenter said it sounded like Grimes was definitely “streisand-ing this situation,” she responded, “Yes but I gotta say it. And if it’s a meme to make awful grimes songs it’ll prob be a week of hard work for us but not a boring outcome. I imagine the DAN// Sidney Bing going murderous equivalent will have to happen with vocal deepfakes and I’m entertained if that happens to us.”
Another commenter noted that the potential for offensive or gross posts “should’ve been their [Grimes’ team’s] first thought,” which the singer said it actually was. “I just didn’t think the original post abt ai wud be a thing, like it was sort of a casual post so my poor team is just catching up with now having to organize all this,” she said.
In a tweet referencing this weekend’s disastrous roll-up of non-paying blue checkmarks on Musk’s Twitter — which was chaotic and later reversed in part for some well-known users who adamantly refused to pay for their legacy checkmarks — a user joked that Grimes had “learned from Elon! Twitter announcement first, then let’s figure out the details after.”
Grimes turned what could have been a diss into a positive, noting, “In my defense this has always been a Grimes feature too.”
The back-and-forth continued when a user said even with takedowns Grimes could still end up in an “uncomfortable situation” where an offensive song could still be out in the world “misleading people until the end of time,” as things tend to do on the internet.
Her response to that one was classic Grimes : “We expect a certain amount of chaos,” she said. “Grimes is an art project, not a music project. The ultimate goal has always been to push boundaries rather than have a nice song. The point is to poke holes in the simulation and see what happens even if it’s a bad outcome for us.”
Most importantly, fans wanted to know when the software will be available for other artists to try it out with their voices. The good news, according to Grimes, is that it’s already out there and she was busy collecting resources. In even better news, she also told her followers that she has “lots of real Grimes songs ready to go too.”
Fans have been eagerly awaiting any news about Grimes’ next album, the as-yet-unscheduled BOOK 1, after she recently said that “music is my side quest now. Tbh reduced pressure x increased freedom = prob more music just ideally ‘Low key I’ll always do my best to entertain whilst depleting my literal reputation I hope that’s ok I love y’all.”
The musician’s most recent album was 2020’s Miss Anthropocene, which included the singles “Violence,” “So Heavy I Fell Through the Earth,” “My Name Is Dark” and “Delete Forever.” Since then, she’s also released one-off songs including 2021’s “Player of Games” and last year’s “Shinigami Eyes.”
Grimes’ AI tease came a week after a fake song featuring A.I.-generated vocals from Drake and The Weeknd, “Heart on My Sleeve,” was pulled from streaming services after going viral.
“I’ll split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated song that uses my voice,” she promised while announcing the AI project, a stance that was in stark opposition to Universal Music Group, which acted quickly to condemn the “infringing content created with generative AI” that produced the phony superstar duet.
Check out Grimes’ tweets below.