Grimes (aka Claire Boucher – and yes, we are related) made a splash recently by declaring “copyright sucks” and insisting that she was in favor of “killing” it. Do her claims hold water?
Stereogum’s re-reporting will suffice for our present purposes:
“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.”
I’m on the one hand sort of supportive of alternative exercises but on the other hand, not sure I completely buy what she’s offering as being an alternative at all…
I’m not just cherry-picking either; reporting continues:
After her keynote, Grimes launched a service called GrimesA1-1 Voiceprint to give AI creators access to her vocals. For $9.99/year, the service will put your song on streaming services.
So… she’s basically building a system of… wait for it… licensing… and:
Grimes also said she would “split 50% royalties on any successful AI generated song that uses my voice,” adding: “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.”
So licensing + payments… that all sounds a little… idk copyright-esque to me?
I don’t want to go off on a huge tangent here either, but as an artist this all feels slightly… imperialistic, especially since she is also cited as saying that intertwining art with ego is a “modern concept.” All while generously offering to take your voice… and turn it into her voice, all for a low low fee. So we’re totally free to emulate her in every way, so long as she gets paid. Color me skeptical of the sincerity of all this, sorry.
And for someone who thinks there is a lot of gate-keeping and top down control in the music biz, and who hates copyright, she seems to… promote all of those things here with her further stipulations for acceptable use:
Ok hate this part but we may do copyright takedowns ONLY for rly rly toxic lyrics w grimes voice: 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.
I think I’m Streisand effecting this now but I don’t wanna have to issue a takedown and be a hypocrite later. ***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.
– 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.
So, to recap: hates copyright, hates “rules,” but will totally use both to do takedowns against things she arbitrarily chooses she doesn’t like, or doesn’t fit the ‘current Overton Window’ whatever that is supposed to mean.
“That’s the only rule.”
And no Nazi anthems, unless its like a joke “or smthn.” Riiiiight.
Yeah, I’m sure this approach is going to work out for you without any conceivable problems whatsoever.
Good luck to ya, but girl, you ain’t killing copyright. You’re just dressing it up in a Burning Man costume and calling it by another name. It’s still the same old shit.