Grimes has criticised music copyright law, suggesting it impedes creativity.
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The artist was speaking at the annual International Music Summit (IMS) in Ibiza on April 28, where she delivered the keynote speech moderated by BBC Radio 1 Dance DJ Jaguar. In her speech, she went into topics surrounding artificial intelligence, music rights management and technology.
“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.”
Grimes has also been particularly vocal about her support for evolving music technology, including AI, which she also touched on in the speech. Last week, she gave fans her blessing to use her voice to create new music using AI as long as she gets half of any royalties made from the tracks, as she would with any artist she works with. She added that she thinks “it’s cool to be fused [with] a machine and I like the idea of open sourcing all art and killing copyright …”
In the speech, 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.”
She said she would also consent to it even after she dies, but acknowledged that would be more subjective. “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.”
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.”
Grimes confirmed last week, meanwhile, that she had parted ways with Columbia Records. She had only been on their roster since March 2021.