Auto-tune overused in music

November 18, 2013 Editorials Print Print
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Technology has been changing the face of music for many years now. One invention in particular, stands out — auto-tune or pitch-correct software.

So to auto-tune, or not to auto-tune: that is the question.

It depends.

Technology in modern music should be for enhancement, not as a means to create instant pop stars.

When auto-tune is used for its intended purpose it can be a valuable time-saving tool in today’s fast-paced music industry.

The original purpose of auto-tune was to correct inaccuracies, allowing a track to be perfectly in tune without the vocalist needing to record multiple retakes.

However, many labels tend to abuse the tool, pushing artists to use the device because it saves time and allows them to squeeze more musicians into the studio, increasing revenue. Many bands have been dropped from labels because they refuse to use auto-tune.

Auto-tune has completely conquered the music industry, leaving radio waves polluted with synthetic recording artists who lack substance and talent.

Musician Corey Taylor expressed his feelings on the state of the music industry in recent interview.

“I would say three out of four people nominated [at the Grammys] were all auto-tune artists. At that point, you shouldn’t be allowed to be nominated in anything that has a vocal category. You should be nominated in an instrumental category because the computer did all the work for you. If you sound more like a keyboard than a human being, you shouldn’t be allowed to walk away with one of those trophies.”

This is not to say using auto-tuning techniques is entirely unjustified in the recording process.

There is a difference between using auto-tune as an effect and solely relying on the tool in order for your music to be viable. When it’s used creatively, auto-tune can be a tool for artists, rather than a crutch.

But auto-tune has become a gimmick and like most gimmicks, gets used, re-used and finally, over-used.

The truth is, in this day and age, there are very few singers who can sing a whole album perfectly in key. Minor tuning issues fall through the cracks during the recording process. At that point, the engineer can either request another session with the singer or tweak with auto-tune. I have no problem with tweaking an otherwise good track and making it great with a little technology.

However, the use of it has become a prerequisite to become a successful artist in today’s music industry.

It’s like finding out Miss America had an assortment of plastic surgeries before receiving her crown. This is not against the rules in any way but does that make it right?

You can’t make a bad person sound good — it’s just not natural. Music is emotion; Auto-tune is a machine, like a robot. Robots can’t love, hate, or feel sorrow, so when you think about it, you can’t really have music without emotion.

It allows crummy vocalists to skip over the hard work required to perfect their craft and shoot straight up the charts to pop stardom while those who really have a gift struggle to make it or never even get the opportunity.

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