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Auto Tune: The Elephant in the Tune

I’m sure everyone has their own opinion about auto tune, because it has become such a big part of the music industry. You may agree or you many not agree, but here are my thoughts on the subject.

Ever since Cher’s 1998 hit, “Believe,” played through radios all over the world, auto tune has been written about as notoriously negative. Time magazine called it one of the 50 worst inventions ever created. Everyone from indie rockers to hip hop artists have blasted the software. Even the public has responded; a petition circulated the internet for a primetime television show, Glee, to stop relying on the software so much. A recent Progressive commercial shows a boy band singing poorly in a studio, then cuts to Flo, the Progressive mascot, asking a record producer if they have auto tune. After the record producer says they do have auto tune, Flo exclaims to the boy band, “It’s a hit,” suggesting that the use of auto tune equates to no creative talent. All of these examples portray auto tune as a bad thing, but, despite its sordid past, auto tune has a plethora creative and technical uses in the music industry that can change the effect of songs and help make better music.

Exxon engineer, Andy Hildebrad, invented auto tune in the 1990s. Hildebrad was jokingly challenged by a woman at a party who told him to create something that could make _her sing in tune (Crockett). Little did she know, Hildebrad would take her seriously and after auto tune had been created and gained some traction in recording studios the world over, it would become one of the most polarizing pieces of technology in the music industry. Continue reading “Auto Tune: The Elephant in the Tune”