Auto Tune: “The Botox of Music”

Brad Wheeler of the Globe and Mail has a look at Auto Tune, the performance-enhancing drug of music.  God, how I hate it–but once you read this article, you’ll understand why people use it.  It’s like doping for track athletes and cyclists.  EVERYONE is doing it, so if you want to keep up…

Minutes before my interview with Michael Bublé, his shiny single It’s a Beautiful Day starts blaring away in the hotel suite. When I turn to the crooner’s label publicist to tell him that I planned to ask him about Bublé’s use of Auto-Tune, the flack stiffens. “That will offend him,” he says.

Which makes no sense. Why wouldn’t Bublé want to talk about his use of pitch-correcting software? “Because I don’t know,” the straight-faced publicist tells me, “that he uses it.”

Can the man not hear it? The vocals on It’s a Beautiful Day are positively inhuman, devoid of DNA. The publicist listens to the music for a few seconds, then turns back to me, expressionless, and shrugs.

Perhaps the label guy was guarding his meal ticket. Maybe it was a matter of plausible deniability. Or, more likely, he really couldn’t detect the obvious Auto-Tuning. The use of pitch-correction shenanigans is so prevalent on pop radio that we don’t even notice it any more. And like athletes using performance-enhancing drugs, artists are fairly forced to employ Auto-Tune or risk being left behind.

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Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “Auto Tune: “The Botox of Music”

  • April 20, 2013 at 7:40 pm

    The term Botox makes more sense than Photoshop, which I've seen used.


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