Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Revolution Of Autotune

According to Tank Wire, approximately 95% of Top 40 songs use auto-tune.

“What’s auto-tune?” you ask? It’s that revolutionary invention that makes any word, phrase, rap, belch, and laugh into…BAM…music!

You may recognize the phrase “Hide your kids, hide your wives,” lyrics from a viral, auto-tuned rendition of a once little-known reporter interview.  Or, you might recognize the familiar “digitized” melodies of Ke$ha and Lady Gaga (pre-Lady Gaga was much more eloquent with words, much more stylistically artistic with voice, but lacked pitch every now and then).
Want to achieve this ability? Now, you can auto-tune any phrase with the touch of a button! iPhone has developed an application called “Songify,” which directly allows consumers to change any word, phrase, rap, belch, and laugh into song.

But wait. Question time: Isn’t music a thing of talent and art?
Society’s reply: Oops.

We went from Mozart, to Etta James, to The Beatles to Led Zeppelin, to Britney Spears (cough. Lipsync), to Nikki Minaj.


Money happened. Statistics. Business. The Apprentice.

The revolution of auto-tune has created the abilities to erase vocal mistakes and/or create simple masterpieces, thus making production quicker and appealing to the simple-minded mass of listeners whose’ ears are pining for perfectly pitched, rhythmic beats of the auto-tune world. Here, the deduction of auto-tune, through live music or pure recording, may create a feeling of genuine talent, but tends to reach a limited audience, thus decreasing revenue. However, the addition of auto-tune creates the ability to percolate throughout the population, thus welcoming itself to the wallets of many.

In a sense, auto-tuning has nulled and numbed the impact of musical passion, replacing it with entrepreneurial desires.

The question now becomes: When does music infinitely change from art to business? Or more so: How far and how much is a musician willing to compromise for fame?

Evolution of the Third Screen

Back in the days of glam metal and the Berlin Wall (the eighties, people), a company called Motorola was testing a brand new piece of tech. In theory, it was a device that enabled you to communicate with anyone on the planet, anywhere, at any time. This technology (codenamed "Cell Phone") was an instant hit, garnering critical and consumer acclaim. It sounds a bit odd when you consider that the first few models were about the size of a brick, but that just goes to show how far we've come.

In the years since then, we've made huge advancements in both the technology and aesthetics of cell phones. Today, you can buy a phone that folds up in your pocket for convenience, that will show you exactly how to get from where you are to anywhere on the earth, and that can even respond to verbal commands. Basically, everyone now carries a small computer with them at all times.

Among numerous other advancements, the interface for cell phones has changed drastically. We've gone from numerical keypads to phones with a screen that you can touch to command (à la Star Trek). These screens have been increasing in quality since their invention, cumulating with Apple's "Retina Display", a screen with such a high resolution that it is said that the human eye cannot distinguish any further increase in quality.

Since we've pushed the two dimensional screen to it's highest possible variety, we have to ask, what's next for cell phones? 3D displays? HOLOGRAPHIC displays? Microsoft is already working on a pair of glasses that work as a mobile computer, calling, texting, and connecting to the internet, but what if we lose the physical apparatus altogether? Personally, the whole "Pinky & Thumb" approach works well for me.

Wave at the future, folks.