I technology ruining music? // Some rights reserved // Moehre
Technology is certainly changing music, it has been doing that since the very notion of recording music was invented. Then you have innovations in instrument technology changing the performance of music, such as the introduction of solid body electric guitars in the 1930s (and their later popularisation in the 50s).
But Corey Taylor, the singer of Slipknot, has once again publicly aired his grievances with modern music, and he believes that technology is ruining music.
The invention which most often bears the brunt of the criticism levelled at 'music technology' is Auto-Tune or pitch-correct. But as novelty rap group Goldie Lookin' Chain once sang: "Guns don't kill people, rappers do."
By this I mean to say that pitch-correct is not ruining music, somebody has to pull the trigger/press 'snap to closest semitone'.
I've been part of that dark world, not out of choice, but because the studio I worked in was being paid a significant sum of money to 'get that Hollywood sound'. Almost any producer would prefer not to have to use Auto-Tune, but sometimes they've got to do it.
The problem is that the trend catches on, and it snowballs, and now Melodyne is added to 'vocal template' on Pro Tools or Logic in most studios, alongside a compression plug-in, EQ, and reverb.
Corey Taylor said in a recent interview with Bloody-Disgusting.com:
"Now you've got people who don't really have the skills, because technology hides it, going out and putting these crappy singles out, and because that's all there really is, people basically eat it like hamburgers. It's become very, very commercialised.
"I would say 3 out of 4 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."
I can see where he is coming from, it's hard to fall in love with something that has as about as much soul as the undead. But still I think that levelling this argument at all Auto-Tune artists is a little bit harsh. There are loads of electronic acts producing incredible music, despite the fact that the vocals are pitch-corrected. Sometimes it just sounds neat and tidy.
Of course this is different to using Auto-Tune as an effect, and like gated-reverb towards the end of the 80s, the use of the effect might be wearing a little bit thin.
But Slipknot are barely known for the production on their albums, I was actually under the impression that the vocals on certain songs were pitch corrected on recent albums, but perhaps my ears deceive me.
Either way, I think to blame the actual technology for ruining music, such as Corey Taylor has done by saying "technology is so badly ruining music", then you open a can of worms.
I prefer recording to tape rather than recording to hard-drive, and most of my favourite music has been recorded onto tape, but that doesn't make it fair to say that computers have ruined music! There are 1000s of guys out there who could make much better music with a computer than I could ever dream of making with a full analog studio.
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