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Tech-No More

HOW TECHNOLOGY AFFECTS MUSIC

ARIELLE BEAK
STAFF WRITER

   After painstakingly untangling your earbuds, you impatiently pull out your phone and connect the two with an satisfying click. Tapping the screen with deft fingers, you pull up music, hit shuffle, and promptly begin to listen to variations of pulsing robotic voices that fluctuate rapidly between octaves, otherwise known as autotune. Today, we live in a technologically advanced society that has surpassed all expectations set by previous generations. But is our modern day technology influencing the music we listen to?

   The answer, put simply, is yes. The music industry today relies heavily on the use of gadgets such as autotune to achieve the “perfect” sound, as well as to create beats that provide a background for lyrics. Backing up a bit, what’s autotune, and how does it work? Autotune is the result of software or equipment that has the ability to tune any note to a perfect pitch. After recording audio, autotune can be used in many different ways, whether it be to correct a pitch,
or to alter the human voice. This technique contributes to robotic quality of tone, as well as songs that incorporate mashups of the human voice as music. This can include famous quotes by politicians and celebrities or
the artists themselves.

   Computers are the core of our society, and it is computers that enable our society to work so cohesively today.  But as with most things, computers come with both pros and cons. With fingers gracing the keys on a keyboard, producers can create sounds that are new and exciting to the public. From these techniques, entire new genres like dubstep have been born. However, people have varying opinions about autotune and dubstep. While older generations hear a jarring amalgamation of noise, younger ears fall under the influence of the melodic beats and sounds. In addition, autotune enables just about anyone to be
able to produce and record their
own music.

This gives everyone equal opportunity  to share their music with the world; furthermore, it could even be viewed as a source of income for many.
But true talent and passion for music is becoming less and less important in today’s music industry, and with the autotune at a producer’s fingertips, it is easier to make anyone’s voice sound incredible. It is also undeniable that the current music trend does not revolve around meaningful lyrics or talent to play an instrument, but more on ability to hit keys on a computer.

  Music is targeted towards the younger generation, who want to listen to catchy tunes they can dance and sing along
to easily.

   Of course, there are many exceptions to the trend of autotune. Heavy hitters such as Adele, Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande, and Beyonce can rely on their vocals to carry them through a record label. Singing live onstage definitely sets apart those who have true musical talent from those who don’t. Furthermore, music is becoming such a heavily commercialized business. Nowadays,
it seems more of a contest on who can attract the most publicity. An excellent example would be Miley Cyrus’s famously scandalous performance at the 2013 VMA Awards. Moreover, it is sobering to think that our society doesn’t appreciate true ability and deeper meaning, and instead favors how catchy a tune is. At the same time, for a song to do well, it has to seamlessly blend impactful lyrics with a catchy tune.  But I am sure that many have noticed the trend of artists continuously choosing
hedonistic topics, recycling the same subject of partying and being young. I have also noticed how slews of artists all sound similar even throughout different songs, making it difficult to identify who exactly is singing the song.

   I, for one, am a bit apprehensive about the effects and future of the music industry. Nonetheless, I have
always enjoyed listening to different types of music, so I am interested to see what is yet to come.

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