Dark Mountain Music

In the world of singing and music production, nothing has sparked quite as much debate as Autotune. This powerful vocal tool snuck its way into the music scene in the late 90’s and has only been growing in popularity since. Now, virtually every artist uses it, even though they may not want to admit it and you can’t hear it! For many reasons, there are a lot of Autotune haters out there. Some feel like it’s a singer’s way of cheating, it ruins an artist’s tone, or it just outright sounds bad. In this post, we’re going to stand up for  Autotune and hopefully change a few minds in the process.

  1. Experimentation:

This is one of my favorite uses of autotune. You know, I used to be an autotune hater myself! That is, until I tried it… One day, I put my ego aside and bought Autotune, just to see what all the hype was about. I turned the mic on, threw up a beat, and had the most fun I’ve had in a while. I was free! I could do anything I wanted, without fail. I was singing notes I couldn’t hit before, never going out of key, pitching my voice up and down, it was a blast. As a songwriter, sometimes you can get stuck while you’re writing your next hit. This opened up the door to so many new ideas and eliminated any subconscious fears of singing something “bad”. 

  1. It doesn’t mean the singer isn’t talented:

Now some love to call the use of this tool “cheating” but when did music become a game? We’re not sold on the idea that you can “cheat” at creativity. We’re just trying to make GOOD MUSIC! No matter how trained the singer is, they’re all physically limited in what they can do, why not open up a few more doors? Also, if that’s the argument, where exactly does the cheating end? Is a 12 string guitar cheating? How about a pick or all of your fancy guitar pedals? Using Autotune shouldn’t imply that a singer lacks skill. It allows artists to experiment with different vocal styles and effects, enhancing the overall VIBE of a song. What a singer can do with Autotune could be considered a skill of its own.

  1. Educational and efficient:

Autotune offers real-time pitch feedback which can aid singers in honing their skills efficiently. We’ve adapted Autotune into singing lessons with some of our own students! With it we can hear and see exactly where we went too sharp, flat, scooped into notes, or had too wild of a vibrato. In the studio, autotune can also minimize the need for extensive retakes, saving valuable time and allowing them to focus more on the creative aspects rather than miniscule imperfections. Studio time is EXPENSIVE. 

  1. Sometimes the autotune sound is desired:

The autotune sound is also often used by artists and producers intentionally to achieve a specific aesthetic, ranging from futuristic tones to smooth and refined vocal textures. You can hear examples of this in music like T-Pain’s – “Buy U a Drank”, Kanye West’s – “Love Lockdown”, and Daft Punk’s – “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger” This effect of “overusing” Autotune adds an extra texture to the overall sound of a vocal. Would any of these songs be the same without that distinctive sound? T-Pain is an EXTREMELY talented singer. Don’t believe us? Just YouTube his live performance of “Tennessee Whiskey”. It’s hard to imagine that he had to use Autotune to cheat. 

  1. Budget friendly

This was honestly what got me to buy Autotune in the first place. Once I looked up the cost I thought, why not give it a shot? I was in shock over how much I got from a subscription of just over a dollar a day. Not to mention all the extras they threw in! This is super beneficial for independent artists with limited studio resources. If you don’t have your own studio to record in, costs can get out of control! As we mentioned, it eliminates the need for extensive and expensive retakes. This can save a ton of valuable studio time. Autotune also gives the bedroom producer a more accessible avenue of achieving those professional-sounding recordings, making high-quality production within reach for the artist with a tighter budget.

  1. Live performances

Autotune is a VERY valuable asset for live performances, enhancing the overall quality and reliability of a singer’s voice. In a live setting, there are so many more factors like acoustics, stage conditions, vocal fatigue, and of course, dance moves. These can all impact a singer’s performance. It ensures that the vocals remain consistently in tune, offering a polished and professional sound even in challenging environments. This not only elevates the audience’s listening experience but it allows the performer to focus on engaging with the audience and delivering a captivating show without worrying about pitch issues. My philosophy on concerts has always been the same. I better see a SHOW! I want the dancing, fireworks, lasers, and running up and down the stage. That being said, I can understand how the singer could get a little pitchy. Autotune used in live performance can act as a supportive tool that helps artists deliver their best and most reliable performances.

Let’s embrace autotune with open arms

In our eyes, Autotune still stands as a legendary creative tool for singers and producers. Despite the polarizing debates, this tool has unarguably become an integral part of the music industry. From providing a playground for experimentation and unlocking new creative avenues to serving as an educational aid for singers, Autotune has more than proven its versatility. In our experience with the tool as singers and a producers, the majority of people who use autotune are not “bad singers” trying to trick you. They’re just looking for some minor cleanups or trying to lean into the sound completely to fit the vibe of their song. As you can see, there’s no clear cut reason for why and when an artist uses it so next time you hear that distinctive Autotune sound, appreciate it for the artistic choice it may represent and all of the creative doors it’s opening for them. Just like any industry, innovation is what keeps things interesting!

Join Dark Mountain Music Today!

Are you looking to take your vocal skills to the next level? Maybe you even want to be the next T-Pain? We’ve got you covered. Our singing lessons are designed to work for YOU. No matter the skill level or interests, we work closely with each and every student to ensure they’re getting an experience tailored just to them. So, what are you waiting for? Unleash your talent already!