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The magic box was real

If you remember the the 2001 movie Josie and the Pussycats included the suggestion that the music industry has a magic box that turned any song into a hit by fixing any mistakes and inserting subliminal messages to buy, buy, buy!

It turns out that since 1998, this has mostly been true. Well, not the subliminal messages, but digitally fixing off-pitch singers.

(This PodCast from Time Magazine has a bunch of samples that show how well it works)

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The thing with auto-tune is, it is on every fuckin song.

There was a similar box in the Simpsons episode where Bart was in a boy band. Of course, someone switched it off in mid-concert and hilarity ensued.

And people started using it as a sound effect almost immediately.

Cher's massively overplayed 1998 hit "Believe" famously gets its robotic vocal sound from cranking AutoTune to the max.

Radiohead, while they were working on the Kid A album in 1999, started experimenting with AutoTune, reading song lyrics into it in a flat non-melodic speaking voice to see what kind of random melody the computer would assign. The title track (Kid A) is the most obvious use of the shtick.

Oh, and the first version of the "magic box" was called "compression." It's how Journey managed to make its songs sound "louder" on the radio than anything else except the commercials. True story!

I am glad you pointed it out. It actually kinda bugs me a a lot.Most people have no idea what a REAL singer sounds like anymore.

Heh. All the engineers I work with refuse to use it for correction.

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