Free Essay

Automation in Music Industry

In: Film and Music

Submitted By yoia22
Words 2282
Pages 10

For Music production and recording industry

Excusive summary
1.0 Automation effects amateur music player 2.0 Automation highly influences Professional music industry 2.1 Auto-tune 2.2 Low Frequency Oscillation Conclusion


Executive summary
People from all ages and races love music. Since everything is under rapid development, music industry has a huge improvement with the use of technology. It is still controversial whether the high-tech used in music is good. Some music fans are no longer satisfied with the music industry while some people become more enthusiastic than before. Artists also have contrasting views in the innovation of technology, especially automation of knowledge works. I did some research both online and in the library and did interviews with different music players to support this background report. The interviewees are from different levels and working on distinguished styles of music. Thus, I can get enough information from various aspects. Here, I am going to divide music players into two groups: amateur and professional. It will be easier to evaluate the automation’s effects. At the end of this report, there is an expectation of how automation will influence the music industry more in the future and whether humans’ talent will be replaced by these automation works someday.
For amateur music player, automation gives them an easier access to professional music.
• Easier for them to do a nice arrangement by automatic accompany software with a piece of melody, without much music knowledge.
• Automation gives them a basic understanding of arrangement
• Some of the amateur players don’t what to make their own effort to work and learn music theories.
• Creativity in music is gone away due to the convenience
In professional music industry, there comes out many audio processor in mixing and recording such as Auto-tune and low frequency oscillation used in electronic dance music.
• Auto-tune gives singer a better voice in studio works. • Low frequency oscillation provides interesting effects in low frequencies, which is widely used in electronic music.
• Overuse of these processor may distort the meaning of music by switch music into a high-tech skill but not a style of performing arts.
• Artists start aware of the auto-tune abuse.



nience of automation.

Technology changes the world a lot, such as the in-

1.0 Automation affects amateur music

ternet of things, cloud technology, robotic advanc-


es, automation of knowledge work etc. Automation of knowledge work is a kind of technology using

An amateur music player is an unprofessional

various control system to realize the operation

music player. As non-musically-trained music

works. It is widely involved in different industries,

players, they usually do not know much music

from telephone switch systems to aircraft stabiliza-

theory knowledge and treat music as personal

tions. Automation not only saves labor energy and

interests. They did not graduate with a music major

labor cost in productions but also improves quality

but love music. Their abilities show from singing

and accuracy. It is a huge revolution through many

and songwriting. Automation is a quite useful tool

years’ technology development. Initially, it was only

for amateur songwriters. Most of them only can

used in engineering and machinery production.

write a piece of melody, but a nice piece of melody

Later on, technology shows its advantage in every-

should be performed with accompaniment. Indeed,

where. Music industry already changed dramati-

arrangement is not an easy process for amateur

cally over the decades. Various types of technology

music players. With an automatic accompaniment

involved in the development and created the new

software, they can produce an accompanied song

mainstream music.1 Automation of knowledge

without much music theory knowledge. Automatic

works have already existed in music industry as

accompaniment software can translate a single note

well. Some of these examples include low frequen-

into a corresponding chord with some preset per-

cy oscillation and auto tune, and some companies

forming style.2 Music players can choose the most

even established fully automatic accompaniment

suitable music genre and performing style for their

software, such as band in a box and mysong. As

melody. When using accompaniment software to

a performing arts industry, many works in music

create an accompaniment, amateur music players

can be done by technology instead of human talent

also can achieve a basic understanding of arrange-

now, and some artists already fell into the conve-

ment and a brief idea of how arrangement creates.

Steiner, C. (2012, July 27). Can Creativity be Automated? Retrieved from MIT Technology Review: news/428437/can-creativity-be-automated/ 4

Microsoft. (2008). MySong: Automatic Accompaniment for Vocal
Melodies. Retrieved from Microsoft: um/people/dan/mysong/ This technology offers amateur music player a fea-

a piece of melody, but also a high-tech product.

sible access to the professional music platform and

There come out many audio processors in mixing

the ability to transform their beautiful melody to a

and recording industry such as the famous Au-

real original accompanied music.

to-tune software and low frequency oscillation used

However, there still comes some drawbacks. Due to

in electronic dance music.

the convenience with automation in arrangement, amateur music players may think music theories

2.1 Auto-tune

are not important. Automation can do everything for them. They lose the passion for new knowledg-

Antares Audio Technologies created Auto-tune,

es. When time goes by, creativities in music will

an audio processor, in 1998. It uses a proprietary

leave them. Many good artists may overwhelmed

device to measure and to alter pitch in vocal and

in automatic works. Since automation always has a

instrumental music recordings and performances.

fixed structure, artists will stuck in this structure.3

With Auto tune, it is easy to pull back an off-pitch

But they have to get out of the box in order to pro-

note to the right key.4 Initially, Auto-tune was

duce good and special music.

designed for non-innate music talents. They really need this kind of production tool to correct their

2.0 Automation highly influences Profes-

pitches. With the magic effect done by this proces-

sional music industry

sor, human voices may also distort a little. Because the principle of the pitch-correcting in Auto-tune

Professional music players usually have a wide understanding of music knowledges and have experienced professional trainings in music. Music is more than their interest; it is also a job. They have to accept the mainstream music and create new sounds. Different kinds of technologies have involved in music production and recording, especially in studio works. Music becomes not only
Jacobson, W. P. (2011). The Robot’s Record: Protecting the Value of Intellectual Property in Music when Automation Drives the Marginal
Cost of Music Production to Zero. Loyola of Los Angeles Entertainment Law

Freeman, M. (2009, Feburary 2). A brief history of Auto-Tune. Retrieved from state:
Sagi, S. (n.d.). Auto-tune and the Affect on Popular Music. Retrieved from personal psu:


is to modify the frequencies of human voices.

enter than before.8 Almost everyone can become

While doing that, the processed voices will sound

studio singers with the use of Auto-tune.

distinguished from the original voices.5 Some

Later on, some artists started aware of the au-

people willing to sacrifice nature voices to achieve

to-tune abuse. Major movements include: the band

perfect accuracies in pitch, particularly after Kanye

Death Cab were wearing blue ribbons at the 51st

West won the top hit album of 2008 with the use of

Grammy Awards in 2009. At the same year, the

Auto-tune almost in every track. Auto tune allows

rapper Jay-Z released a song with the title “Death

Kanye to hit the note he normally cannot as well as

of Auto-tune”. He called on other rappers to return

to have an enhancement of electronic feeling in his

their “raw basic” voices. Another singer Christina

songs.6 Auto-tune used to be a secret among studio

Aguilera had been wearing a T-shirt with the slo-

workers. However, listeners are not fools. They

gan “auto-tune is for pussies”.9 They were question-

finally found out the wired parts in voices and the

ing other artists like Kanye west who heavily rely

similar voices between different artists Auto-tune

on the studio processor technology. It is fake music

creates. Also, it is easy to tell from the differenc-

and they distorted the meaning of music.

es between artists’ live performances and studio recordings. Overall, it is a surprising innovation in

2.2 Low Frequency Oscillation

music and recording industry if you use it when it really needs. Otherwise, overuses everything will

The regular frequency humans can hear is approx-

have side effects. Auto-tune cannot get rid of this

imately 20 Hz to 20 kHz, whereas low frequency

truth, especially in country music and rap music.7

means the sound below a frequency of 20Hz. Low

The side effects include not only the negative com-

Frequency oscillator (LFO) is a kind of mixing pro-

ments from listeners, but also the laziness from art-

cessor generally deal with the electronic signal be-

ists. Singers stop working on their own voice. Some

low 20 Hz and creates pulses of sweeps. It is widely

of the artists are intoxicated with this studio magic.

used in electronic dance music. Modular synths

And the music industry has a lower threshold to

first introduced LFO as a concept in 1960s and 70s.

Freeman, M. (2009, Feburary 2). A brief history of Auto-Tune.
Retrieved from state:
Sagi, S. (n.d.). Auto-tune and the Affect on Popular Music. Retrieved from personal psu:
Trigger. (2014, January 18). Auto-Tune In Country Isn’t Evolution, It’s Falling Behind. Retrieved from saving country music: http://www. 6

But the LFO’s effect came out accidentally since
Babii, T. (2011). The Music Industry: No Talent Required. Retrieved from Hubpages:
Trigger. (2014, January 18). Auto-Tune In Country Isn’t Evolution, It’s Falling Behind. Retrieved from saving country music: http://www. there were various mechanism could be patched by

novation of automatic accompaniment, Auto-Tune

the synth operator.

and Low Frequency Oscillation brings convenience


to music industry. But overuse these automatic technologies will distort the meaning of music and structured music into a closed box. Consumers and listeners also value the emotional connection in music with the musician’s background history.
There will be more automation software launched in future, but they will not dominate the music


There are different types of LFO. Standard LFO wave shapes include sine, triangle, saw tooth, and square waves. Mixers also can create specific shapes by themselves with the machine.11 LFO has already become an essential tool with the rapid development of automation. However, same as the auto-tune, overuse of these processors may switch music into a high-tech skill but not a style of performing arts. A proper combination of the raw music and high-tech processors will enhance the expression of music.

Music is more than technology though technology plays an important role in today’s music trend. In10
Aikin, J. (2006, July 1). The Ins and Outs of LFOs. Retrieved from
Electronic Musician:
Preve, F. (2008, March 5). Essential LFO facts. Retrieved from Beatport News:


Aikin, J. (2006, July 1). The Ins and Outs of LFOs. Retrieved from Electronic Musician:
Babii, T. (2011). The Music Industry: No Talent Required. Retrieved from Hubpages:
BOENN, G. (2009). Automatic Music Composition using Answer Set Programming. Under consideration

for publication in Theory and Practice of Logic Programming, 1-31.

Daniyanto, E. (2009, September 6). How to Use Automation in Music Production. Retrieved from Ezine


Freeman, M. (2009, Feburary 2). A brief history of Auto-Tune. Retrieved from state:
Jacobson, W. P. (2011). The Robot’s Record: Protecting the Value of Intellectual Property in Music when

Automation Drives the Marginal Cost of Music Production to Zero. Loyola of Los Angeles Enter-

tainment Law Review.

Microsoft. (2008). MySong: Automatic Accompaniment for Vocal Melodies. Retrieved from Microsoft:
Preve, F. (2008, March 5). Essential LFO facts. Retrieved from Beatport News:
Sagi, S. (n.d.). Auto-tune and the Affect on Popular Music. Retrieved from personal psu:
Steiner, C. (2012, July 27). Can Creativity be Automated? Retrieved from MIT Technology Review:
Trigger. (2014, January 18). Auto-Tune In Country Isn’t Evolution, It’s Falling Behind. Retrieved from sav


ing country music:

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