Auto-Tune is a hardware and software pitch correction system designed to correct off-key singing or instrumental music recordings to produce perfectly tuned vocals and/or music. It can also be used to distort the voice/music to create a unique “robotic” effect. It was first used in commercial recordings in 1998 on Cher’s hit song“”Believe.” This worldwide success of this song led to the widespread use of Auto-Tune in the music industry. Today, the producers of many top artists use Auto-Tune to create pitch perfect songs. However, the use of the software is the subject of much debate in the industry. Let’s find out who invented this controversial audio processor.
Who invented Auto-Tune?
Auto-Tune was invented in Andy Hildebrand in 1997. Hildebrand was a research scientist in the geophysical industry and worked for Exxon Production Research and Landmark Graphics. While working in this job he developed a method for interpreting seismic data from earthquakes. Hildebrand, an accomplished flute player, left this line of work in 1989 to study music composition at Rice University. It wasn’t long before he was using the technology he had worked with and invented in the geological industry which he then adapted to work with music. He formed the company Jupiter Systems to sell and market his software products. Soon Hildebrand realized that his method for interpreting seismic data could be used to analyze, detect and modify the pitch of audio files. This discovery led to the development and sale of Auto-Tune.
Did you know?
The extreme effect used in Cher’s song is known as the “zero” setting in Auto-Tune. Hildebrand never thought that this setting would be used in the industry because it was so noticeable. He originally designed the system so that no one would know that Auto-Tune was being used!
Many famous artists have spoken out against the perceived overuse of the software in the industry. Some even refuse to use it for their recordings. Many industry insiders and music fans have also spoken out against the use of the software. It even made Time Magazine’s 50 worst inventions list!