Rick Beato: Modern Music's Death by Auto-Tune

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I like his videos. It's just an opinion piece-he's got his education and career so has credentials-but it's still just an opinion. I didn't realize he lives in Georgia. I'd like to meet him in person. We could talk each other's ears off LOL. He's making a living best he can with Youtube. Creating controversy is a sure way to get followers and people passionate about the topic. More power to him.
 

prokofi5

Junior Member
This 1000% He know his audience and he's been ranting about this for years. I like his stuff but in order to stay at the top of youtube, influencers (or whatever you want to call them) have to crank out a certain number of videos a week. This is basically a "shooting fish in a barrel" video for him. It'll get lots of comments, lots of shares (especially on facebook which has a lot of older people)
It seems he does a pretty fair job of giving some modern music some props but he has to throw in the occasional over-dramatic clickbait. "Why Today's Music is so Boring." "Reacting to the Top 10 Songs on iTunes, WTF?" Has he not looked at the charts from back in the day? Lol. 'Yummy Yummy Yummy'? 'Muskrat Love'? Disco? It kind of kills your credibility when you compare the best of one generation to the worst of another for clicks. It's like people who say kids these days are lazy and hate America. Wait, wasn't your generation the one with all the draft-dodging unemployed hippies living in free-love communes? There always has and always will be good and bad across the board.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
All these videos do is feed into a boomer echo chamber abut how things were so much better - back in the day.
The worst aspect is I'm sure Beato knows this - so it just becomes cynical.
He rants about the Spotify Top 20 every few months. Yeah, the top 20 in the UK when I was growing up sucked too - David Cassidy, The Osmonds, The Bay City Rollers, Chirpy, Chirpy Cheap, Cheap etc...
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Last few posts are absolutely correct......Rick knows his audience, knows they skew older and are males and are typically white (as far as I know, he's only featured two black artists on his What Makes This Song Great series, Stevie Wonder and Seal, although seriously, check out his recent Kiss From a Rose video, it's magnificent). I think the guy genuinely has a fairly open mind, more than his audience does, but he still caters to that audience. He often praises music from the 90's and even early 00's, even though that's after his "time" if that makes sense.

I tend to skip over the videos he makes like this one, I just happened to watch it a few days ago because it kept popping up and I was bored at work. I much prefer this more theory-centric stuff or his song analysis stuff. I also like watching his Top 10 Spotify videos because it's a way for me to know what is popular right now since I don't listen to Spotify or have radio or whatever (and how I discovered Olivia Rodrigo, who is just hitting it big this year who is amazing).
 

PorkPieGuy

Platinum Member
I played a gig a week or so ago, and the sound guy used to recently run sound for a famous classic rock act. He said that they played about 15 songs, and 9 of them were 100% tracked. He said that he wouldn't have believed it if someone had told him, but he's the guy that actually ran the tracks.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
Let's not get into the - who is cheating - line of debate.
I saw Prince in 1989 and most of the show was off computer. That's because he valued dance routines and the show had to have perfect timing to sync to the lights etc.
His band was absolutely kick ass stellar. After the stadium show he would always play a real show in a small club.
It's not about bad musicians cheating.
 

beatdat

Senior Member
Not exactly. He points out that he's used it himself many times. And that it can be quite useful and effective when employed judiciously. But that it's terribly overused these days, to ultimately deleterious effect.
I was trying to be funny in my post... clearly, I wasn't.

Regardless, one of the things that resonated with me in the video was Rick talking about producers being "lazy" by not having singers stick it out for a suitable take. I think the problem runs deeper than that. To me, the music industry has become "safe", for lack of a better word, insofar as record companies know they have a sure product that will sell (quality be damned), and simply know by this point that talent has taken a second seat to image - as long as their "stars" look good, the music won't matter as much. With respect to the producers, I'm sure that they know fully well that most of the "stars" can't actually sing, and they are told to get the recording over and done with as quickly as possible and let the technology take care of everything in post-production.

As long as the industry knows they have a sure thing, and consumers continue to eat it up, we'll be stuck in this rut for awhile.

What's needed is another Dylan to come along. Someone who's art overshadows image and brings us back to the way things were. Those artists are out there, it's just a matter of them finding a way to take back the means of production. If they can do that, the consumers will follow.
 

someguy01

Well-known member
Video killed the radio star, computers replaced musicians, and soon the androids will replace us. Lots of people already lost their jobs to the NESCO robot.
The times, they are a changin'.
You can fight it and complain about it and ultimately have a stroke or heart attack in your rage, or you can accept that change isn't a bad thing and live your life. Choice is yours.
For the record: I cannot stand Rick. Every time I see his smug face, I want to punch it. I cannot explain the disdain, the guy just irks me like no other.
 

jimb

Member
Why should music be hard
Umm I couldn't begin to create what the likes of Mozart, The Beatles, et el did........so great music is hard but anyone can throw three chords together and most of the time it sounds like crap ie most of what I hear today .....so yeah great music is hard and can only be written by those with a gift.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
I watched this video last night and yeah, it did have an "old man yells at cloud" vibe to it. I see his point at some level. But back in the day didn't a singer needing fifty takes to get a vocal right indicate that really, the singer normally couldn't sing it? That one good take was statistically kind of an accident, really.

When he gets to talking about how autotuned harmonies sound thin, I think he's on to something. Classical singers-- especially those singing a cappella polyphony-- know all about deliberately singing a bit flat or sharp on certain notes in order to thicken the sound. It's kind of wild.

It's one of the reasons I like to go and hear real singers. I kinda hate musical theater as a genre, but being able to hear singers at the top of their game fill a theater is pretty riveting. Or heck-- a choir. What an amazing thing. Jazz singers on club dates. It's all still out there. It's just not in pop music so much.
 

Chris Whitten

Well-known member
The last few posts just illustrates the prejudice that Beato fosters. It drives me nuts.
Who knows how many takes singers used to need 'back in the day'. You say 50, I say you weren't there.

These days there are thousands of young people who want t be pop stars. The competition is fierce. It just isn't possible for talentless people with no skill to be successful in the music industry.
We need another Dylan?
Like I said at the start - older white men who just don't like modern music. Not liking something doesn't make it bad, made by people with no skill or talent. For the record, I don't like Led Zeppelin. I recognise their skill and incredible music - I just don't like it.
 

MrInsanePolack

Platinum Member
Even Ozzy has used autotune at this point. I really dont care anymore. It's just another tool. I'd rather hear a fixed singer than a bad one.

Whether or not one can sing, I dont wanna get into that. Plenty of off-key cant sing folks are fantastic front people. Axl Rose comes to mind. Dude wasnt always great, although he had his moments. Not picking on Axl, just using him as an example.
 

bud7h4

Silver Member
The state of modern music is a sad commentary on society as a whole and I believe they are correlated.
And I don't just mean the way music is made; I'm referring to the fact that the masses are fine with it and even desire it.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
I think every generation just identifies with music culturally so it becomes part of their heritage-so obviously superior in their minds-times of our youth. Now the music market starts with toddler, pre-teens, teens, etc. So a big range in musical taste per age-then genre differences. Ironically I've grown to hate much of that music I so loved in high school. I guess as you grow and change your musical taste do too. I never understood the generational comparisons but I do remember my youthful attitude anyone over 30 is old and out of touch. Ironically they were all thinking I’m young and out of touch. Turns out we were both right to some degree. It’s the circle ⭕️ of Life.

I never really considered myself "old" till about the last 6 years-I put up a helluva fight for 60 years but last 6 it hit me. I've always looked way younger than my age and act it too. But I can't deny my cells and organs are senescing. Dagnabit. I think being Mr Mom for 8 years helped keep me young (kids turned me into a human being) and then those research and teaching years you're exposed to new generations of young bright minds. We rub off on each other. I think as we age we can isolate ourselves from new experiences, music, etc. and our taste natural change. I grew up liking jazz but I love it now.

It's not really "old white people" but "old people" in it's more generational and gender too. My experience working at a Historic Black College (anecdotal) was it more generational and gender differences in perspective. It had a very diverse faculty and student body but there was a big group of younger than 35 and a big group over 50 faculty (a lot of faculty been there for decades). It was the same thing a bunch of old people lamenting the past and how this younger generation blah, blah, blah, blah. or the young stating old people this and that blah, blah, blah. Now that's a generalization but one incident the school was entertaining letting students have weapons on campus. When that was announced about every male hand over 50 raised asking will we be able to carry too. ROFL I was still sitting in disbelief they were even entertaining that-like sure and let them drink too while you're at it LOL. I shared an office with a younger female and we even compared the differences in our educations-we old school memorized huge amounts of info and younger think concepts and why you waisting memory on that? LOL. I liked hanging with the younger faculty-life hasn't jaded them as much as us old farts tend to get and more excited about their field of study=and they are more fun. I have to make myself get up and do things sometimes-and because I can't hear as well I shy from crowded venues. We need more input not isolation.
 

Neal Pert

Well-known member
The last few posts just illustrates the prejudice that Beato fosters. It drives me nuts.
Who knows how many takes singers used to need 'back in the day'. You say 50, I say you weren't there.

If you think we disagree, I probably didn't make my post clear because I've agreed with everything you have said in this thread so far.

I'm trying to make the point that old time singers weren't necessarily any better. Even some of the old "masters" probably needed lots of studio intervention to get things right. Overall, the standards have gone UP, not down. I'm still not crazy about a lot of top 40 stuff, but I wasn't crazy about it at age 16, either. That said, I'm 53 and my #1 Spotify listen during 2020 was folklore.

I do love the live sound of unprocessed voices moving air in a good-sounding room, though. I don't think that makes me old-timey, though, does it? I think that unprotectedness is what can be so riveting about the Tiny Desk concerts and other reasonably transparent live recordings.
 

GruntersDad

Administrator - Mayor
Staff member
Yes, people complained about rock too. But here's the thing...the dawn of rock and roll wasn't the end of musicianship. It was just a new genre.

The difference now is that people are getting lazy and relying on computers to do the hard work for them.
It's the same with movies. I watch almost exclusively movies from the 40's. No green screen, no computers, actors had to act. Now, explosions, car wrecks, they all blow up, all fake. "Give me that old time religion." And for music, would a producer allow Lorreta Lynn to now sing, "I was borned a coal miners daughter" Borned, seriously. I think not.
 

GetAgrippa

Platinum Member
When I was growing up there weren't as many people nor mass communication like today. The garage band era was more about dance music-though plenty of people also wrote their own songs too. But there wasn't necessarily high level musicians and often self-taught that hadn't matured into musicians. Now as a musician you aren't just competing locally but globally now. Way more people and way more talented people at ridiculously young ages-watch out Vinnie, Tony, Buddy, etc.

It is interesting that old music from 60-70s still has a following. A friend of mine who I grew up with made an album in 70s is having a sudden huge success "overseas" in other markets. I think he's making a new album now-decades after this first-though he always followed his passion. It is very Beatles-esque or 70s sound if you get the drift. He was always a song writer, another friend I went to high school was a song writer also-found him on FB (though didn't contact) and yep still a musician in Asheville NC. I hope he is having success too. Several others I found had died-damn I'm old.
 

Seafroggys

Silver Member
Yep, all the music that has already been made is still there, still to be enjoyed.

I watch a lot of music theory channels, and I'm going to paraphrase something that 12tone said on his when he was analyzing a Britney Spears song (think it was Toxic). He said something like "When she first hit the scene when I was 10, my friends and I all used to make fun of her for all sorts of reasons. But then later, I realized that she wasn't making music for me." And that's when it clicked to him how awesome a lot of her music is (especially Toxic, it's a damn good song).

This overly processed, heavily autotuned music coming out now isn't necessarily bad or lazy....it's just not made for you. And that's perfectly fine. Not everything has to cater to our whims, and we shouldn't freak out if something isn't that way.
 
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