When Bob Dylan took the stage with an electric guitar at the 1965 Newport Folk Festival, he was booed by fans loyal to folk’s acoustic roots. Twenty-four years later, fans seem far more receptive to technological advances in music. But as instrumental technology progressed, vocals always remained the gold standard; you either have the talent or you don’t. At least, that was the case until Auto-tune came around. Though a decade old, the pitch-correcting technology never figured so prominently into pop music as it does right now; everyone from Kanye West to Madonna is using Auto-tune, correcting flaws and often layering a sexy robot quality over their vocals. While we could be witnessing the death of raw musical talent, some artists are bucking the trend: Jay-Z recently released a track titled D.O.A. for “Death of Auto-tune.” Dylan’s story suggests you can’t stop progress; still, we’re kind of hoping Jay-Z’s sentiment catches on.
24th Anniversary of the Electric Dylan Incident
Have an event to share? Email calendar[at]fastcompany[dot]com