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Where does Autotune come from, this software that modifies the voice of singers?

Gims, PNL or even Booba… All of them regularly use software in their songs that modulates their voices: Autotune. He corrects wrong notes and makes sing those who sing wrong. But today it is mainly used to create new tones. David Castello-Lopes returns, in the program Historically Vôtre on Europe 1, to the origins of this practice.

“Very present among new musicians, Autotune transforms the voice of singers into that of a sort of melancholy robot. This is the case in the famous song Bring the cup home from Vegedream, for example.

At the origin of Autotune: a petroleum engineer

To find the origin of the Autotune, you have to travel to Puerto Rico. It is a pleasant tropical island to live in and also… a tax haven for Americans. This is where Andy Hildebrand, a wealthy engineer, settled. He made his fortune by developing algorithms that let oil companies know where to dig for oil.

Until the day he left everything to get into the world of music. During a lunch, a friend tells him: “It would be cool if there was software to just blackmail people who sing out of tune”. And he did. How? ‘Or’ What ? By adapting, for sound, the algorithms developed to find oil.

The first self-tuned song was released in 1998

The Autotune software was therefore released in 1997, where it was used in all studios to discreetly correct the voice of singers. But the following year, singer Cher’s sound engineer had fun pushing the settings to the limit. This is the beginning of the metallic effect so distinctive today heard then, for the first time, in Believe in 1998.

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This musical revolution even annoys some people. Starting with the Magazine Time which counts Autotune among the 50 worst modern inventions. Between asbestos and subprime …

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