I believe that in fact in many cases it already has.
Below I explain why this is and what is at the heart of the problem.
I’m a logic user, when Logic 9 came out I had a look at the features and I found several of them disturbing. A lot of the new features are catering to players who can’t stay in time, want to ‘fake’ solos by recording at half speed and vocal performances which are micro ‘composed’ by the producer rather than the singer. Sad days for music IMO.
Worse, if you are a jobbing producer or engineer today – you are expected to take music made by a groups of people who can’t play or sing their way out of a paper bag – and make it sound like a polished record. So… Apple with Logic 9 are providing what the market wants, commercially you could say they don’t have a choice. Or do they? Apple have in many ways created the direction their products have taken rather than simply responding to the base market demands. In this case they seem to be abandoning that philosophy and catering for the lowest common denominator.
Who needs a drummer who can keep time right? Who needs a singer that can phrase? Who needs a guitarist who can play in time? These features feed the production of a lot of sterile generic product IMO.
Used ‘ethically’ of course these tools can fix a slip-up in an otherwise fantastic take under tight studio time restrictions. But we all know that they won’t be used like that a lot of the time, they’ll be used to construct technically accurate performances from musicians and singers who don’t have the talent or commitment to their art to produce listenable music any other way.
You can’t stop technical progress though and I’m a fool to rail against it I know. I mean look at the internet, century old newspapers are crumbling before our eyes, replaced by newswire rehashes and blogging – threatening the end of investigative journalism, one of the pillars of democracy. should we be worried? So who cares if music is crumbling under the same technological steam roller?
I shouldn’t really be worried, good music and musicians will always rise out of the sea of crap what ever happens – look at the Mars Volta for example! And there are loads of other great bands out there, but I still cringe to see what we are demanding of our studio tools.
Of course its possible to use these new tools in creative ways, but that’s not why they’ve been put in there. What I have a problem with is using these tools to ‘create’ performances that the listener takes as real (and they will take them as real).
The reason I have a problem with this is partly because its tricking the listening public and I don’t like that. But also because the result is inevitably a sterile version of the real thing.
Real musicians and singers, the good ones, don’t play perfectly. There are small mistakes, but the overall performance has something that goes beyond the technically perfect and imparts something far more valuable to the listener. But you can’t do that unless you can play or sing well in the first place!