Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009


Music producers have relied on this software program for more than a decade to subtly correct imperfect pitch. But thanks to rapper T-Pain, the warbly, digitized vocal effect became a full-blown Internet meme in '09. Witness SNL's Grammy-nominated rap spoof "I'm on a Boat" (featuring none other than T-Pain), Singing Kittens, Winston Churchill a la autotune, the Slapchop remix, Auto-tune as a Kafka-esque nightmare, and, of course, "Auto-tune the News", a bizarre remix of evening news clips re-envisioned as R&B. Jay-Z tried to kill the meme this summer with his single "D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune"), but it didn't work. (A prankster even took it upon himself to auto-tune the song). In September, T-Pain released his own iPhone app, "I Am T-Pain," which lets anybody willing to fork over $3 sound like a musical C-3PO. According to Digital Music News, the app has been downloaded an average of 10,000 times a day.