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  OPINION PAPER (550 words min.)    Read the lip-synch article that will be distributed in class. Give your opinion on the issues raised in    the article. This assignment will be discussed in more detail in class.         Not Live   By Teresa Wiltz   and Greg Kot   CHICAGO TRIBUNE   Posted: Aug. 11, 1998         Lip-sync or live — does it matter to you? Give us your opinion on this    There was a time when the excitement of a live music concert rested in its very liveness,    the electricity of improvisation — warts, flubbed notes and all. In recent years, however, many    pop concerts have morphed into Barnum & Bailey theatrics flavored with MTV magic. Moments    of lip-syncing and singing along to prerecorded vocals have become just another part of the    program — along with rapid-fire choreography, flashpots and rigged contraptions designed to         Look closely at the performers, such as the now-they-are-four Spice Girls. Or Janet Jackson.         Sometimes the sound of their voices is blaring through the amphitheater, but their lips aren’t    moving. Or the CD-perfect sound of their singing belies the Olympian pace of their dance         For performers of lesser talent or lower wattage, there’s even computer software that can take    a sour note and turn it into a sweet one, long before it blows out of the speakers and into the    audience’s unsuspecting ear. These days, in some arenas, live music isn’t so live anymore.        Today’s road shows are elaborate echoes of the mini-movies that made the performers stars.In    Detroit recently, Janet Jackson re-created her most popular videos, from the choreography to the    costumes, onstage. In Cleveland, the Spice Girls even sang the song from their Pepsi plug, as    images from the actual commercial flickered on a giant movie screen.        Few seem to mind. As long as it looks good, it’s all good. “We’re selling image and we’re not    really into selling the song,” said Daryl Stewart, an independent road manager and tour    accountant. “Years ago, you went to see a show based on what you heard on the radio. Now, the    audience today expects a replication of what they see on the video.”        This signals a shift in the thinking of just what constitutes entertainment at the end of the 20th    century. In this era of digital magic, electronic enhancement is the order of the day. The result is    a new hybrid in music concerts, one that marries technology with a certain cynicism about what    audiences will accept, creating live music videos that leave some concertgoers scratching their    heads as they wonder, Was that live — or Memorex?        But that didn’t matter to Tondelay George, who recently drove 4 1/2 hours from Cincinnati to    Cleveland to see the Spice Girls. The 19-year-old receptionist sat quivering and singing along to    every single word — and sometimes screaming with joy. “Truthfully,” George said, “I’m not    listening to them. I’m watching Scary. When you’re coming to a concert, you’re coming to see    them perform. If you want to hear them, you can hear them at home.”        “When I come to shows like this, I have different expectations,” said Stacey Hunt, 35, a    physician checking out the Janet Jackson show in Detroit.”I’m sure it probably irritates some    people if the performers use tapes or lip-sync. But if it helps them give the crowd what they    want, why not? For the layperson who comes to be entertained, it’s no big deal.”        The Spice Girls deny that they employ any vocal enhancement when they’re onstage. “We    said from Day One, ‘When we go live, we go live,’ ” said Melanie Chisholm, a k a Sporty Spice.    “We don’t lip-sync. We’ve got plenty of power onstage.”        None of the acts in question is a Milli Vanilli of the ’90s. They do sing, and they do sing live.    Nonetheless, Stewart and other industry insiders contend that if a performer is bouncing around    onstage, some prerecorded vocals are necessary to disguise the fact that, at that    moment, the artist is huffing and puffing, rather than singing.        Often, even well-respected artists with stellar voices use backing tracks to add another, fuller    layer of sound onstage, said Maxx Myrick, operations manager for Chicago’s WVAZ-FM, which         “You can’t sing full throttle when you’re dancing,” Stewart explained. “Try reciting the    Gettysburg Address while you’re jumping up and down.” And, if musically you need a helping         According to Hank Neuberger, owner of the Chicago Recording Co., where the likes of    Smashing Pumpkins, Liz Phair and Cheap Trick have put their hits on plastic, concert technology    has become more portable and therefore more road-worthy. Anything that can be done in the         “If a person has half a voice, technology will do the rest,” said Curtis Dowd, a keyboardist    who has performed on the road with Patti LaBelle and R. Kelly. “There’s some high-paid    engineer who’ll make you sound a lot better in the studio. Too much technology makes you lazy.    Onstage, they have to sing with a (backing tape) because they can’t cut it live.”        Which means that if a singer sings off-key, there is Autotune, computer software that fixes the    offending note before the audience hears it. The singer’s voice is loaded into a computer; by    employing smart technology, the computer knows that the note isn’t vibrating as much as, say, a    C note should and corrects the pitch. And then there’s Studio Vocalist, which creates five perfect    harmony parts from one vocal, turns a tenor into a soprano, or an alto into a bass. And the         The line between marketing and music, art and artifice, has been blurred continually in the    rock era. In the ’60s and ’70s, performers routinely lip-synced to recordings on “American    Bandstand,” “Shindig!” and “Soul Train.” With the introduction of such advances as the    synthesizer and drum machine,live performances increasingly became dependent on technology.        With the arrival in the early ’80s of MTV, the first 24-hour music channel, videos became    marketing tools and profoundly influenced how concerts were staged.        Still, a large proportion of rock acts such as Ani DiFranco and Pearl Jam, along with    alternative R & B soulsters such as M’Shell Ndegeocello, continues to build followings through    live performances that place a premium on musicianship.        But these attributes are of minor importance among MTV-bred acts, which sell primarily to    teeny-boppers. Those acts play to a different set of standards, which require dazzling visuals,    tight choreography and note-perfect re-creations of the music.        Earlier this decade, pop charts were dominated by acts that followed these guidelines. Milli    Vanilli (which lost its Grammy Award after an infamous lip-syncing scandal), New Kids on the    Block, Janet Jackson, Madonna, M.C.Hammer, Vanilla Ice and Fine Young Cannibals relied    heavily or entirely on backing tracks for their live performances. And the example set by the    prefab groups of the early ’90s has become the norm for a strata of prefab pop acts in the late         In the R & B arena, part of it is economics. The current incarnation of R & B is a studio- driven genre, with sound effects that are too expensive to produce onstage. Because of that,    many acts, including platinum-selling teen heartthrob Usher, use backing tracks, or prerecorded    instrumentation and background vocals, in addition to live performers.        Vaughn Halyard, a producer and entertainment analyst who has worked with Stevie Wonder    and Janet Jackson, said R & B acts on tour are likely to get less financial support from a record         Back in Cleveland, Megan Watkins, 16, and Deanna Hoffart, 15, rattled the eardrum with    their shrieks. It was, they said, like, soooo cool to be there, seeing the Spice Girls do their thing         OK, they admitted, there was that one time where no one even pretended to sing Ginger’s    lyrics while the departed Spice Girl’s disembodied voice warbled on. But no love was lost.        Chicago Tribune staff writer Lou Carlozo contributed to this report.

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