The 'Luna Ki case': Eurovision does not expressly prohibit the use of 'autotune'



The absence in the benidorm fest by the Barcelona artist Luna Ki, that three days before the start of the contest announced that he was resigning to defend the song 'I'm going to die' because you were not allowed to use 'autotune', has opened a debate on whether the rules of the eurovision song contest actually prohibit the use of this vocal modification tool. This seemed to be suggested by the statement that RTVE, the organizer of the Benidorm Fest, made public after the withdrawal of Luna Ki, in which it was ensured that the 'autotune' had been "dismissed by European regulations" at the European Song Festival. In reality, it is not exactly like that, although the rules of the contest can be interpreted in that sense.

The lengthy regulation that the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) has established for the celebration of Eurovision states that all the participating songs "will be performed live on stage with a recorded backing track", and then states: "The track of accompaniment may contain backing vocals, but may not contain lead vocals, lead vocals, or any other voice that has the effect of unduly replacing or assisting to lead vocals during the live performance on stage.”

This is the point that RTVE accepts to ban the use of 'autotune'. And certainly if the software created by geophysicist Andy Hildebrand is used, as is often done, to mask and correct pitch errors in vocal performance, it can be said that Eurovision prohibits it, since it is a tool that “unduly helps the lead voice during live performance”. However, on many occasions (and unlike what happens with other 'software' such as Melodyne, which is focused on editing sounds from the notes), 'autotune' is used as an artistic resource to obtain a certain sonority in the voice, and there it is more questionable that its use is not allowed, in the same way that the presence of the 'vocoder' and other vocal distortion instruments is not prevented.



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