A recent debate on Reddit has brought to light a growing concern among fans about the alleged heavy-handed use of autotune in tracks produced by HYBE artist, including global sensations like BTS, ENHYPEN and TXT.
One discerning K-Pop fan on the platform pointed out that they had recently started to observe a marked increase in the use of auto-tune in HYBE songs. They cited examples like BTS’s “Permission to Dance”, TXT’s collaboration with the Jonas Brothers, and NewJeans’ “Super Shy”.
Interestingly, they mentioned that the girl groups under the multi-label seemed to be somewhat exempted from this trend — but, according to them, in “Super Shy” the NewJeans members sound “robotic.”
This observation opened the floodgates, with fans chiming in with varied opinions. While a majority seemed to concur about the overuse of auto-tune, some fans opined that this wasn’t a recent trend.
Among the critiques was also the observation that it’s not just the autotune, but the vocal direction and processing in general. Many fans alluded to the possibility of HYBE trying to create a unique, consistent sound, but perhaps at the cost of overshadowing the distinct voices of their artists.
One comparison that stood out in the discussion was about SEVENTEEN. Their sound, particularly their vocal processing, before and after joining HYBE was noted as being significantly different, further fuelling the debate between fans.
However, not everyone viewed this as a downward spiral. Some believed the heaviest use of auto-tune was in the period around 2020-2022, with songs like BTS’s “Dynamite” as a prime example. Since then, they feel HYBE might have pulled back a bit.
One of the more critical observations was the apparent disparity during live performances with prerecorded vocals. Fans felt the voices sounded “metallic and strange,” deviating from the authentic sound that they had come to love from these groups.
Fans seem to agree that while technological advancements like autotune can enhance music, they must be used judiciously, especially in an industry where the raw talent of the artists is as celebrated as the finished product. It remains to be seen how HYBE and its groups respond, but one thing is clear: fans are listening, and they care about the music as much as they care about the artists’ voices and tones.