Justin Bieber’s latest music video, “Where Are Ü Now?”, is not only visually pleasing and interesting with the incorporation of animations made by fans, but also captures the energy of a generation redesigned by a new form of sound engineering. With the release of the Justin Beiber, Skrillex, and Diplo produced song, the extent to which synthetic sound is implemented in music today is truly recognizable.
Electronic music, the mixing together of industrial and pre recorded sounds, began first in the United States in the 1980s. Before this, German electronic generators were developed in 1953 and hailed as the first devices to create sound and music without the use of acoustic instruments. Progressive rock bands such as Pink Floyd, Yes, and Genesis were among the first to utilize electronic sound devices in their own music. As electronic music became popularized, EDM as a genre was introduced and widely accepted and the United States and North America in the late 1980s and early 1990s. The commercial use and cultural significance of EDM was key to creating the first raves, most famous being Electric Daisy Carnival, Tomorrowland, and Ultra Music Festival.
Artists such as Skrillex, Diplo, Deadmau5, and Daft Punk have made their name through synthetic music, as part of the “Rave Generation” dubbed by Spin Magazine in 2011. All of these artists have been instrumental in the musical revolution: Skrillex is credited as first bringing electronic music into modern culture, Deadmau5 and Daft Punk created new styles and accessories associated with the genre, and Diplo has crossed borders between the aggressive beat typical of electronic music with pop, rap, and many other genres.
Not only has the introduction of electronic music and sound synthesizing brought into existence extensions of its computer-generated feel, such as Trap and Dubstep, but it has also paved the way for musicians of a new “breed”: Vocaloids. First produced in 2000, the system Vocaloid is a voice synthesizer whion yen foch enables users to create a voice combining pre-recorded voices of actors and singers by typing in lyrics and a melody. One of the more famous products of this voice-synthesizing program is Hatsune Miku, released in 2007. Her name literally means “the first sound of the future.” Hatsune Miku was originally sold and marketed towards professional musicians, and her software made a total of 57 millir Crypton Future Media. Considered to be a pop-electronic-techno crossover, Hatsune Miku is confirmed to have had over 100,000 songs written for her; her popularity in both Japan and other countries has given her the opportunity to perform “live,” even as an opening act for Lady Gaga’s tour ArtRave: The Artpop Ball in 2014. In 2014, she also made her way onto American television, performing live on Late Night with David Letterman on CBS, and although she is now one of many Vocaloids now, Hatsune Miku remains the number one best selling product of Vocaloid.
While Justin Bieber may not have Hatsune Miku singing duets with him, the influence of electronically synthesized music is very present in his latest song “Where Are Ü Now?” The heavy bass and treble overtones are completely computer-generated, and even Justin Bieber’s voice is autotuned. But instead of this invasion of computer-created music being considered a bad thing, the music industry is opening itself up to people who may not have had a way in before by creating software easily accessible, like Garage Band, free for every Mac. Many electronic artists started small too; Deadmau5 was a small time DJ in his time at college and self-published much of his own work. Justin Bieber and Jack Ü’s collaboration serves as an example of how unique music can sound now; no longer is music simply a guitar, drums, bass, and piano, the computer is part of the band too.