There's a really interesting discussion in the comments section of Gizmodo about the use of "Auto-tune" technology to modify and correct the vocals of pop artists on their albums. The most notorious user of Auto-tune is hip-hop artist T-Pain. But according to Time magazine the modern recording industry uses Auto-tune for pretty much every album. This is what I just posted to the discussion:
For me this boils down to what music is about for people.
For some people, its about a vibe, a sound environment, a background beat to move to — the singing and lyrics and personalities involved are secondary. These are not necessarily bad things. Much of my own musical appreciation falls into this category.
For others it's about a more intentional and personal connection to the artist — and thus questions of authenticity are more important. When Milli Vanilli doesn't actually sing their music, when C+C Music Factory doesn't credit the actual singer and substitutes a hotter fake singer, when the Backstreet Boys use recorded songs and just lip-sync we get pissed. Because it isn't REAL.
At some level, all media is an abstraction from the real, unless we are listening to our friend play a song that she wrote on an instrument that she is playing right in front of us. Everything else requires some level of abstraction from reality, whether it is pre-recorded content, editing, amplification, or other techniques.
Most of the time, we don't notice these things because we have come to accept them. But when do notice them, it angers us because it takes away from the "genuine" music experience and makes us feel like we are being played.
Music by its nature is manipulative. The artist is trying to make you feel something, perhaps for their own ends that you don't necessarily agree with. To sell records, to shill a product, to support a cause, etc. For some we can see this, choose to accept that manipulation, and enjoy the product. For others, it is less apparent, and when it is revealed it is upsetting and repulsive — as these comments here are testament to.
Here's an interesting interview with T-Pain talking about his use of auto-tune for his music.