Updated, for all time:

Readers are nearly 100% for judging this one. It was a fake. And the site with a really stupid name (hellohomo??) admits that it was faux.

Howard Stern Hoaxed! Beyoncé "Outtakes" Are Fake, Creator Admits [E! Online]

Wow, that may be the last time CDM links to E!

Lesson learned: yes, the Internet has the power to spread rumors at new speeds. It can also debunk them even faster. That’s something to pass along to the “get off my lawn!” crowd.

Okay, sound engineers and audiophile experts out there: it’s time to play “is this YouTube video real?” (And, heck, even if it’s not, it’s oddly hilarious.)

A recent episode of Howard Stern’s Sirius radio show claimed to expose a “leaked” feed of the raw vocals for Beyonce Knowles as she sang live on the Today Show. I could try to describe just what they sound like, but it’s really best to hear for yourself.

So, what’s the deal? You can hear the in-tune vocals in the background, as though they actually are bleeding into the mic. Does Beyonce have access to some super-secret, military grade version of Auto-Tune? Is the difference between her processed voice and her actual voice as comically radical as depicted in the ‘N Sync episode of The Simpsons?

I mean, I know – YouTube? Blogs? Howard Stern? The Internet? How much more credibility could you possibly ask for?

I’ll let you be the judge. For the record, the Today Show audience actually heard this.

Found via the brilliantly-domained Yes But No But Yes and Matt Ganucheau. YBNBY or whatever you want to call it describes the singing talentes here as “a parrot being sawed in half.” Hatebeak, an actual parrot trying to sound as though he’s being sawed in half and unofficial mascot of CDM, I’m sure you’re jealous.

Previously: the Great Van Halen Detuned Keyboard Incident.

Oh yeah, and you may want to download this video before someone has it removed.

And yes, hey, if it’s just a fake, it goes nicely with the "shreds" video meme. So bring it on.

Updated: Consensus is that it’s a beautifully-executed fake. (I’m inclined to agree – sorry, Mr. Stern.) And to think, we thought all this time the advantage of tools like Melodyne and Auto-Tune would be taking out-of-tune things and making them in-tune – ignoring the expressive potential of doing the reverse.

Britney, meanwhile? That’s another story.

Now, what I’m curious about:

Who faked this?

How did they do it?


  • http://www.jeffekblad.com Jekblad


    oh man. To me, it doesn't seem possible that someone is that terrible. This is not even the melody sung poorly, it's crazy non-musical jumps for no reason. Which leads me to believe this is not real, but actually a vocal take ruined WITH auto-tune…

    but how did they get a pure vocal to trash in auto-tune w/o affecting the house mix and bleed through the mic? idk, but it's HIGHlarious to watch.

  • http://www.newmusicmonday.com Tim

    No way. Sounds like someone took her vocals and jacked em up. But its funny. Reminds me of the St. Shred guitar parodies.

  • http://www.grahamenglish.net Graham English

    Yeah, that's gotta be fake. The leaked Britney feed though, pretty sure that one's real. Britney Spears Live!

  • bones

    Sounds like someone took her vocals and messed with them in melodyne then put them over this video. That's why you hear the in-tune vocals bleeding though. There's no way that's real.

  • http://trash80.net trash80

    Totally fake, but man, that was hilarious! 😀 How it was created should be the question here. Capturing the signal from the wireless mic? Grabbing a effects send or bus off the board? Using some kind of military grade vocal capturing secret software. (ooooo magic)

    …Or maybe she just pissed off one of the sound guys. :)

  • http://pesto.de Jon Silva

    Sounds like some pitch correction with the wrong scale selected. The reason you're hearing the background vocals being properly pitched is probably because they're coming from disk – the background singers don't seem to have a mic.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    I certainly think it's fake, although "crazy non-musical jumps for no reason" — well, let's just say, I have heard that in real life from people who *aren't* Beyonce.

    @trash80: I like your theories. :)

    @Graham: Britney. Fantastic.

  • http://stretta.com Matthew Davidson


  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Raises an interesting question — can faux "shredder" creators be sued for libel? 😉

  • Phil

    The Howard Stern clip says that she was lip syncing to a pre-recorded track, but while doing that she was actually singing along into the mic. This is what she was singing into the mic. She had no monitoring of what she was actually singing, just hearing the pre-recorded material. I think that's plausible. No auto-tune required.

  • martin brinkmann

    this is how faking usually sounds, and it has been done so often (recording the live sound at a playback-preformance) that it is hardly funny anymore.

    even very good singers can not sing in tune when they do not hear their own voice, but the voice (well, maybe it was there own too 😉 ) from the playback only.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    Hi, Martin, nice to hear from you.

    Right, that's correct — without proper monitoring, just about anyone can wind up sounding tone deaf. Lesson learned: monitors are your friend. (The Today Show may or may not be an optimal performing venue, though; I accept that.)

    I still think in this case the video itself is likely faked.

  • Kewl

    Maybe it's a "demo" for Melodyne DNA?

  • RyanM

    I'm a monitor engineer, and we used to do this to people all of the time just for our own amusement. You can send there voice to some kind of pitch bend and do whatever you want to it without anyone having to hear it but yourself. We mostly did it to preachers because there was less going on, but it was still pretty hilarious.

    The vocal you hear from the today show broadcast is real. To be honest, that isn't even that good. There's no way they made that mediocre of a recording to lip-sync to. Don't get me wrong, people sing along to tracks all the time, but this one is bunk.

  • http://www.digitallofi.com Puffer

    If you'll allow me a "Hey, you kids, get off my lawn!" moment:

    Does it surprise anyone that these pop-tarts can't pull off these vocal gymnastics in performance? Aside from the fact that, to quote Ben Folds, "some producer with computers fixes all my shitty tracks" – look at these stage setups. They have more to do with musical theater or Vegas shows than they do with performing pop music. It's all most excellent singers can do to command a microphone, but now it's all costume changes and choreography. Who's got time to worry about hitting a note when you've got 12 stage marks to hit? Screw Autotune and DAT backing tracks, backup dancers are one of the worst things to happen to live music performance.

  • http://www.digitallofi.com Puffer

    And, that said, yeah, this seems faked.

  • bliss

    Peter, if you feel somebody watching you the next time you're trekking through TriBeCa, it'll probably be Jay-Z; or somebody hired by him.


  • Machines


    (for Puffer)


  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @RyanM: right, the lesson learned is, it's actually quite a lot easier to take something that's more or less correct and screw it up than the other way around. Which begs the question — how exactly did this "leak" to the Howard Stern show? Did Stern's people do this, or were they played by someone else?

    All previous caveats, again, apply. (Shock and horror! The credibility of the Howard Stern show is RUINED! Oh, wait…)

    Of course, the other revelation is that, yes, many of our pop idols actually can sing. See the other video (the real one). Not the greatest performance ever, but then, it's early in the morning in the middle of Rockefeller Center, so…

    I think in this case people were willing to believe not that there was a dub track, but that they had done some sort of magical on-the-fly real-time tuning. If that were possible, boy, would I want that filter… sadly…

  • Singer

    This isn't the first time Beyonce has been captured doing this though. It sounds to me like she's trying to generally match the track (so that the lip sync will be convincing) but since the track is mostly belted and she's not actually trying to be heard she's pulling it back into head voice. That combined with not being able to hear feedback on her own voice is making for some pretty unfortunate pitch issues. The vocal quality is still very similar to her studio versions, there are just pitch problems everywhere and none of her upper register is belted, it's all in head voice and at one point she kind of slips into whistle register briefly when it goes really wrong.

  • bliss

    BTW, is CDM hosted in Hawaii? What's up with the time stamp?

  • http://musformation.com Jesse Cannon

    The idea that she cannot sing is thoroughly debunked here

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @bliss: Uh, I need to fix something on the server …I think WP's time zone may be confused. The server is actually in Texas, so it's odd that we're winding up with such screwy timestamps (and that they aren't affected publication date…)

    @Jesse: That *sort of* debunks this video, except that it assumes the video is real — and I think it's not. 😉

    So, yes, absolutely, a GOOD singer can sound way off when they don't have a proper monitor mix.

    But in this case, I think the way she sounded was the way she sounded on the other video — nothing fantastically brilliant, but just fine — and what you hear here was intentionally distorted by someone trying to make her sound bad.

    That someone NOT being me. Jay-Z. Don't follow me through TriBeCa. 😉

  • http://www.cassiel.com nick rothwell

    OK – on second listening, shredded by a third party. The vocal sounds a little too isolated to be in the original.

  • http://www.radionowhere.net MB

    I've heard Beyonce sing, no amplification, from about 6 feet away, and let me tell you that she can straight sing.

  • http://www.marcoraaphorst.com Marco Raaphorst
  • ZoneFrog

    obvz not the ill deal, sounds like melodyne. beyonces got pipes ripe for beltin. big up the fake youtube videos massive nonetheless.

  • http://keithhandy.com Keith Handy

    On the version Marco posted, you hear a delayed sound on some high notes… assuming that's an intentional delay effect, then whoever had access to the mix altered the main vocal without altering the delay, which might help explain why you hear another voice at a different pitch in the screwed-up version.

  • http://www.reverbnation.com/aliberger ali

    i remember reading something in the Ableton forum (or maybe the manual) about using the Utility effect's width control (increasing it above 100%) to remove anything not panned center. it sounded like the correct vocals were bleeding in only in the sides, so that might make sense?

  • hungrych

    That clip sounds incredibly fake, cmon.

    Beyonce can certainly sing, as seen here in this impromptu jam with Robert Glasper's awesome band (about 2 mins in): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dur71QRV36M

  • http://www.3amnoise.net/runagate runagate

    Beyonce isn't tone-deaf! In fact out of curiosity I watched some "divas" show once because it was all going to be live. What she can do isn't even hinted at in the small amount I've been exposed to her music on the radio. She blew pretty much everyone else off the stage. Toni Braxton is nearly tone-deaf, though.

  • dude

    it's nothing new. America is all about the symbiosis of humans and computers. It's the same thing as the nose job or airbrush in a magazine that is hollywood culture. I actually think the leaked clip sounds way better than the official one.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @dude: Um… so America would be superior if we couldn't hear tonality? You've lost me.

    Anyway, here on this site we ARE all about the symbiosis of humans and computers! Let the cyborg revolution continue!

    And yes, Beyonce in fact seems to be quite a talented singer, when someone isn't digitally altering her tracks to make her sound artificially out of tune as happened here. Fascinating.

  • Christopher

    People seem to jump on this stuff like fat kids at a pie eating contest. It is what it is. The only people who would truly know are the people who were there.

    Pitch correction is used in 90% of mixes in this day and age. It is simply a tool of the modern day musician.

    Is a guitarist who uses a distortion stomp pedal cheating?

    Also on this note i hate pop music and beyonce's lyrics make me feel ill.

  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @Christopher: right, except that listening to the live broadcast (not the apparently faux video above), I think it sounds like Beyonce doesn't use pitch correction live – not for this gig, at least. 😉

    Of course, a filter won't help with the lyrics if you don't like them.

  • Pingback: Before The Music Dies - BradFuller()

  • http://www.protoolerblog.com stiff

    My guess is fake.

    Reminds me of the old belief that pop stars are picked solely on their looks and can't sing. It just isn't true. There simply is no reason not to pick someone who is BOTH good looking AND a good singer.

  • f.e

    @Christopher :

    – this is no pop music. Pulp is pop music, The Smiths, Brian, Belle And Sebastian, etc. are pop music. Beyoncé is mainstream vomit we suffer since 10 years, nothing to do with pop music.

    – 90% of this FM music is surely pitch corrected. Not 90% of "mixes in this day and age".

    – the analogy with distorsion won't work. It's an effect, part of the whole sound object. Not plastic surgery.

  • googoo

    I agree with Phil. This is NOT faked. Everyone here seems to be convinced that it's faked but nobody has given a reasonable explanation how such fakery could be accomplished. Like what has been said, what was broadcasted and what was being played into the audience is a pre-recorded track. You can hear it in the video because she's playing in the middle of the freaking street – there's a thing called REVERB that is being picked up in her mic. That's why you can hear vocals that are in tune in the background (this so called "delayed sound"). Obviously they are going to play the auto-tuned and studio-recorded vocals out into the audience as well.

    Seriously, I'd like a rational and technical explanation how this was accomplished. It's obviously based off of the vocal track that was recoded there. That's why she's singing live in the first place, so it looks like she's actually singing when she's really just lip-synching. Melodyne DNA is not out yet, there is no public beta, and no, there is no good way to extract just the vocals in such a way to accomplish this task (the stereo imaging trick wouldn't really work with a TV broadcast as it's going to be mixed to sound good on Mono television sets). so where did they get a perfectly recorded a cappella to manipulate and fuck with, and why do we only hear a "delayed sound" of the correct pitches and not just a subdued or soft version of the correct pitches? because it's from the reverb. not some con job. anyway since when does pitch correction leave some weird delayed reminiscent sounds seconds after a part happens? no really. answer the question those of you who think this is fake! your reasoning makes no sense! technically speaking at least.

    I challenge any of you who think this is fake to prove that the process is possible. If it is fake, then it should be easy to do it to just about any band and any recording, right? let's say, Queen maybe. I want to hear someone make bohemian rhapsody sound like it was recorded by a bunch of deaf hyenas. let's hear it.

    i want to believe it's fake, i really do. but I just don't see in reality how that could be the case.

  • Owen

    I'm going to have to agree that this seems to be a pretty genuine lip-sync to a prerecorded main vocal track to me. I don't think it says too much about her as singer though. I agree that without monitors it is near impossible to hear yourself, and if no one is going to hear her real voice then I think she would be even less concerned about the pitch thing. Besides, I think most people were there for the show not the music…

    …Regardless though, I have no doubt that Beyonce sounds far better singing than I ever will :)

  • http://www.myspace.com/tooltablist Mudo

    HAHAHAHA good fake… She screams like a cat!

    (sometimes reality overpass the fiction)

  • http://abrightfearlesssunrise.blogspot.com/ ABFS

    Okay, would I be pointing out the elephant in the room by asking why she's dressed like Catwoman?

  • http://www.combatdave.com combatdave

    This reminds me of how Radiohead really sound:


  • http://www.createdigitalmusic.com Peter Kirn

    @googoo: Well, it's *not* hard to do provided you really do have access to the main feed, which is why someone suggested she may have somehow made one of the live sound people really angry. 😉

    Then mix that back into the ambient sound of the venue. Done.

    Yes, it's also possible that what they did was record a quick dub — ie, not a studio dub — of her singing as the backing track, and what you're hearing here is actually her, totally unable to hear the monitors. That wouldn't speak very positively of her singing ability, certainly – it's tough to sing without monitors, yes, but this is Rockefeller Center, not the Orange Bowl; it's not *that* loud.

  • decrepitude

    I think the lip sync theory is the most plausible. After repeated viewings, there are several questionable moments where her mouth doesn't match the music.

    Since the Ashlee Simpson incident the public is more aware than ever that artists are known to fake their performances. It's nothing new. The Rolling Stones succumbed to this crap on a multitude of TV music programs. It's an age old practice and it's no surprise that in 2009 entertainers are refining the "illusion" even further.

    It would be really clever to pre-record specific performances meant for TV appearances. Also, it's nothing new that performers actually sing instead of "mouthing" for a playback performance. Billy Squier for example was famous for hating music videos and was known to sing through each take of filming a video.

    It's also nothing new that the frontman's microphone is live so shout-outs can be thrown in at any time. The vast majority of the Today Show's performances are lip synced anyway so why should it suddenly be different?

    I contend that lip-syncers have had to up their game because the general public is getting wise.

  • decrepitude

    Doh! Just read this:

    So…..nevermind. 😉

  • Angstrom

    simply going to the site of the person who made the video (hellohomo.com) educates us :

    Guys these videos are fake and just for a laugh! ENJOY!!!

    Bring them to work and school and share with all your friends!!!

    Videos in Quicktime format

    If I Were A Boy – http://www.zshare.net/video/53973121b3eec86a/

    Single Ladies – http://www.zshare.net/video/53973540d483ea22/Guys these videos are fake and just for a laugh! ENJOY!!!

    Bring them to work and school and share with all your friends!!!

    Videos in Quicktime format

    If I Were A Boy – http://www.zshare.net/video/53973121b3eec86a/

    Single Ladies – http://www.zshare.net/video/53973540d483ea22/

    he has some other fake vids there, also tagged as fake.

  • http://www.myspace.com/k1ru six fingered chyld

    man, oh man, oh man…

    i ain't never seen y'all so worked up about a funny/fun vid….

    the underlying issue? ppl can't sing anymore…?

    no no no…we're just not used to people singing naturally ennymore…

    thanks t-pain! lil wayne, than you too!!

    i just simply can't wait 'til that auto tune

    shit technology become a realtime application…

    oh my gosh..now everybody is going to be able to sing!!

    goodbye profit from making music..

  • decrepitude

    More Autotune madness…. in a good way this time.

  • Pingback: Create Digital Music » Auto-Tune The News, And Channeling Steve Reich, Anyone?()

  • uncajesse

    six fingered chyld…

    Auto-Tune started as a realtime "hardware" box. Here's their latest box:

    Next time do the research 1st. 😉

  • borgnagar

    This is clearly the vocal microphone sound from beyonce lip syncing. Not to defend her or anything, but if you are doing a performance with your vocals coming from a CD, why should you bother to sing in the correct pitch? No one hears it anyway! And if you are not making a sound it looks even more fake. Vocals are really dependant on good monitoring and I assume she couldn't even hear what she was singing because why should there be monitoring if the vocals are not audible?

    I think your "It was messed up in Melodyne and then recorded back into the mix" theories are really far fetched and you could use some time away from the internet.

    Everyone lip syncs since the 80s so this shouldn't be any news.

    The question should be, "why don't they sing live?". It's too demanding, like this, it's easy and spot on every time.

  • triquee

    It's real. I'm a singer and watching her throat, the way her muscles constrict on the notes she chooses is consistent with the audio on this video. I think she chose the notes she did for the visual affect they present – a dramatic one. It makes it appear to be a sensational performance.

  • zidlifieMig

    Hello friends

    Just found this great place and found it really interesting :)

    Looking to have some good fun with you people!

    Cheers :)

  • http://www.na-wesele.com/ neecundavek

    As critics sustain to take hold of level focus on at her parents in place of letting their 16-year-old daughter examine to flow on all sides the humankind, and as the outlay of her release has intermittently been estimated — close to one weekly — to add up to more than $1 million, Sunderland has actuality her pre-eminent in-depth conversation since her striking deliverance model week and she defended her voyage and her beleaguered parents.

    "I judge devise that a lot of people are judging me by way of the standards they possess as a replacement for their teens and other teens that they know… and reasonable, 'She's unerringly like them,'" Sunderland said in an Associated Cleave to exclusive. "They don't know that I've sailed my whole vital spark and I do be sure what I'm doing gone from there."

    As most of the overjoyed knows, Sunderland was walloped sooner than a huge flutter pattern Thursday in a far-away neck of the woods of the Indian Ocean. Her 40-foot skiff rolled at least for good occasionally and irremediable its mast, its rigging and aide-de-camp communications equipment.


  • woodor apple

    Great input, thanks for all the interesting opinions, etc. Hopefully the site will attract more people.  SwissGear Backpack

  • http://www.hermeshandbagoutlet.com Hermes birkin

    It is such an important topic and ignored by so many, even professionals! I do enjoy writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are lost simply just trying to figure out how to begin. hermes birkin replica

  • hermes birkin

    I am the first time on this site and am really enthusiastic about and so many good articles. I think it’s just very good.

  • http://www.ahhermesbags.com/ hermes birkin

    oh my!! i love you so much!!
    Thank you so much.

  • http://www.facebook.com/brenteesha Brent Matthies

    The video proves that it’s a fake. Do you really think the entire crowd would have those huge smiles on their faces and be dancing along if she was actually singing that bad? My god some people have nothing better to do with their time than try to make others look bad… that’s really sad. 

  • http://www.ahhhermesbags.com/ hermes birkin

    thank you for being so good at writing and giving information,I find the website–   http://www.ahhhermesbags.com is so wonderful

  • Bobby in Memphis

    Has no one considered the possibility that she is lip syncing and singing into a mic that she can not hear at all. That she is emoting the physical movements and making sounds but has no audio reference what so ever of what is coming out of her body. You would think that lip syncing would have to be more than just moving your lips to be convincing. You would actually have to breath and push out sound. That said I am not a fan of lip sync. But that would explain not being able to sing along on key. Try to sing along, or for you recording musicians out there, try to double a vocal track in the studio when all you can hear is the original track and not what is coming out of your body. I don’t really think anyone could do all the dance moves and sing anyway. But the Beyonce and Britney leaks of recent sound to me to be just what I described a mic that is turned off to the monitors and mains until its time to talk to the audience that to their misfortune someone recorded. I think it’s strangely funny.

    • xbj

      Nailed it.