Melodyne’s Direct Note Access system changes absolutely everything about music production. No, really, it changes everything.
The greatest upside is that transformative use just became completely unstoppable. Of course, this will leads to bold new worlds in copyright litigation as artists go to court to claim that a minor-chord variation of, say, “Hot In Herrre” by Nellt isn’t transformative use. But take mashup technology and multiply it by one thousand, and that’s what Celemony have done here: created the ability to create new music out of the shards of shattered old music, completely unrecognizable and distinctive from the original.
Not, of course, that this will stop lawsuits from flying, which is why most countries desperately need to add a transformative use clause to the fair dealing exemptions of their copyright law, and have for some time. (Of course, Canada still doesn’t have legislative protection for parody, time shifting and format shifting, so I suppose we have to manage one thing at a time.)
The big downside of the Melodyne system which I think has gone mostly unnoticed is that it removes the requirement for actual musical skill from, say, an attractive-looking young band. Granted, this requirement was mostly gone anyway, as audio engineers and producers can turn a bunch of untalented shits into the next U2 given enough time and the opportunity to maybe play a few of the band’s instruments in the studio for them – but Melodyne makes it even easier and simpler.