This Is What's Actually Playing In Singers' Earpieces – And We're Horrified

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If you’ve ever seen a live singer perform, you’ll know that a lot of the time, they’ll be wearing an earpiece while doing their thing.

And up until now, I just assumed that those were playing the backing track to them (I mean, all those people are going to create a serious distraction from the music).

Well, it turns out I was partly right ― the earpieces are designed to cut through the cacophony of music, fans, and other noises. But what they’re playing in the singer’s ear isn’t always music as we’d expect.


Yep! According to singer Alex Porat, some musicians hear what’s known as a “click track,” which is sometimes overlain on their song ― and sometimes heard as-is.

The singer stitched a TikTok video that said “POV: you’re listening to Taylor’s in-ear monitor during Cruel Summer,” wherein a countdown and a loud clicking sound drowned out most of the music.

Alex said that when her friend asked if this was really what singers hear on stage, she replied, “Yes, it is.”

“The purpose of the click trick is so that all the musicians on stage together can play in time with each other,” she says ― this applies to dancers, too. It essentially works like a metronome.

Sounds... a bit annoying?

Apparently, it is!

“When I just started doing shows, it was the most annoying sound I’d ever heard in my life,” Alex said. But over time, she says she got used to the sound.

Every musician on stage has their own channel, too, so “every person on stage can have a different mix,” she added.

“Someone might have more vocal, and someone might have more drums, for example.”

Despite being a little irritating at first, the singer shared that when you’re on stage, it’s “the most important thing to have in your ears,” adding that they count in everyone from the drummers to the singer.

So, it might sound like a sensory nightmare ― but the click track is the secret to a lot of your favourite live performances.


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