K-Pop - Do MR (Music Removed) versions matter?

The internet is full of MR ("Music removed") versions of live performances. MR versions basically means using audio software to remove the music playback from the live performance, leaving only the real live sound (what the singer actually sings and other environment noises). After a few passes to remove noise, what you get is technically only the singer voice.

The point is usually to either highlight how "good" a singer can do lives, or how terrible they are outside studio environment and audio tuning.

But does it really matter to pay attention to how a singer do lives? well, depends.

Live performances is much more than music.

When people decide to attend live concerts, they are not going for a studio-like audio fidelity. They want to share the enthusiasm, see their idol, see choreography, spontaneity and people's reactions. For that matter, the production will often purposefully put "obstacles" to a good vocal performance by adding props, moves, light and magic. You try to sing a high note while jumping in the heat, consistently, for several minutes, and see if that is possible.

Therefore, when we are talking about live performances where dance and choreography is involved and even expected, there is absolutely no expectation of vocal fidelity. The artist either follow the choreography, which often puts ones body in positions not optional for even speaking, let alone singing, or sings. Since you probably heard the studio version, the show is all about everything other than the voice.

The fact that artists will have to dance and sing under intense light (thus heat) and often in tight figurine and other times in the open, all adds up to the challenge to keep in tone. No wonder any artist that have a focus on singing will often just stand or even sit, while artists with a focus on dance will make plenty of use on that playback and just lip-sync.

Idol artists are about image.

When it comes to idols, the focus is always image, which include dance and choreography. As mentioned, you cannot have that without a serious cut on voice fidelity. People want to see the dance, the beauty, the crowd. If you want to listen to the voice, a live concert is probably the farthest away from high quality.

That is not to say that artists with focus on singing can't perform pitch-perfect songs, but pay attention to them: they don't move as much, they wear more comfortable figurine, there are more pauses between songs to catch their breath. If the singer is delivering voice, then there will be a lot of attention to keep the voice intact and not strain their limits.

MR is usually the weapon of the anti

With all said and done, most fans understand that singing don't go along either live performances much less dancing, and won't be too critical of slips or playback - only those who dislike the artist will use it as a pseudo-weapon against an artist that they never liked to begin with. Any so called fan that pay attention to MR version is not a fan.

And even a pro singer can have their bad day and sore throat, so not being a dick about it goes a long way to be an empathetic human. If you want voice fidelity, look for the studio version, just like if you want a great movie, don't try to go watch it being recorded live, but wait the final post-produced material.