TNB Night Owl – Vocaloids

The singer you are hearing does not exist.

That’s the concept behind vocaloids, the natural successor to auto-tuning.  They are completely computer-generated singers, each with their own personality, appearance, and “voice”.  And they are international sensations, after being created in Japan.

The singers are both “male” and “female” and overwhelmingly they are used for pop music, although they’ve shown up on everything from rock to polka as well.

An example of one of the “her” songs:

It’s notable that this is a live concert.  The characters are recreated as 3-d holograms who are accompanied by live bands.  The singers, not being restricted by physics, can perform instantaneous costume changes, never lose their balance, never even have a hair slip out of place.  And thankfully for the copyright owners, they never refuse to perform or get sick.

The business side of them is fairly appealing.  Meanwhile, it’s the marketing that has made them successes.  The most popular by far is Hatsune Miku, the impossibly-tressed character in the above clip.  She has had her features decorating art books, cartoons, stickers, backpacks, clothing, cups… just about anything that might feature a Disney Princess has been decorated by a Miku image, as well as other vocaloid personalities like Megurine Rin.  They’ve even been the stars of a few English-translated video games (although that seems like a natural progression.)

The character has promoted the popular store chain Family Mart in Japan (complete with many outakes)

And on the U.S. West Coast, some cities were introduced to the characters through Toyota Corolla commercials:

The actual songs from the characters have not produced a significant mark on non-Asian markets, likely due to the Japanese-heavy lyrics used by the characters.  But the images have made the transition and have spread through the world like a modern incarnation of Hello Kitty.

Just another reminder that you’re living in a very strange future.

Question for the night: Who is your favorite live, human, singer?

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About AlienMotives 1991 Articles
Ex-Navy Reactor Operator turned bookseller. Father of an amazing girl and husband to an amazing wife. Tired of willful political blindness, but never tired of politics. Hopeful for the future.

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