You Dont Have to be Human to Make it Big in the Music Biz

I thought this was pretty cool.

This is Miku Hatsune, one of the most popular Vocaloid characters out of Japan.

Hatsune Miku translates as ‘first sound from the future’, which is appropriate since she is the first of Crypton’s “Character Vocal Series”. �Miko’s voice is based on Yamaha’s Vocaloid technology.

Back around 2007, Crypton decided to use a different marketing strategy from ZeroG’s. Instead of focusing on high end studios, they changed their focus to the public in general, especially targeting teenagers.

In addition to an extremely appealing voice, they also needed to develop an image. Enter manga artist KEI. Kei had come up with Miko, and gave her the physical characteristics, but left it up to the public to collectively give her personality.

You could say that the collective energies of contributors and fans from all over the world have given Miko a soul of her own, somehow traversing the boundaries between the perpetual near future, and the present. The physical and the virtual.

Miko’s immense popularity has resulted in some pretty astounding sales figures as well. Here is an excerpt from Wikipedia:

The initial sales of Hatsune Miku were so high that Crypton could not keep up with the demand. In the first 12 days of sale, nearly 3,000 sales reservations were made. This was around one sale in 250 in the music software industry, quoted as “an impossible number” by Wataru Sasaki�the person in charge of the planning and production company ‘surprise’. � stated on September 12, 2007 that they had sales of Hatsune Miku totaling 57,500,001 yen, making her the number one selling software of that time.

The decision to combine Vocaloids with a manga character was an instant magic formula that brought Vocaloids from an obscure niche into a new genre of music. This strategy has opened the floodgates of collaborative content creation which has sparked a whole new dimension in artistic creativity.

3 thoughts on “You Dont Have to be Human to Make it Big in the Music Biz”

  1. Hi Jack,

    It makes me wonder where it will go next. There are so many virtual experiences that remove so much of reality from the experience in order to entertain or provide a platform for competitive interaction (games) with unrealistic, death-defying physics and gameplay.

    Second life gave people a virtual world in which to build and sell virtual properties using real cash. I wonder if there will come a time when banks will loan money to invest in virtual real estate that you then rent to virtual people who really only exist in someones imagination?

    Now we have real people raving about an animation – a good one at that – but an animation all the same. I guess it is not a lot different to paying to watch a movie, except that the setting is very much like a worship service where the apparition is the one receiving all the admiration and adoration.

    It would be a worthwhile exercise to pull the power on everything for one month and see what remains. You would probably find a lot of lost souls whose lives no longer have any meaning because it is mostly found among the terabytes of disk drive space scattered around the world.


  2. Hi Michael,

    Wow, what a great analysis!

    I think part of the appeal among the fans is that they play a role in shaping her personality. She becomes whatever the ideal fantasy of that particular individual is. And currently nothing would really change that for the individual, even within the parameters of the collective.

    I would have to guess that if the plug was pulled on the internet for a week, society would collapse with looting, cannibalism, and sheer chaos instantly sending us back to the jungle… at least in America anyway. 😛

    It makes me wonder if our own reality may be also a virtual simulation created by a divine mind (perhaps our own), in order to create a diversion from the boredom of eternity. 😉


  3. To think that only a few years ago pokemon was a big thing for me, now they’re creating virtual characters that can sing, dance, and personality. Starting to wonder if all those 1950s science fiction books were just off by a few years or computers being able to think and feel like human beings.

    Well maybe not that extreme but it definately made Vocaloids a few (hundred) million.

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