Hatsune Miku is a rising star in the pop music scene in Japan, but she is just a piece of software.
I'll be honest with you, it sounds like the plot of some bad Al Pacino sci-fi movie. But it is all too real, in a sense. Hatsune Miku is a computer synthesizer application developed by Crypton Future Media using Yamaha's Vocaloid techonology. She was "born" with the first stable release on August 31, 2007. Since then, Hatsune Miku has been animated and projected using a 3D hologram with the freeware program MikuMikuDance and videos of the character have been popular on the YouTube-like Nico Nico Douga website in Japan. Hatsune Miku held her first live performance in 2009 at the Animelo Summer Live festival, which showcases anime music. The HD videos below are taken from her sold-out 39's Giving Day performance, which is available in Japan on Blu-Ray.
Hatsune Miku is by far not the only Vocaloid out there. In 2004, the first Vocaloid application was released by Yamaha based on the work of scientists at the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. The program is a "singer-in-a-box" and it allows the user to input lyrics and melody, as well as effects like vibrato, and the application will sing the desired song. Vocaloid 2 came out in 2007 and made many improvements to the tech. Vocaloids all represent a specific voice capable of only singing in one language; Sweet Ann was the first created using Vocaloid 2 and she could only sing in English. Hatsune Miku, who can sing only in Japanese, was created only a few months later by Crypton Future Media and has the following fake statistics:
Name: Hatsune Miku
Age: 16 years
Suggested Genre: Pop/Dance
Suggested Tempo Range: 70~150bpm
Suggested Vocal Range: A3~E5
I'm not sure how I feel about all of this. While I appreciate that the technology is somewhat amazing, especially the combination 3D holograms, with a software voice and live musicians. Hatsune Miku is clearly popular, judging by the hundreds of adoring fans in these videos, so there must be a place for a fake popstar.
But damn, is she a catgirl in this one? Yeah, this is just not for me...
Source: Singularity Hub