Hatsune Miku is a world renowned pop star. Having done live concerts internationally and she’s been officially featured in an estimated total of 1,764 songs and 977 albums.
She’s sung music of almost each and every genre, and her “net worth” is approximately between $2.3K and $3K.
But the thing about Hatsune Miku that sets her apart from all the other pop stars out there in every which way, is that she isn’t real!
Hatsune Miku is a singing voice synthesizing software developed by Crypton Future Media, with a voice based from Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita. A software that exists for the purpose of providing a singing voice that can be manipulated by anyone who owns the software. Essentially, she’s an electronic vocal simulator, based on a human voice. And given the image of an anime girl for marketability.
Approximately 6 million copies of the Miku Vocaloid software have been sold worldwide. Earning a total of approximately $120 Million+ USD (both in software sales and music).
With that many copies sold you can expect that there’d be a lot of songs created with her voice, and you’d be right! “Officially”, she has around 1,764 songs, but that’s not even counting the “unofficial”. If you count every song ever posted, you’d have a number closer to 100,000. And after the release of her english version, her international availability skyrocketed, only causing her numbers to increase.
Of course, Miku isn’t the only Vocaloid, but she is the most popular. Other popular vocaloids created by Crypton Future media include Rin&Len (a duo), Luka, Kaito, and Meiko. They often accompany Miku during her concerts, and perform songs of their own.
Despite the fact that Miku isn’t real, she has performed at live concerts worldwide.
Now how might a computer program perform “live” if she isn’t real? Well, with top of the line holographic technology, Crypton has made it possible for Miku to hold live concerts where she performs several of her more popular songs. Each of her animations for every concert are uniquely created by animators, so that no two concerts are the same.
From the perspective of the average individual, this would all look extremely strange. Large amounts of people celebrating an artist that isn’t actually real. But Miku’s fanbase is vast and very dedicated, and when looking at how her songs are created, it becomes a bit more clear as to exactly why that is.
All of her songs, save for a few, are produced by independent artists who own the Vocaloid software. While there are a ton of legal troubles, especially when we get into the huge kerfuffle that is software piracy, Crypton has developed a fairly solid system for content produced by fans, by having a website dedicated to fan/customer creations.
A fanmade song can become “official” and even used in concerts if it’s popular enough, and meets certain standards.
With that in mind, this means that theoretically, anybody who owns the software has the potential of producing a song that gets officially recognised by Crypton. Because of this, a very strong community has been formed amongst Miku’s fanbase, since a majority of the people producing her music are also her fans.
A wonderful example of Miku’s closely knit community would be when the popular music artist Wowaka, who was largely known for the songs he created using Hatsune Miku, passed away from heart failure at a young age. Both fans of Wowaka and Miku all around the world made memorials and tributes to him.
Even Crypton themselves during the 2020 Miku expo in London paid tribute to Wowaka. When Miku performed “Rolling Girl”, a song produced by Wowaka, it was preceded by a message thanking Wowaka, and the crowd can be heard chanting his name.
Then during her performance she was given the same model and animation that she had during her very first performance of the song.
With a community as interconnected as this, it isn’t difficult to see why Miku’s popularity is as immense as it is. Miku, and Vocaloid in general, is quite possibly one of the most interactive pieces of modern technology ever. With pretty much her entire image being built from the ground up by the community. Crypton Future Media are the ones who made the technology, but it’s the fans and individual producers that made Hatsune Miku who she is today. Not just a virtual pop star, but an interactive one.