Hatsune Miku - Update

I've been writing a lot about Hatsune Miku, Vocaloid and NicoNicoDouga on this and my other blogs. I thought it might be good timing to do a recap.

Hatsune-Miku is a DTM (Desktop Music) software created by a company called Crypton Future Media(ja). It was released in 2007,and was the best selling DTM software then.(DTM software that sells 1,000 copies are supposed to be hit- Hatsune-Miku sold 30,000.) Its price is 15,000JPY.

Hatsune-Miku and the Vocaloid series (#1 was Hatsune Miku, #2 was Kagamine Rin & Len, #3 was Megurine Luca) created a completely new phenomena in Japan where people who had never created music (just listens or hums or sings in Karaoke etc) started creating original music using Hatsune-Miku. Just like what blogs did in text world, what Youtube did in video world, Hatsune-Miku opened up a possibility of "consumer generated music" market in Japan. Already 3 years have passed since its release, and the energy of the creators has not faded.

I wrote a blog post about the decline in the music industry in Japan here. One of the exceptions was Vocaloid.

"EXIT TUNES PRESENTS Vocalogenesis" (a music album created with Vocaloid software)was #1 for 5 days in a row on Oricon album daily ranking, and was #1 for the weekly sales ranking for the week of 2010/5/18~22.

This is the weekly ranking of a Karaoke company -JOYSOUND as of 2010/5/28.

Top 10 songs are:
1・3         anime
2・4・6・7・8・10   Vocaloid
5・9          Commercial music

Let's take a look at top 20:
14・16・17・19   anime
11・15・18      Vocaloid
12・13・20     Commercial music

Vocaloid series stimulated people’s creativity- not only did people create music, but people who heard the music started to draw amazing pictures, animes, and 3DCGs etc for the music. Some even created a free software to create 3DCG (MikuMikuDance).

A video clip explaining how to use MikuMikuDance:

An example of awesome video using MMD by WakamuraP

The reason why this happened owes largely on 1) the strategy of Crypton Future Media to use a cute character image as well as to use the voice of a famous anime voice actor (rather than just creating a DTM software), 2) Crypton's policy to open up the character (Miku) for the amateur creators to make parodies. You can't imagine Disney allowing people to create parodies of Mickey Mouse, Nintendo allowing people to create parodies of Pikachu, but that's what Crypton did. And they even created a website "Piapro" (ja) where people can upload their parodies. And the CEO of Crypton (Mr. Hiroyuki Ito) LOVES those derivative works.

-screenshot of Piapro website-

People talk about remix culture and parodies and mashups all around the world these days. Like adding this music and that or that anime and the other one, right? "Remix culture" we're talking about with Hatsune Miku is totally different. It's like a universe. The following chart is just a part of it- how one music video (a dot in the center which is this video "Mikku Miku Ni Shite Ageru") got remixed to numerous videos. And as you can imagine, this is just one exampe but there's lots of popular Miku songs like this so there's many more universes :)

Data source: Network Analysis of Massively Collaborative Creation of Multimedia Contents

Also, the great thing about this remix culture is that people provides their creatives with love, and people remixes them with love and respect for the creator, and they are creating positive cycles around creativity. The fact that the character is open for remix, most music created using Miku is open (and generally creators loves it when their music is remixed, sung, played with musical instruments, made into anime or other creatives- because it increases their views too.), and further remixes are generally welcomed. You don't have to worry about copyright infringement even though you are remixing a high quality content- that's a big benefit for creators!

Asahi Newspaper has been creating a bunch of videos to introduce Hatsune Miku to their audience.

This one covers overall aspects of Hatsune Miku.
"Vocaloid Hatsune Miku, the worlds virtual diva" (Japanese but has English subtitles)

This video covers one of the AWESOME video creators "Tripshots" who creates Hatsune Miku videos.
【Hatsune Miku】video creator・Tripshots~「Nebula」 (Japanese but has English subtitles)

If you're interested in watching more of Hatsune Miku videos, here's some more :)

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