Music is what life sounds like ~ Eric Olson
Culture is the sum of all the forms of art, of love, and of thought, which, in the course of centuries, have enabled man to be less enslaved ~ Andre Malraux
Generally speaking, I think most people like new experiences and would love to be introduced to the "next big thing." It wouldn’t matter if that next big thing were cinema, a new restaurant, an actor or a musician. But, in this case, I suspect that many people — especially self-professed music lovers — will be quite disturbed by what I am going to introduce to you today. Indeed, some people will find today’s introduction upsetting.
That is, everyone excepting teenagers; they will go crazy over this.
Why? Because you’ve never met anyone like the person I want to introduce you to today. If the plans laid out for this person come to fruition then something truly frightening is heading our way in the form of a cultural and social revolution.
Move over Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson, roll over Beethoven; the next superstar of music has been born and she is going to revolutionize the way we think about music and ourselves… And, no, I am not talking about Lady Gaga. "Artists" like Lady Gaga will pale in comparison to the cultural impact that this lady will bring.
The artist that I wish to introduce today will not only reshape our culture, she is also going to reshape the music business and music publishing for decades to come, perhaps even for centuries.
In one-hundred years from now, when artists like Lady Gaga, Madonna, Britney Spears, even the Beatles are long since forgotten, I suspect today’s artist, or her prodigy, will still be going strong. Big claims? Read on.
Even though this artist is unknown in the west, many of her videos on YouTube have well over a million views. Some over two million! That’s not bad for someone who has no recording contract and is only three years old.
Very well done for someone who is not even human.
Meet Hatsune Miku. She is the next generation of superstar musician. Hatsune Miku is Japanese; but she is not a woman. She is not even a human; Hatsune Miku is an android. You read correctly. The next superstar of music is not of flesh and bones.
This is the far-flung future and it’s already happening today.
Hatsune means "first sound" and Miku means "music" or "future." Get it? Hatsune Miku means, "The First Sound of Music’s Future." She is called a "Vocaloid." She is a voice synthesizer… In fact, many of the numbers she does feature her voices as instrumentation as a sort of Science Fiction a cappella. She is a synthesized vocal device that was developed by Yamaha Corporation of Japan.
Here is what Wikipedia says about "Vocaloid":
Hatsune Miku was "born" August 31, 2007 and she is being touted as the next superstar of music. She does everything and is the embodiment of everything that pop music aspires to be.
She can sing, compose music, play all instruments and doesn’t need an agent or a manager. She is the ultimate rock star. She is the ultimate Pop Idol. And she doesn’t even really exist. See one of "her" videos here.
This will revolutionize advertising, the music industry and, in turn, our culture and society.
I know it is difficult for most of us to get our heads around a concept like Hatsune Miku. She is not a cartoon with a human singing. The voice and music are 100% synthesized. The "creator" inputs lyrics into the device keyboard, uploads it, and then others can add animations, alterations, and score from anywhere in the world. So, regardless of what it sounds like, there are no human vocals here. This is a robot singing.
Is this still difficult to understand? Maybe it’s easier to understand if I explain this way: Do you remember the girl named Rachel in the movie Blade Runner? Well, I write, "girl" but was Rachel really a woman or was she an android? Do you remember, at the end of the movie, thinking, "Wait a minute, is Rachel human?" I did.
Well, that’s what I think when I hear Hatsune Miku "sing."
Hatsune Miku is causing a sensation now in Japan and in Europe, especially France, where her songs have been picked up and are covered by real-life musicians. Some of the most bizarre stuff is on karaoke in Japan too!
The cultural impact of Hatsune Miku cannot be overstated. This is a real revolution in music. If real humans playing instruments in the traditional sense, since the dawn of time, were to be considered Music 1.0, then perhaps we would think of remix DJ’s sampling music as Music 2.0. Then, maybe we could take the logical progression one step further, and consider Vocaloid music or Hatsune Miku as Music 3.0.
The impact of Hatsune Miku and soon to be coming "artists" like her will surely change the world as we know it.
Of course there will be "musicians" who will scoff at what I have written here as nonsense, but mark my words; Hatsune Miku is a music revolution that is coming your way very soon. If you are a musician, take heed of what I’ve written here, and be ready to embrace it.
Hatsune Miku has several videos on YouTube. Some even have over two million views.
If it is any consolation, I guess Hatsune Miku probably does have some things in common with most of today’s pop Diva’s; she doesn’t bother to brush her hair nor even wake up in the mornings either.
But, at least, it doesn’t seem like Hatsune Miku has an attitude or drug problem.
Mike (in Tokyo) Rogers [send him mail] was born and raised in the USA and moved to Japan in 1984. He is the president of an Internet & Cross Media advertising/marketing agency and a media production company named Universal Vision. He writes about marketing, the Internet and Social Media at the Modern Marketing Japan blog. His book, Schizophrenic in Japan, went on sale in 2005.