VOCALOID – Virtual Singers in Your Computer

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VOCALOID is a company that has produced many voice synthesizing applications. These applications come in a variety of voices and languages. Since 2004, the fandom has become huge, spawning music, albums, concerts, and figurines.

Early Development

The company VOCALOID was founded by Hideki Kenmochi, who is also known as the “father” of VOCALOID. In 2000 he proposed the idea of a singing software but never considered selling the product. Most of the research during the early stages were done by the Pompeu Fabra University in Spain. At first, early VOCALOIDs could only say vowels like ai, meaning love in Japanese. The VOCALOIDs first real word was asa, meaning morning. The original target of VOCALOID was to make a replacement singer for a real vocalist. Reviews of the first VOCALOIDs, LEON and LOLA, noted that VOCALOID was a “good effort” as the human voice is complex to get perfect.

VOCALOID

VOCALOID, or V1 is known as the earliest version of the company. As the project started, YAMAHA Corporation became the main software developer of the company. At first, VOCALOID was not the original name of the project. At first it was dubbed “Elvis Project” due to the fact that each song needed a professional singer. Soon after the Elvis Project the company started on the Daisy Project, which got its name from the song Daisy Bell. Although the Elvis Project did not release any products, it did help establish phonetics and pitch range.

As the company started to get more advanced, and YAMAHA could only carry a few vocals, they started to reach out to 3rd party studios. Crypton Future Media became the first to reach out, followed by Zero-G and PowerFX. Through several copyright claims, the company decided on the name VOCALOID as an abbreviation of “vocal android”. KAITO and MEIKO were two VOCALOIDs originally recorded by YAMAHA, but KAITO got delayed a year and a half.  The first VOCALOIDs, LEON and LOLA, made their debut and initial release at the NAMM Show on January 15th, 2004. Many VOCALOIDs were made after the first debut such as, MIRIAM and MEIKO, which were later released to the public. Then it was the end of the VOCALOID era and on to a new era.

VOCALOID5

As VOCALOID expanded its company, we have seen many improvements with the software. As V2, V3, V4 of the company have past many new Voicebanks have been sold. Many popular VOCALOIDs that were released during those time periods were, Megurine Luka, Kagamine Len and Rin, Megpoid, improved versions of KAITO and MEIKO, and one of the most popular VOCALOIDs, Hatsune Miku. The fifth version of the company was hinted in late June 2018, to this day it is the latest version of the company. YAMAHAs new standard vocalists, Amy, Chris, Ken, and Kaori were released in 2 versions, standard and premium. Many of the V3 and V4 VOCALOIDs are still available on the original VOCALOID website.

 

https://www.vocaloid.com/

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA

Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA is a rhythm game created by Crypton Future Media and Sega. The Video game series is compatible with Playstation 3, Playstation 4, Playstation Potable, Nintendo Switch etc. The game series is the first video game to use VOCALOIDs. In April 2014 the franchise sold 1 million copies in Japan alone. By 2018 there have been over 6 million units sold.

Welcome to Akihabara (-Project DIVA- f)
“Welcome to Akihabara (-Project DIVA- f)” by wata1219 is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Miku Expo

Miku Expo is an international concert tour organized by Crypton Future Media. The concert revolves Hatsune Miku and other VOCALOIDs singing. Miku Expo is full of colorful lights and purchasable light sticks. Tickets are sold internationally so people of all kinds can come together and enjoy the same interests.

 

Hatsune Miku Nendoroid - 1
“Hatsune Miku Nendoroid – 1” by animaster is licensed under CC BY 2.0

The VOCALOID fandom has grown a lot since 2004. Cosplays, merchandise, concerts have all been made for this one company.

 

 

Related Stories

https://prezi.com/8j3y1eetmuvd/history-of-vocaloid/

https://daily.redbullmusicacademy.com/2014/11/vocaloid-feature

Hyperlinks

VOCALOID website: https://www.vocaloid.com/en/

Crypton: https://www.crypton.co.jp/cfm/project

Sonicwire: https://sonicwire.com/?lang=en

Miku Expo: https://mikuexpo.com/

Hatsune Miku Project DIVA: https://miku.sega.com/