When it comes to singing, those who can – do. And those who can’t? They use complicated Japanese voice synthesizing software to create smash pop hits.
Hatsune Miku is a 15 year-old singer with striking green hair and a hypnotic voice. Her songs have topped Japan’s musical charts and some singles have been downloaded more than 56,000 times. And one more thing: she’s fictional.
Vocaloid is voice-synthesizing software created by Kenmochi Hideki and marketed by Crypton Future Media & Yamaha. And Hatsune Miku is the poster child. Users simply plug in lyrics and a melody, and the software does the rest. You can add effects and alter tone and choose from among 5 languages.
The vocals are pre-recorded compilations of actors and singers. Over 40,000 copies of the software sold in Japan alone, resulting in the creation of thousands of songs and a giant Vocaloid convention held four times a year in Tokyo. One politician even tried to use Hatsune Miku’s likeness in an advertising campaign during an election.
Here is how this could be awesome: it’s a good resource for a musician who can’t sing but who still wants to produce songs, the software is already being used by some top Japanese bands for backing vocals, and it could potentially perfectly preserve a singer’s voice forever.
Here is how this could be horrible: what’s to stop someone from using Vocaloid to resurrect the voice of a dead singer? Why not make Johnny Cash sing “Hit Me Baby One More Time.”