Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Bring back the Pet Rock

By J. Thomas Duffy 

When they get around to making the Idiocracy sequel, this has got to find its way into the script.

On July 4th, while many where camped out on blankets, or stuck in traffic, awaiting the evening's display of incendiary pop, I was doing some work, and had the radio on, only stopping, mouth agape, to shake my head in disbelief, when this report came on.

It was from PRI's "The World": 

Digital Pop Star Hatsune Miku’s First Live Concert 

This weekend, one of the hottest tickets in Los Angeles was to a concert by Japanese pop culture icon Hatsune Miku. She’s a big persona but not a flesh-and-blood person. And her sold-out show, “Mikunopolis,” marked her debut in the US.


But Miku is neither animal nor human. She’s a virtual “singer” whose only appearance on stage is as a life-like 3D hologram. She’s what you’d call a Vocaloid — basically the consumer-friendly interface for sophisticated voice-synthesizing software.


Vocaloid was spawned far from the shores of LA. Hideki Kenmochi developed Vocaloid at Yamaha Corp. in Japan; then a host of other companies created characters and voices — like Miku, whose parent is Crypton Future Media — that give Vocaloid technology a more human range.


The Vocaloid process does for singing what a keyboard synthesizer does for pianos. In the Vocaloid scene, this means a gifted songwriter may not have to rely as much on their own pipes or looks. But despite the sold-out concert in LA, the Vocaloid style is still an acquired taste, most popular among early cultural adopters in Japan

“According to our research,” Kenmochi says, “eight percent of female teenagers listen to only Vocaloid music. That’s amazing statistics.” 

(Go here to listen to the podcast.) 

Sold-out show? Shrieking fans?

Over a synthesized 3-D hologram?

Even Woody Allen, in his 1973 futuristic Sleeper, didn't dream of such dreck.

Give me a F'ing break?

With all the music, hundreds-upon-hundreds-of-thousands, made by real, live human beings, available (an entire second argument on if it's good or bad), across a multitude of genres, and people are actually going gaga over, as the article ends, "partying in a concert-sized video game"?

Didn't Denzel Washington and Russel Crowe do this before? 

Help Me Mister Wizard! 

Methinks this audience would be prime to bring back the Pet Rock as well. 

Wait ... wait ... 

Even better... a synthesized 3-D hologram Pet Rock!


Bonus Riffs 

Adam Frank:  Rise Of The Machines: Japanese Popstar A Computer Construct

Pop Star Turns Out To Be Computer Generated 

Jena Isle:  Aimi Eguchi and Hatsune Miku: Japan’s Computer-Generated Pop Stars Gain Millions of Fans; Miku has Upcoming Debut in Los Angeles

Idiocracy - trailer 

Idiocracy Brawndo's Got Electrolytes

Idiocracy, the Sequel 

(Cross-posted at The Garlic.)

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  • Well, there's also a large audience in Japan for hentai -- animated porn. So this seems only fitting.

    By Blogger Steve M., at 7:45 AM  

  • So much hate over a subject you just heard about.
    First time I discovered it, I had the same reaction "... What the hell? Paying to go to a concert of a fake singer?"
    I looked into it and understood the real reasons for the appeal. So if, you too, wish just to know why the concert was sold out in the US, I can redirect you to an article on it I made. I wrote it so that anyone can comprehend the all virtual singer stuff and not just think "what the f***, bunch of crazy lowlife people".
    It's just an explanation on how I discovered it and why we should see what's really behind. Not trying to convert. Just removing the grey areas.

    Here is the link : Hatsune Miku : Talent Ambassador
    I did 2 others but the first one is plenty enough to better grasp the whole virtual singer idea. If after the 1st one, you are less hateful towards it, you can check another article on what could awaits in the next years : Vocaloid's Future : The missing link in Music Creation

    I'm here to help if you have questions.

    PS : I am not a hardcore fan like plenty others. I just find the subject very interesting.

    By Blogger Ikelepte, at 11:30 AM  

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