Sunday, January 15, 2012

Vocaloid: The Fan Phenomenon

AnimeLA was some of the most fun I have had at a convention. Mainly because I usually go to conventions as 'work' as an exhibitor so going to one 'for fun' is bound to be more fun than working one. I was able to attend a bunch of panel and "Vocaloid: The Fan Phenomenon " was one of them.

Vocaloid: The Fan Phenomenon
Presented by Russell Chou & Derek Chou
January 7 2012 @ Anime Los Angeles 8

Synopsis: What is vocaloid?  No, not just the software, but the whole ecosystem that has become “Vocaloid”.  How did it come to be, and what will become of it?

I will be honest with you: I expected the worst and in the end it was not bad. Sure we giggled a bit at his 'English Websites' slide, and disagreed a bit about music monetization, overall it was a pretty good overview on Vocaloid, as a fandom.

For the most part he focuses near exclusively on Crypton Future Media & the Crypton-loid. I don't blame him since the focus was on the "fan phenomenon" and the fandom very much revolves around the Crypton-loids. He wasn't totally ignorant of the others, even name dropped the Engloids & UTAU a bit, but Crypton seemed the focus of the panel.

Even though he focused on the fandom he drew particular attention to Vocaloid as a software, and various producers behind many of the most popular songs. He even covered oft overlooked but very important aspects of the fandom like the 'doujin culture' and the 'fan works' concepts.

He also drew attention to the 'perfect storm' of things going on that helped make Miku a success. Pointed out the early adoption by people who would later become 'pro' producers, the timing & importance of Nico Nico Douga's founding in December of 2006 and how NND & Vocaloid would grow together, till Vocaloid gets an entire section dedicated to it on the site.

Probably the most controversial thing Russell brought up was his section on "Commercial Adoption" (18:55) where he went into PiaPro, creation of KarenT and other labels, and the commercialization of arts and music, a topic he would return to multiple times throughout the panel.

Props to Russell for also covering, albeit briefly, not just the Engloids, but the Spanish, Korean, and Chinese versions of the software as well. He also didn't forget about the other JP-loids and really spread the Gumi love at one point.

In conclusion...
With the panel's title in mind it wasn't terrible at all. It focused on the fan perspective, and while not overly useful for the experienced fans, it is certainly informative to the casual fan or random convention attendee.

For those interested Russell has given me a copy of the slides he used. You can find the slides, along with a timeline of the video after the jump.

Presentation Slides

Video Timeline

I also included some links for the various topics discussed where Russell couldn't go into detail due to panel time constraints.

0:00 Vocaloid Introduction
0:05 Vocaloid 1 (2003)
0:23 Vocaloid 2 (2006)
0:39 Vocaloid 3 (2011)
0:58 Vocaloid by Crypton Future Media
1:50 Vocaloid 2: Character Vocal Series
2:21 Append
2:42 Vocaloid Ecosystem
4:25 Weekly Vocaloid Ranking
4:51 How did Hatsune Miku become famous?
5:07 Ievan Polkka
6:25 [video link]
7:23 Miku Miku Ni Shite Ageru
7:52 [video link]
10:01 supercell/ryo
10:41 Melt [video link]
13:03 Love is War, BRS, World is Mine
13:24 Comiket
14:39 A C G (Anime, Comics, & Games)
15:32 Nico Nico Douga
17:05 Fan Following Ensues
17:12 [MMD] Videos/Dancing/Animation
17:42 Fanmade Vocaloids
18:03 Character Items
18:55 Commercial Adoption
19:07 PiaPro (ピアプロ)
20:05 KarenT (Music)
20:33 Music Labels
20:56 Music CDs
21:28 Project DIVA
22:06 Black Rock Shooter
23:02 Miku "Live" Concerts
24:22 Mikupa 2011 Live
24:39 Vocaloid Across the World
24:43 Sales, America = Japan
25:11 "1st US Screen Debut"
25:32 Miku FB Reaches 39,390 Fans
26:22 Toyota Corolla x Hatsune Miku
27:00 Anime Expo Miku Live
27:43 The Impact of Vocaloid
27:53 Doujin -> Commercial
30:00 -P is for Producer
30:39 Too Much Commercialization?
32:36 What's in the Future?
32:39 Vocaloid 3
33:29 Upcoming Projects
34:40 English Websites
35:35 Thanks & Contact Info
Q&A Section - Annotations for Questions in Video

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