“It’s like being on Willy Nelson’s bus,” quips a clearly confused David Letterman after watching the bizarre performance of Japanese Pop star, Hatsune Miku, affectionately called Miku by fans, on his show.
Hold on to something because Hatsune Miku, the artist that rocked the Japanese entertainment industry, does not really exist. She’s the world’s first virtual pop star and her debut in the US illustrates how far Miku has come, literally and figuratively.
Most media outlets mistake Miku for a hologram but she ain’t, the technology behind it, called Pepper’s Ghost, is far less complex than that.
Miku is a 2D image rendered on the stage using mirrors. This technique has been used many times, often in Disney movies.
Although most critics are confused over Miku’s meteoric rise to popularity, one thing is for sure, people love her despite knowing she doesn’t exist at all.
Miku started out as a mascot for a voice synthesizing software by Crypton Future Media. The software was released in 2007 and as per Japanese tradition; a mascot is part of the product launch. And for Crypton Future Media’s newest product, Miku, a 16 year old aspiring pop star is the perfect mascot.
They called her Hatsune Miku, a name that translates to “first sound of the future.” Nobody at Crypton foresaw how much of a sensation she would be in the local entertainment biz and beyond.
Apart from opening for Lady Gaga, Miku seems to be materializing everywhere from cartoons to real concerts.
And like any pop star worth her salt, Miku performs in her own concerts too.
After seeing Miku’s potentials, Crypton started building a franchise around her. Or it. Users who are utilizing the software write all of Miku’s songs. Most of her music videos are work of fans as well. That’s the real innovation behind Miku’s whole persona.
Just like most Japanese pop songs, Miku’s songs are often energetic, colorful and dare we say, catchy? Check out her performance on the David Letterman show and tell us what you think: