Meet Hatsune Miku: a 16-year-old pop idol with throngs of avid of followers, chart-topping albums, and oodles of fan sites.
Developed by Crypton Future Media, Hatsune is a singing synthesizer application (using voice samples of actors) that customers can purchase and program to perform any song on their computer.
Ok, I can see the appeal of this. Remember that application where you could download that purple gorilla and it would say whatever you typed in this delightful robot-voice? It was great for prank calls and recording voicemail messages. Remember that? Hello?
Um, anyway, as much as I loved my purple gutter-mouthed gorilla, I’m not sure I would pay money to go see it talk jive in front of a live audience. Which is what thousands of Hatsune’s fans did, armed to the teeth with glowsticks to boot:
This brings up so many questions: What makes a superstar? Does a pop idol have to be a real person? But she has a real backing band! Is she really a musician? Or is it her programmers?
Or is it fan devotion that makes a superstar? By idolizing someone they can program themselves, are fans vicariously living out their hero worship fantasies through her? Are avatars better because they won’t get too drunk to perform or forget their own lyrics? Are J-Pop fans just insane?
It makes my head hurt. Gonna go listen to some Gorillaz. The band, not the app. Wait, what?