A DCOM Throwback: An Introduction to Hatsune Miku, Japan's Digital Pop Princess

A few days ago, a coworker and I were having a conversation about Super Junior's "Mr Simple" video that won a few awards (and has garnered over 33 Million views), and she sent me a video that blew my mind. This video, embedded above, features Hatsune Miku, a fully digital Japanese pop star princess, created by Crypton Future Media, a company known for creating virtual singers.

Born on August 31th, 2007,  "HATSUNE MIKU" computer music software enables users to create synthesized singing of unprecedented quality and remarkable realism by just typing in lyrics and melody. The tech behind the phenomenon is powered by YAMAHA's VOCALOID2(= Vocal + Android) technology. The name of the character comes from a fusion of the Japanese for first (初 hatsu?), sound (音 ne?) and future (Miku (ミク?). Her voice is sampled from Japanese voice actress. Saki Fujita.

But what I really wanted to know is how Hatsune Miko's projection technology works, which seems to be a secret, as there is much discussion on boards trying to figure it out. However, an article describes it as being achieved by "a special method of rear projection against a semi-transparent screen."

Overall, the effect is pretty incredible if you ask me - so - if you're interested in purchasing some music from Hatsune Miku, a record in collaboration with supercell is available on iTunes -and has  5 star rating. One fan mentioned that "If you're new to Hatsune Miku, and you want to start getting her music on iTunes, I would definitely recommend getting this album first. It contains some of the essential Hatsune Miku songs that every fan ought to know."

But what ties this all together is it's similarity to a DCOM (Disney Channel Original Movie) titled Pixel Perfect. The movie is about a failing band called the Zettabytes, who leverage a friend's knowledge of technology to create a holographic lead singer, Loretta Modern. The band instantly becomes successful, but Samantha (the original lead singer) begins to feel alienated, Roscoe discovers feelings for Samantha, and Loretta struggles with individuality. The ties between the DCOM (released in 2004) and Hatsune Miku (launched in 2007) are incredible - way to go Disney Channel for being ahead of the curve.

What does this mean for the music industry and the intersection of digital and entertainment?