Virtual Singers Empowered by Machine Learning

Virtual Singers Empowered by Machine Learning

Siyao Li, Haoyu Liu, Pi-Ying Yen
Copyright: © 2023 |Pages: 8
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-9220-5.ch020
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Combining emerging technology with entertainment, virtual singers empowered by machine learning are a relatively new but booming industry. The article introduces the application of machine learning in music, especially how machine learning is used to create the virtual singer industry. Though this industry is attractive and has already achieved significant success, it also faces considerable challenges. This article contributes to understanding the novel virtual singer industry, as well as providing suggestions on how to resolve the challenges it faces. Future research directions about virtual singers are also discussed.
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One of the most successful virtual singers globally is Hatsune Miku from Japan, who represents a benchmark in the virtual singer area. She won many fans after her debut in 2007 (Liang, 2020), and the song “Tell Your Word”, featuring her, ranked first on Japan's iTunes in 2012. Notably, Hatsune Miku is also the first virtual singer to use holographic projection technology to hold concerts: Using a computer-generated voice and 3D graphics, she performs like a real person on the stage. Hatsune Miku performed her first concert in 2009 at Japan's Saitama Super Arena (Corey, 2011). As her influence has increased all over the world, she has started to hold concerts overseas. In 2018, she held her first live concert tour in Europe, Hatsune Miku Expo 2018 Euro.

In recent years, more and more virtual singer groups have been emerging in Korea. Aespa, introduced by SM Entertainment and debuting in 2020, is the first girl group to bring the machine learning concept to K-pop (Rowley, 2020). Their latest single song “Next Level” has caught enormous attention. The song was released on 17 May 2021 and entered at Number 33 on the Billboard K-Pop 100 chart, peaking at Number 2 and staying in the top five for weeks (Billboard, 2021). If Hatsune Miku marked the successful emergence of the virtual singer industry, then Aespa has continued this success and is pushing the industry to new heights.

Asia has been the most developed region for the virtual singer industry so far (Chia, 2021). Outside Japan and South Korea, China is also a market of tremendous potential. The latest rising virtual singer is Luo Tianyi, the first virtual singer to make a profit in China. She has attracted hordes of young fans in China, as indicated by her 5 million followers on Weibo. Her songs appear in various advertisements, and the Chinese state-controlled broadcaster has invited her to perform in the New Year's Gala. Luo Tianyi is undoubtedly a great hit in China's virtual singer industry.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Copyright: Protection of the intellectual property of original works.

Data Mining: Extraction of patterns in datasets.

Entertainment Industry: Businesses that provide people pleasure.

Artificial Intelligence: Simulation of human thinking and actions by machines.

Machine Learning: Artificial intelligence that allows machines to improve automatically.

Big Data: Datasets that are in large volume and high variety.

Virtual Singer: A singer who is not a human being but a virtual character.

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