About Hatsune Miku
Hatsune Miku - Virtual pop star of the future
Hatsune Miku, codenamed CV01, is the name of a Vocaloid voicebank's personification, a 16-year-old girl with long, turquoise twintails. Miku debuted in August 2007 for the Vocaloid 2 engine. She was the seventh Vocaloid ever and the first Japanese Vocaloid to be both developed and distributed by Crypton Future Media, Inc. The name of the character is composed of the Japanese kanji for first (hatsu), sound (ne) and future (miku), which combine to mean "the first sound of the future," referring to her position as the first of Crypton's Character Vocal Series. Hatsune Miku's voicebank is provided by Japanese voice actress Saki Fujita.
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Hatsune Miku is a Vocaloid. Originally, "Vocaloid" referred to a singing voice synthesizer software, but the trademark has since been used in the names of other commercial products. The software uses pre-recorded voicebanks of voice actors or singers to allow consumers to create synthesized singing by typing in lyrics and melodies. A wide range of voicebanks have been released for use with the Vocaloid synthesizer technology. Each is sold as "a singer in a box," designed to replace the role of an actual singer within a song's composition. The voicebanks have associated avatars that are also referred to as Vocaloids. Vocaloids are often marketed as virtual idols, with some even performing at live concerts as an on-stage projection.
Crypton had the idea to release Miku as "an android diva in the near-future world where songs are lost. She was the third Vocaloid to be sold commercially by the company, following their release of Yamaha Corporation-developed vocals Meiko and Kaito. Vocaloid was a cultural hit in Japan, with Hatsune Miku gaining instant success as the face of the brand. In September 2007, Amazon Japan reported Hatsune Miku sales totaling over 57 million yen, making her the number one selling software of that time. Crypton reportedly sold 40,000 Hatsune Miku units by July 2008 at an average of 300 units per week. By January 2011, sales had climbed to 60,000 units. In March 2012, the Nomura Research Institute estimated that the sales of all Hatsune Miku goods produced in the five years since her release added up to around 10 billion yen.
The original purpose of Hatsune Miku's English version was to allow Japanese producers to break into the Western market and expand their audiences. In 2011, Crypton introduced Miku in the United States by releasing a preview of her hit song "World is Mine" as a single on Amazon. When the song finally went on sale, it ranked seventh on the Worldwide iTunes Song Chart within its first week. Even with the addition of other Character Vocals, Miku continues to be used as Crypton Future Media's primary marketing tool. This is evidenced by the fact that most Vocaloid-related products feature only Hatsune Miku's name. She is easily the most recognizable of all Vocaloids and has gone on to make countless appearances in other media around the world.