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postgraduate thesis: Playing with the voice : Hatsune Miku and vocaloid culture in contemporary Japan

TitlePlaying with the voice : Hatsune Miku and vocaloid culture in contemporary Japan
Authors
Issue Date2014
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Fu, K. F. [傅嘉雯]. (2014). Playing with the voice : Hatsune Miku and vocaloid culture in contemporary Japan. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5570811
AbstractVocaloids in Japan are at the nexus of home studio culture, manga dōjin derivative work culture and youth culture and is integral to post-millennial digital natives’ cultural life. Among the vast number of digital music production tools, no singing synthesis software has ever received as much public attention as Hatsune Miku. Apart from Miku’s ability to sing, the pairing of a fictional 16-year-old hologram idol with a music-production tool is unprecedented. Since 2007, the number of Miku-themed user-generated content (UGC) has continued to proliferate. Powered by Yamaha’s Vocaloid technology, Miku has achieved board commercial success in Japan and has captured the attention of musicians and the general public. Adopting a fresh perspective, this study places Miku in a wide cultural and technological context and asks: as a musical instrument, how is she marketed? What musical capabilities make her appealing to consumers from different market segments in Japan? Among various existing virtual singing software, what competitive advantages does she possess, and what circumstances foster the continued growth of Vocaloid user generated content from 2009 to 2014? What are the creative potentials of the software? What are the unique characteristics of Vocaloid user events and what constitute these events’ cultural ancestors? Building on ethnography and the study of software, this thesis argues that the proliferation of Vocaloid UGC is largely enabled by Miku’s 1) unprecedented adaptability to vocalize user-defined lyrics, 2) fluid textuality and re-purposability of the proprietary file format and 3) streamlined copyright management solutions tailored to the needs of Japan. It reveals how manufacturers reach their potential customers with unconventional advertising strategies and elucidates the parent-child relationship between manga dōjin derivative work culture and Vocaloid user-oriented music convention.
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
SubjectComputer music - Japan - History and criticism
Dept/ProgramMusic
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/219994
HKU Library Item IDb5570811

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorFu, Ka-man, Francis-
dc.contributor.author傅嘉雯-
dc.date.accessioned2015-10-08T23:12:18Z-
dc.date.available2015-10-08T23:12:18Z-
dc.date.issued2014-
dc.identifier.citationFu, K. F. [傅嘉雯]. (2014). Playing with the voice : Hatsune Miku and vocaloid culture in contemporary Japan. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5570811-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/219994-
dc.description.abstractVocaloids in Japan are at the nexus of home studio culture, manga dōjin derivative work culture and youth culture and is integral to post-millennial digital natives’ cultural life. Among the vast number of digital music production tools, no singing synthesis software has ever received as much public attention as Hatsune Miku. Apart from Miku’s ability to sing, the pairing of a fictional 16-year-old hologram idol with a music-production tool is unprecedented. Since 2007, the number of Miku-themed user-generated content (UGC) has continued to proliferate. Powered by Yamaha’s Vocaloid technology, Miku has achieved board commercial success in Japan and has captured the attention of musicians and the general public. Adopting a fresh perspective, this study places Miku in a wide cultural and technological context and asks: as a musical instrument, how is she marketed? What musical capabilities make her appealing to consumers from different market segments in Japan? Among various existing virtual singing software, what competitive advantages does she possess, and what circumstances foster the continued growth of Vocaloid user generated content from 2009 to 2014? What are the creative potentials of the software? What are the unique characteristics of Vocaloid user events and what constitute these events’ cultural ancestors? Building on ethnography and the study of software, this thesis argues that the proliferation of Vocaloid UGC is largely enabled by Miku’s 1) unprecedented adaptability to vocalize user-defined lyrics, 2) fluid textuality and re-purposability of the proprietary file format and 3) streamlined copyright management solutions tailored to the needs of Japan. It reveals how manufacturers reach their potential customers with unconventional advertising strategies and elucidates the parent-child relationship between manga dōjin derivative work culture and Vocaloid user-oriented music convention.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.subject.lcshComputer music - Japan - History and criticism-
dc.titlePlaying with the voice : Hatsune Miku and vocaloid culture in contemporary Japan-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5570811-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelMaster-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineMusic-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-

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