The problem with American pop stars is they have the almost predictable ability to go through that awkward train-wreck phase. Japanese pop star Hatsune Miku — who sells out concerts in hours — will never go through that phase. Hatsune will remain perfect, on time and in-step because she is a virtual creation.
The last time we checked in with Hatsune Miku, she was just getting started. Now she's a huge money-maker. Hatsune Miku just sold out four concerts in Tokyo last week with tickets going for 6,300 yen ($76) a pop. With 10,000 in attendance that's some payday for a virtual pop star.
So what's the big deal?
Hatsune Miku is an animated holographic 3D image that sings and dances with some serious sass. Check out the video below: there's no doubt she's got some serious pre-programmed moves and (to me) doesn't seem all that different from some big name, lip synched acts I've seen. (I won't name names.)
But the real attraction seems to be her status as a "vocaloid" — a singing synthesizer where a software program "creates" music by typing in lyrics and melody and is mixed together with existing vocal artists and sounds.
There are many vocaloids in Japan, but Hatsune Miku, created by Crypton Future Media, is the biggest. Fans develop a huge emotional connection to the vocaloids because users can actually create her hit songs. In fact, the ones from her concerts are the products of more than 20 people — both lyrically and vocally.
It's a pretty clever way to engage a fan base — by letting them lend their voice or lyrics anyway to their favorite star. In the words of one fan who flew all the way from Australia to attend the recent concerts:
"She gave a lot of people that didn't have a voice, a voice to express their feelings and thoughts," Daniel Noll told The Huffington Post.
And Noll wasn't the only one who gave their all to see their favorite hologram perform. Those who didn't get into the sold out shows gathered, some in costume, to watch in movie theater across Japan, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
Much of the fanfare could be due to the fact it was billed as one of her last performances, though she is said to be part of a popular vote to appear at the London Olympics.
Now that's some star power.