The lights dim and the crowd, silhouetted by a multicolored sea of glow sticks, explodes in applause. Japanese popstar Hatsune Miku beams onto stage. For the next two hours, we were transported into a futuristic world.

Hastune Miku is a 16-year-old girl from Sapporo, Japan with turquoise pigtails, a mesmerizing stage presence, and a voice that can move a stadium. If she sounds super-human, she is. Miku, as her fans call her, is a Vocaloid. She appears in concert as a hologram, her computer-synthesized voice singing songs crowdsourced from her worldwide fanbase. Using Yamaha’s Vocaloid, a voice synthesizing software, fans around the globeIMG_5626 (1) create Miku songs by simply inputting text and a melody. To date, thousands of people have used this unique technology to create more than 100,000 Miku songs. While on her 10-city North American tour, Team ObEN had the pleasure of experiencing the virtual diva at her LA stop.

Hatsune Miku's Los Angeles Concert
Hatsune Miku’s Los Angeles Concert

From the moment we walked in the theater, we were amongst a legion of diehard fans: girls in blue pigtail wigs, boys in Hatsune Miku t-shirts, and anime costumes everywhere in between. People of all ages and ethnicities packed the venue, including families in coordinated costumes. One of the fans told us they saved their allowance for months to purchase VIP tickets to experience their virtual idol close up. Miku performed for 2 straight hours, at times rapping at turbo speeds, never breaking to catch her non-human breath. Like every pop diva she had plenty of costume changes– only hers happened in the blink of an eye. At times her Vocaloid friends joined her for duets, dancing in perfect unison. Unbound by human restrictions, she made sure to showcase her limitless talents. The entire experience was surreal and surprisingly entertaining.

Though Vocaloids like Hatsune Miku have not yet broken into the mainstream US music scene, they have been a mainstay in Japanese music for nearly a decade. Vocaloid’s voice synthesis technology is transforming the way music is being made. It’s unlocking barriers and opening doors to a new kind of artist, allowing everyday people a chance to create songs that millions will love, without having to hire singers or sing themselves.

Imagine if you could take Miku’s computer-synthesized songs and add your own voice layers? Inspired by this futuristic wave in music, that’s exactly what ObEN’s technology has made possible. ObEN’s voice conversion technology provides you with an additional layer of musical freedom. In just 2-3 minutes, ObEN’s technology captures your unique voiceprint and reproduces your speaking and singing voices. Our technology gives you the power to sing, and sing well. Think of it as the next generation of auto-tune, taking voice synthesizing further through the use of artificial intelligence and deep learning to truly capture and enhance the sound of your voice.

Hatsune Miku offers a glimpse of what the future of music may look like, where technology blurs the lines of musical fiction and reality.

About the Author: Sho Guo is Director of Marketing at ObEN

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ObEN is an artificial intelligence company that creates complete virtual identities for consumers and celebrities in the emerging digital world. ObEN provides Personal AI that simulates a person’s voice, face and personality, enabling never before possible social and virtual interactions. Founded in 2014, ObEN is a Softbank Ventures Korea and HTC Vive X portfolio company and is located at Idealab in Pasadena, California.