This column traces the birth of a new music scene called “Vtuber music” to the present. Following the first part focusing on the events of 2018, which is the beginning of the scene, the second part will explain the background of Vtuber’s music scene activation based on the events that occurred from 2019 to 2021. The rise of Vtubers called “individuals” in the shadow of big news that digs into the mainstream of music, such as belonging to major labels and appearing in large-scale live events, and further removing “being virtual” Following the footsteps of Vtuber’s revitalization of the music scene, such as the appearance of artists seeking to express the form of going back and forth between real and virtual.
2019 to cut into the mainstream
From 2018 to 2019, Vtuber’s music scene continued to expand at an accelerating pace as Kizuna AI expanded the possibilities of “music x virtual” while establishing collaborations with various producers. A lot of news was reported that Vtuber will cut into the mainstream of music from the beginning of the year, such as an appearance at Kaguya Luna’s music festival “SACRA MUSIC FES.2019 -NEW GENERATION-” and Tokino Sora’s major debut. From 2019, rather than increasing the number of Vtuber fans, such as selling with a focus on live performances, the movement to acquire fans through music more outward will be conspicuous. It became difficult to follow music news alone, and from around this time, I got the impression that a new fan base called “Vtuber’s music fans”, which was neither in the context of Nico Nico Douga nor in the context of VR culture, emerged.
From 2019, the stance of releasing songs to commemorate the number of subscribers and the anniversary of the activity has taken root, and artists who are active in the stance called “V singer” will emerge. Among Vtubers who engage in a wide variety of talent activities such as live games and chat distribution, there is a tendency to call distributors who specialize in music as V singers, Yuni, Aoi Fuji, and the already famous Vtuber around Kashiko Mari are V. Became the first singer. In addition, new artists such as AZKi, Kyo Hanabasami, KAF, and Cocoa Domyoji will be listed as V singers. It was around 2019 that Vtuber feature articles began to be published in music media such as music Natalie, and users did not listen to Vtuber’s singing videos by posting “I tried to sing” or cutting out song distribution. You can now listen to V singer songs on subscription services and CDs.
Following the flow of 2018, the music scene of Vtuber 2019 will follow a dizzying year. Vtuber’s music scene has developed rapidly, with events such as real life and VR live holdings, new song distribution and album releases, appearances at large festivals, and major debuts announced on a monthly basis. Major events include the birth of Nijisanji’s 1st-anniversary song “Virtual to LIVE”, the first Hololive live “hololive 1st fes.” Nonstop Story “, and appearance at Kizuna AI’s “Samasoni 2019”. Big news, which is comparable to the scale of activities of real artists, was delivered in rapid successions, such as a total of 40 million yen in support for cloud funding related to the live performance of Hanafuku.
Although Kizuna AI has been at the forefront of the scene since the dawn, Vtuber groups such as Nijisanji and Hololive have been strengthening, and it is also around this time that KAF crosses the boundaries of culture as an artist and attracts attention. .. The flow of producing original songs as a weapon for other Vtubers to get to know themselves is rapidly developing. Until then, I had the impression that there was a curse-like culture that no one had set as “Vtuber should be like this” due to the flow of distribution, games, and music as an entertainer, but in that situation, it was part of the musical expression. The rapid increase in the number of people starting Vtuber seemed to be a sign that the music scene would later rise.
The appearance of composition Vtuber
In the scene where artists tend to pay attention, the existence of multi-creators like Midi who will be active as “composer Vtuber” will start to stand out in 2019. Producing activities within the same industry, such as the joint project “Yoshina Project” by Midi and Jiefu (currently Miori Ehara), became active, and it was a pioneer in the formation of individual groups and music project activity styles that would later show excitement. It became one.
Same no Poki formed a unit called “Else and Same no Poki” with Else in the style of writing and composing songs and also acting as a vocalist. Not limited to music production and singing, Vtuber will increase to follow all creative aspects such as MV production in the unit and express everything from music to presentation in the original.
In addition, AZKi developed songs in two patterns, “AZKi WHiTE” and “AZKi BLaCK”, and showed a wider range of presentations. Kizuna AI, who laid the foundation of the activity form of “Sound Producer x Vtuber”, will not be pulled by everything, but Vtuber will have a presence in 2019 with its own way of showing. As the range of genres expands, Kizuna AI has released songs with Dutch DJ unit W & W, MonsterZ MATE’s major debut, Vtuber’s first compilation album “IMAGINATION vol.1”, and Vtuber’s music indie label.・ Events that pioneered the scene, such as the launch of Volume UP, were also developed in parallel.
Starting a big project and making a leap forward for individuals
In 2020, the number of Vtubers will exceed 10,000. The production and distribution of the original songs remained unchanged, but the number of real live performances decreased due to the influence of the new coronavirus. It’s not limited to Vtuber, but a kind of trial-like phenomenon that each person thinks and expresses what can be done in a situation where live performances are not enough will occur in the entire music scene. After January 2020, when the live business by Vtuber was about to be established, the planned real-live was canceled or postponed or changed to a non-audience life, and it is not possible to do 100% of what you wanted to do. Will continue for over a year. Meanwhile, high-quality works such as somunia “nearby”, Hoshino Mea (currently MaiR) “START !!”, Rain Drops “Synesthesia”, and Marpril “city hop” were distributed throughout the year. Perhaps by 2019, the foundation of Vtuber’s music scene had already been formed. From 2018 to 2019, the activities of Vtubers who released original songs all over the place gradually became calm, and Vtuber who clearly specialized in music, and Vtuber who released songs as part of the activity A line is born, and fans are divided accordingly. It can be said that the “Vtuber Music Awards” that has been held since 2019 also influenced the establishment of music fans in the new scene of Vtuber music.
While the bad news is flying around due to the influence of the new coronavirus, in 2020, HACHI of RK Music, Rim of KAMITSUBAKI STUDIO, Harusaruhi, Isekaijoucho, Koko, Virtual Girls Group VALIS, Yori Matsunaga of RIOT MUSIC Many artists who are still active on the front lines of the scene, such as Ori, Yuka Nagase, Ryona Nagihara, and the virtual undead unit BOOGEY VOXX, have made their debut as of 2022. While the new birth is shining, there is a surprise that KAF and Kizuna AI will announce a collaboration single provided by Enon Kawatani, and RIM “Eating Bug Plant” will be a mega-hit triggered by Tik Tok, etc. Vtuber had a significant influence on the whole.
In a situation where actual live performances are not possible, Vtuber appeared in “Virtual TIF” in “TOKYO IDOL FESTIVAL Online 2020”, and a total of 67 Vtubers appeared in an event. Called “Esuri.” Fusion with festivals also became a hot topic. In addition, the character project Denonbu will start in 2020. The Denonbu is not mainly Vtuber content, but members such as Nijisanji’s Kana Sukoya, Sister Claire, and Sara Hoshikawa are in charge of the unit, closely related to virtual as a way to show the content. It’s a project.
While many big projects are being released worldwide, the leap of creators who do not belong to individuals or companies will also be swirling. Music lovers have supported it for a long time, but it wasn’t until 2020 that it got more attention than before. With the advent of BOOGEY VOXX, attention will intensify at once. However, it may be more appropriate to say that the environment and atmosphere allow free music to be played around BOOGEY VOXX, rather than the musicality of the individual. The compilation album “Box in the back ∀lley” (released in September 2020), in which individuals and creators participated, clearly shows the atmosphere of trying to do what they like with their friends. In music culture, it is completely free for individuals to release what kind of music. Still, those who are not familiar with the culture of Vtuber appear in Vtuber and trends that made their major debut when learning about the image and rules for culture. I often get information by looking at the Vtuber. Under such circumstances, the hurdles to enter culture as a place of expression of music will naturally go down by the appearance of individual music being played as they like. From this time on, music will be started as an individual musician. I saw and felt a large number of people.
The diversifying way of “V.”
In 2021, due to the influence of Corona, the real-life and club scenes did not function satisfactorily throughout the year. It was also a year when the diversity of Vtuber culture for music was expanding. Large-scale festivals and auditions for music Vtuber are held constantly, and Nijisanji and Hololive will ultimately lead the entire Vtuber culture. In terms of music, Mito Tsukino’s “Moon Rabbits Dream of Virtual Dreams” (1st album of Mito Tsukino released in August 2021) was evaluated by Rate Your Music, the largest music archive in the United States. Hoshimachi Suisei produced his album and participated in TAKU INOUE “3:12” and Takaaki Natsuyo “Bluer than indigo” as vocals, leaping forward as an artist.
I feel that the appearance of CeVIO AI, the “musical isotope” of Kafu, was the number one turning point in 2021. As of 2020, few people were able to put together Vtuber’s music, but 2021 was a year in which “the diversity of Vtuber culture for music” became apparent.
KAF, who has been singing many tie-up songs since 2019, will be generally known as a music artist. Musicality can no longer be talked about in the context of “if it was in Vtuber.” This is not limited to KAF, but it is evident if you look at how it is featured in each media and the range of activities. With KAMITSUBAKI STUDIO, who has removed many “walls” from such a virtual expression and high musicality, the stronghold of the word “Vtuber” collapses. When the word “Vtuber” was initially born, I thought that companies and labels that did not know culture continued to stick to the word “Vtuber.” Artists who have been active as Vtubers from an early stage are not bound by the terms Vtuber and virtual YouTuber. Of course, there will be differences depending on the activity style, but few people who are mainly active in music are not particular about the word “Vtuber.” Instead, by sticking to it, we may be subject to some curse such as “this should be done” or “this should be done.”
I think the big turning point of diversity is the moment when all the members appeared in their form and performed at the encore of VALIS’s 1st one-person live “Expanded Metamorphose,” held in 2021. It wasn’t essential to perform live, but it was important for the audience to accept the appearance in natural form. Perhaps this wasn’t born in 2018 or 2019. It was taken because the music was generally accepted beyond the framework of Vtuber culture. Many people were attracted to the “musicality of the artist.” It would be a different story if the artist were initially divided into a live figure like THE BINARY. Other than that, a virtual sculpture, but an artist who has been active in a virtual figure appears in a live mannequin. This is probably because the diversity of the culture itself has been established. RIOT MUSIC’s Yuka Nagase releases short animations and music videos using character illustrations. At the same time, her live distribution is done in her form, and the implicit rules of her virtual activities gradually disappear. It’s coming.
She also created a net-meme song called “Silver President” in 2021. She never called herself Vtuber while doing 3D live performances. Diversity is expanding by separating the expression of virtual and musicality.
Based on the personality of the performer, Mito Tsukino, who received high praise from the United States for his aggressive production, and Hoshimachi, who made use of his singing ability and expressiveness while increasing fans in his activities Vtuber. KAMITSUBAKI STUDIO, which has expanded new possibilities by running individual exercises and activities in a group called VWP in parallel, has different ways of showing each. Still, it is diverse by leaping forward. It is true that has spread. Challenges by many artists such as Kizuna AI, which are the foundation of the current Vtuber music scene, formed the foundation of the stage, and diversity will continue to expand in the future. From 2022 onwards, artists and many Vtubers who are not bound by conventional wisdom will actively express diversified expressions.