Discussion in 'Multiple / Other Voice Synths' started by SynthJ, Oct 11, 2017.
You know you just easily killed most of the investors/people who would buy the software right?
Well, that's your opinion ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
You don't have to rely on the existing singing robot fandom to make this kind of product. There's other musicians in the world too.
But the facts are outside of the vocaloid and co community they dont sell.
Cyber Diva, Cyber Songman, VY1, VY2, Lola and Leon, they does not have character art but they still sell in the community. Since the goal of Soho is to spread vocal synth outside of this community, I think it's a good move to not have a cartoony character on the box.
Ok, then we may need to reconsider things. What do you suggest should be possible, beyond the normal operation of the plugin? And what would prevent users to create their own characters, based on our voices? Genuine questions here, I'm really not that familiar with this scene.
VY1 sells because YAMAHA promotes her excessively, she has a release on every software they have. But on top of this, they've had numerous competitions where people have made "official" characters the vocal. VY2, however, does not sell. VY2's "popularity" is largely made up of people who fangirl over the Roro character and his V2 bank was one of the most pocaloided V2 banks which damaged his sales. He also has yet to see an update, which further confirms that he didn't do well.
LEON and LOLA made 0 impact as a software, especially in America, as noted by Crypton. In fact, for a long period, all of the V1 English trio were not able to be purchased because of the lack of interest. The only reason that LEON is semi-popular is because of the song made with him on NND, True to My Heart, which featured a design. While MIRIAM is sold out of codes, LEON and LOLA have an abundance left, which further proves my point.
Cyber Diva and Cyber Songman, again; their "popularity" is largely owed to the character art made by fans, demos created by popular users who embrace that art, and the fact they're part of the VY series (riding off of VY1's popularity.)
MIRIAM is the only Vocaloid, specifically English and not from a multi-billion company, that has proved to have done well, by her running out of codes left. But even then we don't know how many were left and just like Leon, people love Miriam because they love the "image" she has as a product. (Her personification.)
I think that if not with the voices, having personifications/designs that people could use with the voices is a good idea. You dont need to put it on the box, and even if you do you don't need a cartoony anime design, you can always have a semi-realism design. The most notable Vocaloid that's been mainstream and still has a design is Avanna, so it's not like it's a turnoff to non-vocaloid fans anyways. Fan designs just create a lot of bickering and controversy tbh
So, to summarize, most of vocaloid without a design flopped with the expections of VY1, Miriam, Cyber Songman and Cyber Diva. BUT we may ask ourselves, does a character design makes a vocal synth sells super well? The answer is no. Chika, Sonika, Zola project, CUL, Arsloid and Gachapoid are good examples of that.
The target audience of SOHO are western producers that are not affiliated with the vocal-synth scene. Those kind of producers are looking for instruments, not characters and I don't think that an anime/cartoony design will sit well with westerners.
To conclude, even if you get a design, Julian and Lucy won't be garantied to sell well. Also people in the community don't care about official designs, they'll make one if they want!
Which is why I said even a non-anime design would do well too.
In exception is Avanna, we all know what happened when designs don't match up with the fandom's standard and what companies had to do to appease the fans. Even Yamaha tries to steer companies in a certain way when it comes to this because of what the community is like.
Like, we can go the usually VST route and just have stock art that doesn't feed into this community and still look appealing at the same time. It is an instrument after all. Cyber Diva and Cyber Songman actually got popular because they got good demos from well-known producers, compared to fan designs and that's when we only had a headshot. Fan designs only increased what was already there.
To be honest, all most people need to be convinced when buying a bank, or any instrument on a whole, is good usage. That's it.
What makes a vocal synth popular has been hotly debated for years. Something that might help you greatly is checking out the wikia's database of Vocaloids. You can view their characters/lack of characters and get some information on the product's popularity. The wikia doesn't have every detail, but it's the best place to start if you want an overview of the 10 years of vocal synth marketing we've seen.
Some Vocaloids have a whole backstory, even short animated videos to give them extra character. Others leave it entirely up to the users to decide what their personality will be. Some offer maximum creative freedom with no character at all, whereas others give producers something intended to inspire them. Some characters are drawn in a mature style, whereas others are humorous, whimsical or cartoony.
Here is a list of mascots, click on the Vocaloid's name for information on their marketing.
In general, this is very a difficult question, because so many factors can influence a product's popularity, such as timing, advertising and the culture of the country it's sold to.
Some key examples from the history of Vocaloid:
- Miku Hatsune is incredibly popular in Japan. However, many other Japanese Vocaloids have since used the same marketing tactics, and been unsuccessful because of increased competition. Crypton has also attempted to make Miku popular in English speaking countries. She has a solid fanbase, but was never the sensation she was in Japan. The idea of buying software with an anime teenager on it didn't work for Western audiences.
- IA is an example of a Japanese Vocaloid that managed to become popular in spite of competition. IA had the combination of a very well-received design, voice, popular voice actor, marketing after her release and being picked up by very popular music producers.
- Mayu is an example of a Vocaloid that didn't become popular despite having a strong character and lots of commissioned songs from well-known producers. She was marketed heavily, but failed to make an impact. Her voice wasn't enough to convince producers to stray from the products they preferred.
- Avanna was quite successful with Western producers, topping Zero-G's sales charts for some time. She has also often been used by producers who are not part of the Vocaloid community. Although she wasn't a break through hit like Miku, her success with professionals may be something to investigate.
- Poorly received character designs can hurt a Vocaloid. ZOLA used famous illustrator, Yoshitaka Amano for their boxart. However, the unusual style was poorly received by the community, and may have negatively effected their popularity. Sonika, Clara and Bruno all had beta designs which had to be altered due to backlash.
In particular, English vocal synths have a history of missing the mark with their characters. It's tricky to say what is needed in a good design, because we have never had a release that wasn't polarising. I think characters have a place in the Western community, but it may take some experimentation before we find what is needed to bring more people in.
Adding characters to english voices usually ends in disaster...what works for Japan doesn't necessarily work everywhere else...
Real wester producers (aka not a vocaloid weeb) don't care about the character. They just want their money's worth.
My two cents.
I mean, remember Ruby's beta design? It wasn't that very nicely accepted, so it's kinda debatable
but in other words, the demo's for this synth is amazing!
That design wasn't taken well because everyone- including Misha- knew of the design by Natasha first if im correct.. Personally I think ruby would've been marketed better in the West if the other design went through...and all the drama didnt happen. But of course I could be mistaken.
%And that that design would be re-used but for a different character with another name and whose voice would be kinda like Eurythmic's lead singer vocal tone and wuld fit a more rockish or trance genre
The design wasn't taken well because of complete miscommunication. Misha sent the art to Syo and then he didn't send it to Anders because he thought Misha sent it and Misha thought Syo sent it. Because of this, for months PFX had no idea that a design was already made and thus did not know Ruby was supposed to be latina. Then, when the design was revealed, Misha and Syo took to Twitter and fueled the flames by saying that PFX purposely whitewashed Ruby, when that was not the case at all.
Rodolphe, if you'd like your product to have success and continued success outside of a very small community that rarely supports commercial vocals outside of Vocaloid, market towards music producers. It'll benefit you in the long run to, at a certain point, start to transition to a professional, producer-oriented market and ignore the niche anime/character-centric Vocaloid/UTAU community. Emphasize that it is in fact a tool and not a toy with a face on it.
The character/design aspect matters mainly to people who won't buy the product, to be honest. This is not to say that producers wouldn't have something to say about it, it's just that it ultimate won't (and shouldn't) matter to them.
Sorry, forgot that the program that's brought conventions and concerts to countries across the globe was a toy. Thanks for the reminder!
It's simple advertisement: you walk into a store, bright eye'd and bushy tailed, ready to buy your first instrument. You're more likely to go for the more eye-catching and colorful versions of that instrument vs plain wooden ones. That's how anime esque designs have worked amazing this far.
Their characters are more eye-catching than a plain human on the box, and with the quality of the product purchased, can keep the customer returning for more.
This is really common sense though.
Voice synths are a niche and that niche uses characters. They make up the majority of sales and use characters. Popping boxes will bring new users and music producers won't give a shit if the box has a character as long as it sounds good and if it does sound good then the character is a plus. I've literally discussed this with non-vocaloid music producers and all of them said they'd prefer a character to stock image anyways. It's been like this since V2 with the Engloids doing poorly in sales until they got characters.
You've misconstrued what I said, and I apologize for wording my reply in a way that was confusing.
Vocaloid is indeed a professional product and non-community producers have indeed used it. Hatsune Miku and similar vocals have indeed succeeded commercially. But the anime-esque appeal isn't for many music producers outside of this community. Many non-Vocaloid community producers haven't used Vocaloid for this reason; the anime design is associated with being not serious even if it is successful, and thus there are producers who shy away from it. The program does have a reputation for at least seeming like a toy with some subpar results in some area, at least with some producers. This is just a fact, not trying to discredit some of the commercial success the Vocaloid has. If you want, I would happily explain my viewpoint more, in a DM..
Normal music producers want something that looks sleek and works. More so on the "it works." They want something that works in terms of workflow and quality. If you look at the styles of big and notable music tech companies... Image-Line, Native Instruments, Steinberg... Even smaller and successful music VST and sample groups like EchoSoundWorks and HY-Plugins... They have specific looks and feels that aid in their success and a consensus in the music producer community that they're good. It works, it feels professional, and it has the right feel for a music producer.
The character aspect works for this community, for us, because just look at the demographics. It's not strange to talk to people who are artists and specifically character designers or people who enjoy anime. That part is engrained in our demographic. Hell, we have people who make a separate design for every single voicebank that they release. Normal music producers don't vibe with that.
I never said it had to be in the anime art style, that was not my point. I was explaining how it was working, and how similar marketing techniques can help Emvoice sell their product. I sincerely think designs would be a good idea.
If you want to only hook in older producers in these communities, that's fine. If you believe they'll be looking at the quality of the program and voice over design, then they could disregard the design. However, it'd be very beneficial to attract younger and new users as well. Characters for the voices can help individualize each voicebank, along with attracting online artists who are fans. It's like a loop of free advertisement.
Character aspect doesn't just work for our community, as it's seen within many other products aside from VOCALOID and UTAU. You see it every day, and it's how companies get you to remember them, like remembering a face of a loved one.
I'd like to comment further on "they'll look at voice not design", and as much as I'd hate to admit it, that's not true. We wish it would be, but the masses will go towards the things that catch their eyes, and decide from there.
To restrict that to the VOCALOID and UTAU fandoms alone is unrealistic.
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