Building Hatsune Miku

Hatsune Miku just launched her North American headline tour at Seattle’s WaMu Theatre over the weekend. Miku, as you may know, isn’t real. So Pollstar instead talked to someone who knows her well.

Japan’s virtual superstar grew out of a music software program created by Crypton Future Media that allows users “to produce original music with a synthesized voice.”

And then Miku started showing up on concert stages, where she would perform music that Vocaloid users created. If you’re not familiar with Miku’s live performances, she was the forerunner to the Tupac hologram that performed at Coachella and likely a host of other virtual performers to come.

Lady Gaga even booked Miku as the opening act on her North American “Art Pop” tour. Miku also appeared on the “Late Show With David Letterman.” Miku’s PR rep explains that her 3D live show “features the animated Miku projected on stage, singing and dancing alongside a live band.” The setlist for the tour is chosen from thousands of songs created by Muku’s diverse fanbase around the world.

Miku’s North American headline tour plays 10 cities, culminating with two nights at Mexico City’s Hotel Condesa DF.

Ahead of the tour, Guillaume Devigne from Crypton Future Media’s marketing team answered a few questions for us over email from Japan.

Photo: Crypton Future Media

What are some of the technological advancements over Miku’s last virtual live appearances?

For some songs we tried to push the quality of movement and rendering to their limit by paying particular attention to features like Miku’s hair, or even subtle details like the way her lips move according to her voice. The improvements are never entirely technological; it’s more about building upon our experience to make the show always more compelling.

In that vein, can you share any hints about the show that fans will be surprised about or will talk about the next day?

It’s difficult to anticipate since in North America most of the fans will see Hatsune Miku for the very first time, and we hope and expect that they will be impressed by the whole experience. We generally get few direct comments about specific aspects or improvements of the show, but more about people’s first-hand reactions, and how it often exceeds their expectations, since many people have been waiting to see Hatsune Miku for a very long time.

Considering all of Miku’s music, what gets incorporated into the show versus not?

We try to keep a balance between songs that have become standard for Miku, and songs never performed before. Those are coming from different horizons: as always we relied a lot on social media to find artists and songs that were getting attention from the fans, but also for the first time we organized a songwriting contest before the event, and picked up – among more than 400 submissions – a song entitled “Ten Thousand Stars” by a very talented creator from the United States called Circus P, which we’re confident the North American audience will love too. As for the main theme “Blue Star,” we asked Hachioji P, an already prominent artist in his field, to write it.

What does the future hold for the team? As it says in the press release, the team is “building something very special that people are clearly excited for.”

That’s more a state of mind than a definite plan. We always try to think in many directions, to take opportunities, and to create them.

Photo: Crypton Future Media

Upcoming dates for Hatsune Miku:

April 30 – San Francisco, Calif., Warfield Theatre
May 6 – Los Angeles, Calif., Microsoft Theater      
May 14 – Dallas, Texas, The Bomb Factory 
May 17 – Houston, Texas, NRG Park
May 20 – Toronto, Ontario, Sony Centre For The Performing Arts
May 25 – Chicago, Ill., Chicago Theatre
May 28 – New York, N.Y., Hammerstein Ballroom
June 1 – Monterrey, Mexico, Auditorio Banamex

June 4 – Mexico City, Mexico, Hotel Condesa DF
June 5 – Mexico City, Mexico, Hotel Condesa DF

Visit for more information.