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Vocal issuesEdit

Singing vocal clonesEdit

One of the earliest concepts behind VOCALOID™ was to produce a vocal so near-perfect that there would be no need for the original vocalist. Alternatively, there is the temptation to publish a song while crediting the provider, rather than the Vocaloid, as the singer.

According to Crypton, because professional female singers refused to provide voice samples, in fear that the software might create their singing voice's clones, Crypton changed their focus from imitating certain singers to creating character vocals. This change of focus led to sampling the vocals of voice actors and the Japanese voice acting agency Arts Vision supporting the development.[1]

Similar concerns have been expressed within the other studios creating VOCALOIDs, with Zero-G refusing to release the names of their providers. Miriam Stockley - who provided the voice for Miriam - remains the only known Zero-G voice provider who receives acknowledgement on the VOCALOID product page.[2]

For more, see this page on Wikia Answers.

Vocal misuseEdit

The agreements of the VOCALOID™ license prohibit users from producing works which are considered degrading, are aimed at undermining individuals, or are controversial, but this does not stop users from doing these things.

The result is that some songs, such as "Wash My Blood", become subject to outcry for their lyrics or subject matter. In the aforementioned song, Luka is often perceived as a nun who broke her vows and had sex, then aborted her unborn child. In some cultures and religions, abortion is a taboo which is largely frowned upon, making the song controversial if this is taken as the interpretation.

The concern of the misuse of vocals in this way was raised by Miriam Stockley in regards to her Vocaloid Miriam and its release, noting that there was little that could be done once a vocal is in the hands of producers.[3]

Contest issuesEdit

Voice recording competitions were held to find and select voice providers for certain VOCALOIDs such as Aoki Lapis and Merli. Each competition has its own set of rules and voice providers were either picked by the companies or the fans.

In July 2014, a voice provider competition was held for Chinese VOCALOIDs Yuezheng Ling and Zhanyin Lorra. The first round of the competition was for Ling and required a speech and a singing file to be sent in by email to Shanghai HENIAN which would later be uploaded to Ling's official Weibo account. Fans were able to vote on their preferred voices here.

In August, the six finalists for Ling and additional four contestants for Lorra were revealed. From then on, fans were to vote on the contestant based on the sound of her voice to suit the VOCALOIDs. In September, three finalists were revealed for each VOCALOID and they were recorded as sample voicebanks to demonstrate how they sounded in the VOCALOID3 engine. These samples were uploaded onto Ling and Lorra's official website and allowed fans to vote on the voicebank they preferred based on the short Molihua clips. However, due to the samples being labelled with the name of the voice provider, this caused a large number of unfair votes. Some of the voice providers were already well known and popular within the Chinese fandom which lead fans to automatically vote for them due to their popularity status. Even more, certain fans used multiple IP addresses and notified other people to vote for their choice, many of which complied.

At first, Shanghai HENIAN caught this behavior and reverted the votes down to even and fair numbers, but the fans continued to "spam vote". After the first try, Shanghai HENIAN made no additional attempts to fix the issue. Not only had the company noticed this problem, the "winning" contestants also caught the situation and asked that fans should vote solely on how the competitors sounded and not by their fanbase. However, this request was ignored.[4]

Toward the last week, the top two contestants for Lorra, Gui Xian Ren and Xiao Lian Sha, had evened out, with Xiao Lian Sha pulling ahead. On the final day of the competition, Gui Xian Ren received a high amount of spam votes and won. For Ling, QI Inory had over 100,000 votes at the last week, with the other two having much less. On the final day, Yu Wu Yue Shan gained over 100,000 votes as well and temporarily pulled ahead, but lost when QI Inory gained another 100,000 votes and became the winner for Ling's contest.[5]

Lucía and LUANEdit

Lucía and LUAN were a pair of Spanish VOCALOIDs unveiled, produced, and programmed by the known VOCALOID artist Giuseppe. Giuseppe was previously involved in the development of several VOCALOIDs from different companies.

Lucía was first introduced in March 2016 as a potential upcoming Spanish female vocalist with two concept designs by Riisago and AkiGlancy (aka. EmpathP). However, Giuseppe could not release her commercially due to the lack of support from other VOCALOID companies and his inability to pay for the VOCALOID license.

Lucía's demos were met with generally negative reception from the Spanish-speaking fandom, with many fans feeling that the voice of Lucía was too similar to that of the VOCALOID3 Clara, particularly in her lower notes; this led to several complaints about the lack of diversity in voicebanks of the language. Other comments claimed that she was too "flat-toned" and that the voice was "quite generic". However, the most notable criticism was about her thick European Spanish accent. When Bruno, Clara, and MAIKA debuted, the Latin American VOCALOID fandom brought discussions about the strong Castilian accent these libraries had and desired VOCALOIDs with a more Standard Spanish accent.

Giuseppe unveiled a new male Spanish VOCALOID named LUAN in July 2016 through a demo of his beta voicebank online. The voicebank was intended to have a soft, mellow singing style and a particular, androgynous sound to increase his versatility. However, as with Lucía, LUAN's audio demos were also widely panned by the fandom. This was predominantly due to the sound quality, with fans again comparing the voicebank's to that of Clara's. More tension was caused when the voice provider was confirmed (via leaks) to be Akuo-P, a VOCALOID producer with a divisive reputation among the Spanish-speaking fandom. Consequently, comparisons with Lucía were made, and some users felt the pair were worse than existing Spanish VOCALOIDs and were produced to a mediocre standard.[6]

Much of the criticism towards LUAN was not well received by Giuseppe and he lashed out against critical fans, insulting their taste and credibility. Though Giuseppe had a history of negative opinions regarding the community (leading to a questionable reputation amongst some fans), this was the first time he had directly insulted VOCALOID users.[7] These comments were later deleted, along with LUAN's demo and all related social media posts. Giuseppe revealed he would not be releasing the vocals and had withdrawn from the VOCALOID fandom as a whole, resulting in the closure of all related social media accounts under his name.

ReferencesEdit

  1. Okada, Yuka (February 22, 2008). "クリプトン・フューチャー・メディアに聞く(2):「初音ミク」ができるまで [Interview with Crypton Future Media (2): How Hatsune Miku Was Born]" (in Japanese). IT Media. p. 1. http://www.itmedia.co.jp/news/articles/0802/22/news013.html. Retrieved February 28, 2008. 
  2. "Zero-G Interview: Dom Keefe (Vocaloid Production)". Engloids. WordPress. January 28, 2010. http://engloids.wordpress.com/2010/01/28/zero-g-interview-dom-keefe-vocaloid-production/#more-383. Retrieved July 8, 2010. 
  3. Pages two of NY Times interview
  4. http://www.vocaloidotaku.net/index.php?/topic/53953-mandarin-vocaloid3-yuezheng-ling/page__st__225__p__1192819&
  5. http://www.vocaloidotaku.net/index.php?/topic/53953-mandarin-vocaloid3-yuezheng-ling/page__st__240__p__1197416&
  6. http://www.vocaloidotaku.net/index.php?/topic/67329-new-spanish-vocaloid-luan/page__view__findpost__p__1362026
  7. http://www.vocaloidotaku.net/index.php?/topic/67329-new-spanish-vocaloid-luan/page__st__180__p__1362387&#entry1362387

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