IA (イア) is a Japanese VOCALOID developed and distributed by 1st Place Co., Ltd., and was released in January 2012 for the VOCALOID3 engine. Her voice is provided by the Japanese female singer, Lia, known for "Tori no Uta".
"IA" is taken from her voice provider's name, "Lia".
There are at least two ways to read her projects name of "- ARIA ON THE PLANETES -":
The words "Aria" and "Planetes" are Latin and Greek for "open space" and "planet" respectively, giving the translation of "Open Space on the Planet".
"Aria", is also the Italian word for "air" and is used as a term in opera for expressive pieces, usually sung by a single singer. This also fits in with her more opera-esque vocal results compared to other released Japanese Vocaloids.
When she was first released, overseas fans often mistook "Aria" as the name of the Vocaloid.
Her design was illustrated by Aka Akasaka (D. Z.), while the design direction was by Maxilla Inc.
Despite the myth of IA's age being 15, she has had no age assigned to her. This myth seems to originate from a section underneath the paragraph on IA about her provider Lia, wherein one of the first things mentioned was that Lia debuted in America at 15 years old.
Information on IA was released much slower than the average VOCALOID. Her promotions have taken the approach to make her seem otherworldly and mysterious.
The licensing for IA is slightly different than past VOCALOIDs, and it is worth taking the time to read this page for more details. Unlike some past VOCALOIDs, users can use her image on CDs, flyers and posters without requesting permission, although some consent from the company is needed for greater use of her image. This is a departure from past VOCALOIDs such as Crypton Future Media, who require you to ask permission for use of their VOCALOIDs' images on things such as CDs, flyers and posters.
1st Place likes collaborations between their company and others. Their marketing style was designed to introduce IA to people unfamiliar with VOCALOID, expanding their audience.
IA developed a good reputation as a reliable voicebank library among many producers, this owed to much of her success. IA was well received and had many hits in the Nico Nico Douga weekly rankings after her release.
Within 6 months of her release, several songs hit 1,000,000+ views on Nico Nico Douga, whereas none of the other VOCALOID3 vocals achieved success of this caliber until December 2014 when Yuzuki Yukari managed to achieve her first 1,000,000 song. This put her on par with some of the more successful VOCALOID2 era voicebanks.
On 1st July 2015, it was announced that her playback of related videos had reached 100 million, views were coming in from both Japan and abroad. She had also experienced several live performances in Taiwan, France and North America. This lead to the release of her official app.
IA's popularity has lead to further Vocal development being considered for her and in 2014, IA-ARIA ON THE PLANETES - α Type C was released as a trial version via a one-month long feedback campaign. Several months later, it was announced that the finalized version of the new vocal library would be made available for sale in June of the same year.
A survey released in 2015 in relation to the popularity of the Vocaloids on website Nico Video revealed IA was the 4th most popular Vocaloid for 2014.