OLIVER is an English VOCALOID developed and distributed by PowerFX Systems AB. in collaboration with VocaTone, and was released in December 2011 for the VOCALOID3 engine. OLIVER's vocals are "based on a 12 year old boy soprano", a choir boy. His voice provider is from Britain, and during the time of recording, he was 13 years of age. Therefore, the identity of his provider has never been revealed for legal reasons. He is the first young male VOCALOID whose voice samples were not produced by an adult.
According to VocaTone, his name was originally "Cody". It is unknown why "Oliver" was chosen. "Treble" and "Devin" were also names VocaTone considered.
While it is unknown what led OLIVER to be chosen for the name, according to the name's own etymology origin, "Oliver" has appeared from several different culture independently and the interpretations vary depending on language it originated from. In English, "Oliver" refers to the bible "Olive Tree", the biblical symbol of peace and therefore the implied meaning is "peaceful".
Keeping within the "monster" theme of PowerFX VOCALOIDs, OLIVER is also a creature similar to Frankenstein's monster, like Big Al and Sweet ANN. According to Lawlietlk, the illustrator of OLIVER, she was originally only told that OLIVER was a "classical" type of vocal. "James", OLIVER's bird, was drawn from references; however, OLIVER's design was done without any reference.
His design was not influenced by Oliver Twist. Despite the similarities, they were regarded as coincidences. VocaTone did not realize the similarities until later in development.
According to VocaTone, he was given bandages instead of stitches, due to the fact that the stitches did not suit him. The bandages were described as having a "mysterious cause, but he doesn't let them get in the way of his singing". The main inspiration for his outfit was the uniforms worn by the Vienna Boys Choir, and upper-class male clothing of the late 18th and early 19th century. He has a Dal Segno on his cloak.
OLIVER was mostly discussed at Vocaloid Otaku forums, where news and updates of his pre-release were being discussed. The success of VOCALOID Otaku forums led to a discount being offered to those who had signed up to the forum up 3 months prior to his release. VOCALOID Otaku was already being used by PowerFX and Zero-G as their fanbase forum for gaining feedback from the English VOCALOID fans. The feedback and reactions were better received overall than the past with other VOCALOIDs, making this approach one of the companies' most successful marketing attempts on any VOCALOID. According to Anders', OLIVER was easy to market, but they wanted to avoid making him "too cute".
The art was also drawn in a sketch style, giving a less refined illustration than previous VOCALOIDs.
A competition for OLIVER was run by VocaTone, the prize being OLIVER himself. Details were found on the VocaTone website. An MMD model was supplied for the use of entries, though MMD is not required for entering the competition nor the use of these specific models. Those taking part must create a PV to accommodate the song "Birds". The competition expired on the 4th of December.
The overall winner was Porifra, with runners up Pikadude31451 and MagikSalem.
OLIVER was the best received English VOCALOID within the fandom at his time of release. At one stage, he had more fanart on Pixiv prior to release than some of the Japanese VOCALOIDs for VOCALOID3, who had been known for some time prior to OLIVER's announcement. His forum topic at Vocaloid Otaku reached 100 pages (sorted 20 posts per page), arriving quicker than other topics about unreleased VOCALOIDs. OLIVER's first two demos, "Circus Monster" and "Scarborough Fair", also managed to get over 30,000+ views within their first month of upload, which was not seen by past English VOCALOIDs.
In April 2012, OLIVER overtook BIG AL in English VOCALOID popularity. He is currently the most popular VOCALOID designed to sing only in English in the fandom for both Japan and overseas.
In late August 2012, his PV demo song, "Dinky Dink", became the first demo for an English-only built VOCALOID to reach 100,000+ views.
According to Google trends, the height of his popularity was August 2013, this was most likely due to the popularity of the "Bee and Puppycat" animation on YouTube. This caused the average search engine results to be higher in the year after August 2013, then it was prior to August 2013. OLIVER was also one of the few new VOCALOIDs in VOCALOID3 whose search popularity growth meant it was higher near the end of the VOCALOID3 era then at the start.
Part 1 of the series was the first video featuring OLIVER's voice to reach a total of 1,000,000+ views on YouTube.
Part 2 of the series also gained 1,000,000+ views, making it the second video featuring OLIVER's voice to get 1 million views. PuppyCat's Fairy Tale from Bee and PuppyCat on Cartoon Hangover was uploaded August 20.
The shorts went on to gather a total of 4,000,000 views in total by October 2013. Their success lead the producers to start a Kickstarter to raise more money for episodes, which succeeded to raise enough money for several episodes.
By its 1st year anniversary, the series had gathered 8,000,000+ views in total.
In 2015 a survey was made based on the popularity of Vocaloids on website Nico Video. For the year 2014, Oliver was the 31st most popular Vocaloid and the most popular "Engloid".
A choir styled vocal had been planned since the very first VOCALOIDs went on sale in 2004. However, Zero-G was originally the company who had intended to release such a voice.
Since OLIVER was the first English VOCALOID developed since the Hatsune Miku Facebook account had been set up, a number of less informed fans have been known to classify him as "the first English VOCALOID". This is not the case as the very first VOCALOIDs, LEON and LOLA, were English and released in 2004. This is no fault of the fandom itself, but a long term issue that has been noted about some communities within the VOCALOID fandom that lack more experienced VOCALOID users.