Devastate is not the wrong word to use in my opinion here. In fact, it may be the most worrying thing I’ve had on my mind for quite some time. So, before we get into all that explanations, take the time to cook the like and comment your opinions afterward, I really want the Vocaloid communities opinion on these matters to rebuttal the ones I’ve come up with.
Vocaloid is a business, yes- you should know that- and in this business, there are quite a few products under that companies name, but these products are created by other companies. This is known as Internal Outsourcing. A lot of the time, when making anime, a studio will only make keyframes and then outsource the rest of the moving frames to a South Korean studio because it’s LOADS cheaper than making it themselves. And that’s essentially what YAMAHA is doing- allowing other companies to create Vocaloids specifically for them, and for their products, but what makes it Internal Outsourcing rather than External, is the fact the businesses that make Vocaloids are still in the ownership of their own Vocaloid. YAMAHA is a big worldwide company, and as such, takes pretty good care of everything they are taken with. Except, recently some of these businesses such as Internet, Co. Crypton Future Media, and the one already, 1st Place Int. May be pulling away from Vocaloid and into their own vocal suit. This isn’t set in stone, and may not ever happen, but let’s talk about what might happen if they did decide to take their products into their own hands instead of the overbearing corporation that is Yamaha.
I have a video where I go through each individual line of dialogue in the Vocaloid Terms of Service, I’m still editing it so you won’t find it. Currently, I’ve written about 30,000 words and I’m tired, this video will be over 2 hours long… so I’m gonna section it up into smaller pieces. Then they’ll change their ToS, watch and see! But, what I’m getting at is that from that specific script, I delve into how Yamaha treats their companies, which I suppose the best way to put it is mild, is that YAMAHA is like YouTube, not the recent YouTube, but the YouTube that kicked me out of the partner program. The one that stayed silent while creators didn’t know what to do. We had guidelines, and sometimes we had comments, but 1st Place parted ways for an unknown reason, and it may hinge on how YAMAHA acts. Now, am I saying YAMAHA is a bad company? Well… it depends on what you call ‘bad’. If you think it’s bad to have guidelines but barely communicate, then yeah, I guess they’re bad at that, but if you think bad is destroying the ozone, then I guess they’re bad at that too since they are a vehicle manufacturer too, but if you think a good company lets us have our freedoms from restrictions of using Vocaloid for fun online, teaming up with Silicon Valley to help farmers farm quicker, and making self-driving vehicles with Sony… except with ads… then they are a fantastic company! The thing is, throughout my whole thing of researching YAMAHA and everything they were and are today, I understand there is a slippery road on what I would consider bad, because my version of bad is like a thousand times worse than anyone else’s, like if someone cuts in front of me on the road, I will never get mad at that, I just don’t see a reason to if no one got hurt. But if someone outright ridicules me just because of my inability to get things perfectly right, even though I said I would try harder and apologized, while also belittling my religion, my family, and my responsibilities to keep my family afloat and then making themselves out to be the victim just because they’re being inconvenienced… now that’s bad…
Sorry, I’ve had problems recently… just trying to better convey who I am to you all. But enough about me, let’s talk about a Fork.
But what is a fork, it’s not for eating, but it’ll really make you feel like you’ve been stabbed by one. A fork in economics is any brand that breaks in two pieces, imagine a fork in the road. A good example would be Bitcoin, where there was one Bitcoin brand, but then it all of sudden got too big, changing the way people work, much like YouTube, and one half just sprouted wings and flew into heaven with tons and tons of cash while the rest who didn’t believe it would work just stayed dirt poor- or filthy rich depending on what your idea of being poor is. Bitcoin is confusing anyway, but 2 Bitcoin currencies? Nay, there are more than 2, and each worse than the last. But maybe Bitcoin is not like Vocaloid’s business model, and you’ll be right, it’s nothing like it at all.
So what am I getting at here? Recently, if you know, I’ve complained about it a lot, IA English is no longer a Vocaloid and has moved to 1st Place’s home program, CeVIO with her sister ONE… it is her sister, right? So what if Crypton Future Media may be thinking the same thing. But nothing is confirmed about that happening, and nothing was even hinted at, it’s just an example… unless they do come out with it in later years, and which case I will go through what I theorize will happen to the Vocaloid community if every company makes their own suit and pulls from Vocaloid!
Starting out, Vocaloid seems much like Steam on PC. You go and get Vocaloids/Games made by designers for money and sometimes free. All in one place, all neatly packaged in where everyone is happy. How many companies have made Vocaloids? I haven’t counted yet, so if someone knows, tell me. But however, imagine if everyone followed 1st Place’s lead. Here is how the first way it would go down as an example- theorizing a world without a cohesive Vocaloid program is beneficial to my business model.
The first thing would be that YAMAHA would do something bad, or business drops, and people start pulling out for a more outward competition. The way it would work is, every company that owned a Vocaloid would make their own Vocal Manipulation Program, and thus, all things Vocaloid would not cease to exist, however, considering each Vocaloid is under contract. All Vocaloids that are already released are still Vocaloids, but future development would cease for the Vocaloid program. Imagine if Hatsune Miku was pulled from Vocaloid… That’s scary! And with all of these companies pulling out of the overhead shell of YAMAHA, you get tons of individual engines that go along with each respective whatever you’ll call them because they’ll no longer be called Vocaloid. Like Crypton would have their own suite, Internet Co. Would have their own suite, and everyone else would have their own suite. And so on, the biggest change would be that you could no longer get a proper carrying case for all of your Vocaloids. More suites specifically for the Vocaloid and none being interchangeable just means more software on your PC. Now let’s get on to the scenarios.
With the expulsion of the Vocaloid Title, things will get very rocky in terms of relationships between companies. Each one is competing in a more grander scale, considering they are now not in a safe environment of “If you like this Vocaloid, then you may like this one!” But they’re hoofing it on their own time. All money would go to ads, and since YAMAHA specifically deals with ads for Vocaloid related products, that’s the kicker here. YAMAHA gives these companies money for ads upon approval of the companies ads, sometimes, not all of the time. The number of dollars matter! Some companies will be so destroyed by a move like this, that they’ll stay under the umbrella of YAMAHA. Which is why in this scenario, Vocaloid will exist further into the future. With more Vocaloids being made, YAMAHA will have reason to keep this system going, although, it’ll get A LOT more expensive. I would say about an increase of $100 to the Vocaloid engine is prime for losing tons of famous Vocaloids. Which brings us into competition from the other companies. They just lost their biggest title, and now, they must promote their own. Using various different methods for each company, the pricing for their Vocaloid would skyrocket in numbers. Considering you’re not only buying a Vocaloid, but also a vocal creation suite? That’s expensive stuff! The reason why it’s so cheap right now is that Vocaloid is an all-around vocal synthesizer home. Without that home, it becomes grass… mainly just a patch of fans that trickled over. The bigger problem arises in this theory that could literally go either way, and this is where the 1st and 2nd scenario diverge. But for scenario 1, the individual characters for whatever each company calls their characters, but for the sake of time and effort, let’s call them… Songaloids. Just a made-up term used to describe ALL vocal synth. For scenario 1, the prices for each would skyrocket for each Songaloid, I mean, you’re getting an editor along with it. Vocaloid Engine isn’t cheap either and is almost the same as each Vocaloid. This will create a division among producers, as buying more costly things will automatically result in FAR MORE TORRENTS of said Songaloid and their respective Suite. That said, many just would no longer bother with lesser-known characters. Much like how I know absolutely nothing about UTAU, yet it’s a sister to Vocaloid. Imagine all Songaloids being that way.
Where the 2nd scenario diverges from the 1st is specifically at the pricing of the Vocaloid. Now, with all of the bigger companies already having their own vocal suite- Crypton with Piapro, Gumi and Gakupo comes free with a very tiny suite, and 1st Place having CeVIO, and while I’m not sure if AH Software has their own or not, would likely tell me that AH software specifically would be the one to stick around with YAMAHA if this fork did happen. And taking into account that these companies already have the suite ready, likely not using the Vocaloid engine schematics because it would be a violation of YAMAHA’s Terms of Creation and Security of Productions, I would say that if they stick to where it’s at now, the prices of the Vocaloid wouldn’t change, and would probably even lower prices due to YAMAHA possibly having a minimum sell limit on a Vocaloid product.
Let me get into economics here, as someone who’s mom has a bachelors in business and looking to open her own store… send help… I have gotten not only her opinion on it but also a couple of her books and a few other people I knew at college that took business because I didn’t. So when dealing with minimum or maximum sell limits, it is solely based on how many will sell to get a profit. The concurrent sell margins are 1,000 units per Vocaloid during its lifetime, so it makes sense to put them at $140 average price.
$140 x 1,000 = $140,000
And if you make 10 Vocaloids that reach that margin, you get a million bucks. But let us be real here, these Vocaloid companies GIVE money to YAMAHA as a set price for using the brand, otherwise known as royalties. The problem here is the fact that companies may or may not change their prices at all in this scenario, entailing that even though they aren’t paying any to YAMAHA, they are keeping the price up due to financial security- which will ultimately, if slightly, reduce the torrent problem that may increase if prices hike. The better scenario is the 3rd scenario!
The point where it diverges is that the prices of these Songaloids, wherein scenario 3, they drop drastically to make the software more able to be accessible to more people. I mean think about it- you’re no longer under a massive ad campaign and under the whims of producers and their fans. Who’s to say they couldn’t make a Songaloid that was like $60 much like a video game? It could happen, so to get those higher number, you would more than likely hike how many people buy your product and as well lower the rate of torrents of your product. Most people can’t afford 100’s of dollars for a digital instrument and would prefer something hard. My guitar/amp only cost $99, but I’m sitting over here on a laptop making music with a Vocal synthesizer on a Vocal DAW that costs nearly triple that! Safe to say… Skill, I do not have! And I know definitely that a lot of instruments out there for DAW’s that cost well below $60, and some are fantastic. You can get Kontakt for free, and while some of the best instruments around cost over $200 dollars, these are instruments that are professionally made in a market with tons of VST’s, while the current Vocaloid scene only has like 150+ Vocaloids, meaning there are a lot more chances for a new Vocaloid to be seen rather than a new guitar VST. Remember that prices are everything. It’s everything to the Community, the producers, the companies, and the people who voice the characters. These are famous people, after all, they need royalties too! The success of lowering a Vocaloid to below $80 is determined specifically on its popularity and availability. Like getting tons of people to enjoy your product, while also allowing them to be like advertisers. Memes come to mind- I’ve already said memes themselves have boosted Miku into the popular Vocaloid she is, even though she nearly got 30,000 sales upon her first release in 2007, which equates to nearly $3,000,000 for just the V2 Miku… V3 went far beyond that, and V4 went about the same as V3. And this was in the span of little under 10 years! Each release of Miku has garnered more than $1 Million in sales. That’s an incentive to keep making it better, especially considering V2 Miku, compared to now, was just awful. But we keep her in our hearts because of pure nostalgia and like her being with us through times of great turmoil or happiness. Same with any Vocal synth. They are the imagination we bear!
Safe to say, the 4th scenario is the worst-case scenario.
Everyone goes bankrupt due to the split in the community. It’s already established that users hate being told to choose between one program or another. The best I can do to relate is through console video games! Console exclusives exist, and it really makes me furious when I can’t play Halo 5 on a PS4, and that I’d have to pay three-hundie for a game console I’d only play Halo and Gears of War on… but luckily, Microsoft is making a pass on Nintendo in coming days, as well on PC as well. See? That makes me happy! GIMME MY GEARS 4 PWEASE!!! But what I would like is the new Nintendo IP, Astral Chain to be on PC, because that would be AMAZING! Not to the fact that the Switch isn’t powerful, but imagine if you had a beefy computer- which I don’t… and could increase the beauty of it. But nope, gotta buy a Switch… well, I have one, but not enough space on my card to save data anymore. Just buying more crap, aren’t I? And the biggest tumult was in the recent Epic Games debacle where only certain games would be on their store instead of Steam, and NO ONE WAS HAPPY… except for me, who was confused specifically because exclusives are EXTREMELY IMPORTANT for sales. It can prevent people from playing or buying your product too- as with I don’t have an XBOX ONE to play Gears 4 or Halo 5, but I have a Switch specifically because I love the exclusives.
The 4th scenario is simple: No one is happy that these companies pulled out, and thus, lose the little buyers they have. Depending on the type of person you are, more software just means more data on your pc, more cost to the product, even more getting confused on how to make duets on a song- continuing to the fact that some Songaloids may be prevented from singing with others as a cohesive unit. If these companies pull out of Vocaloid, they are essentially on their own, and they can make drastic mistakes, and sad to say, Vocaloid isn’t big enough to make a mistake and brush it off so easily. One mistake from a company that pulled away from Vocaloid could easily end up in the forgotten territory. 1st place is currently in my watchful eye because they haven’t failed yet, IA and ONE went on a world tour, and only the English version of IA is CeVIO currently, but in later years after the hype has died down when we stop calling IA a Vocaloid, it will drastically impact her role in songs. Places like YouTube and Nico Nico are to blame as well. These places get views, and if you want views in the Vocaloid community, you use famous Vocaloids, am I wrong? Everyone just uses Miku either because they like her, or she is the most popular and that’s how they get views. The most popular thing is what songwriters go for, especially indie producers who aren’t paid to make big-name music. As producers, we have the ability to be out of contract, but we lose the ads that a label gives our music, so when we get frustrated, we make what people want to hear, and not what we want to make. I’ve fallen in the same trap, and so has every music producer. What it means to be a producer is to have the freedom to pick without much turmoil in trying to decide, or exacerbating the problem of making vocals using 3 separate programs if you have Miku, Luka, Gumi, or Nana, each with their own parameters, which just means they won’t sound the same. Are you getting my point here?
If no one knows about your Vocaloid, only the passionately inclined will use it. It’s kinda like when I like to hear smaller producer’s songs. I sometimes send it out across social media for people to find and see! I enjoy doing it because I love sharing music and ideas and games that bring joy in my life or give me a realization of whatever philosophical motive I have.
At the tail end of it all, if the Vocaloidcompanies fork into separate companies, so will the community, and so will the profits. It can create some of the best ingenuity, don’t get me wrong, being constrained by YAMAHA means you can’t play around with stuff, but that also means your company safety is much lower. This last and final scenario is my advice to all of these companies that think they should split with Vocaloid.
The last one I can see happening is that all of these companies STAY under Vocaloid, however, they also create more of their own stuff. Like if they stood underneath YAMAHA’s umbrella in a storm, but they had their own umbrella and stood in between both umbrellas… hard metaphor but you get it? These companies should stay and create Vocaloids for YAMAHA because it’s their jobs and contracts as well as in their best interest. Breaking completely away would be disastrous, emanating a complete lack of security for any and all products, workers, and might even influence the ability to make even more Songaloids later in the future. Like deadlines may not be a thing anymore, and the Songaloid would be released without problems like Miku’s weird dialect in English or Luka not having certain phonemes. The advice I have is simple, GIVE THE COMMUNITY ROOM TO BREATHE! They run the show, they make the music, YAMAHA may make the brand, they are just the shell that keeps us all safe, while we are the baby birdie in the egg that is warm and happy. If someone cracks that egg, in which the egg is already cracked with 1st Place’s decisions (*Although, they could still come back to Vocaloid, and their complete decision isn’t known to me at this time) We release our happiness into the God-forsaken world. Our mothers will push us out of the nest to force us to either fly or die. And that’s the problem with forking the Vocaloid name… I love Vocaloid, it’s in my name, but it, like me, is still too small to have enough money to buy a sustainable insurance plan if jobs are lost or products don’t sell well.
Which really hits home to me personally! How much money have I spent on music software? Thousands? More than that! I’ve been spending ever since I had a computer, since 2012 (I had a computer before that, but I didn’t have money before that… so… yeah) Over these years, I’ve been working hard to try and figure out music, and I was forced to learn it on my own. I bought books on creating, I bought books on history, I bought books after books after books, and not just for music, but for psychology, martial arts training, and health guidance. I learn by myself because I learn best in places where I’m not being talked down too. I learn on my own better because I can tell my mom or my girlfriend what happens when a cell of a fly meet insulin and could be beneficial to diabetes in people- it’s complicated… I can do that- because I’m not in school.
…And this has been the reason why school sucks, cheerio!
But in all honesty, it’s just mesmerizing to see Vocaloid grow. I just hope it doesn’t grow too big for the shell and have the possibility of seeing that chick die because it wasn’t grown enough to even make it in the wild. After all, I’ve said, it boils specifically down to LUCK OF THE DRAW! No one knew Miku would be this famous, but she was.
So remember next time you listen to something like Synthesizer V or UTAU or Alter/Ego or CeVIO… that, what got you into those brands? And if you say Vocaloid, then you have just said the reason why forking the community would be devastating! Not just on the businesses, but for all of us- especially me… MY NAME IS VOCALOIDemo!!!! That would be horrible! But, what are your opinions on the matter? Which one would you buy if they did? Which one would you not buy? Would it even matter to you? To the notion that I should focus on more outside of Vocaloid, I intend to! I would enjoy someone starting me out on all of these programs so I could make a video on promoting these “I can’t believe it’s not Vocaloid” brands. I just like hearing music, and right now, it’s healthy competition. But if the most famous brand, Vocaloid, forks into 2 or hundreds, you can bet others will fall as well, because making music would be a past time… a very expensive past time! Not that video gaming isn’t, but let’s be honest, video games come down after a few years and last decades. Vocaloids are just constantly updated and prices rarely drop when not on sale, and in fact increase due to unavailability of the product. Like how can you get a physical copy of Vocaloid 5?
Either way, I just wanted to say that I love you all, and would really love to know your input. I appreciate you reading all this word garble, but I make things because I feel like it and want to. For if you make a video or post that you don’t feel like making, it won’t be genuine! I hope my language of love reaches your heart enough to Like and Share everything you’ve read here!
OH- and don’t get me started on LANGUAGE PROBLEMS in the fork- GHA~