【我加的音乐】 洛天依 演唱的歌曲 为了你唱下去。| 网易云音乐 | 哔哩哔哩动画
【我加的视频】 Vsinger Live 2017 洛天依全息演唱会【官方录播完整版】| 哔哩哔哩动画
SHANGHAI — The lights dimmed, and a euphoric buzz overtook the thousands of young people who had packed themselves into Shanghai's Mercedes-Benz Arena for the evening's entertainment.
As he waved his glow stick and chanted along with his peers, 16-year-old fan Shen Zhong kept his eyes trained on the stage where his idol would soon appear. The high schooler had traveled around 1,700 kilometers to be there for the concert in late July, and he didn't want to miss a moment.
16 岁的粉丝沈中挥舞着手中的荧光棒，和他的同伴呼喊着口号，眼睛紧盯着舞台的方向。他的偶像很快就要粉墨登场了。这名高中生赶了 1700 多公里路来看这场七月末的演唱会，他一分一秒都不想错过。
But the pigtailed object of Shen's infatuation, appearing that evening in a strapless sky-blue dress, is not human. Rather, she is a computer program — a digitally composed holographic figure called Luo Tianyi, whose prerecorded form dances and sings across a vast screen in front of adoring fans.
Created in 2012 as a collaborative project by Japanese conglomerate Yamaha Corporation and Chinese virtual celebrity company Thstars, Luo Tianyi holds the title of China's first virtual singer, following a wave of success among similar virtual stars in Japan. For most of her short life, she has existed only in the online world, but July's concert — Luo Tianyi's second — is a sign that her developers see marketable demand for "live" performance. In the words of Thstars' general manager, Cao Pu, Luo Tianyi is ready to "break the wall between the two-dimensional world and the three-dimensional world."
洛天依是由日本巨头雅马哈和中国虚拟偶像公司天矢禾念在 2012 年合作推出的。她是中国第一位虚拟歌姬，她还有好些相似的日本虚拟明星前辈都取得了巨大的成功。在还并不长的歌姬生涯当中，她多半只在网络世界中存在。但七月的这场演唱会则是她的开发者看到“演唱会表演”的市场需求的一个信号。在禾念总经理曹璞的口中，洛天依已经做好了“打破次元壁”的准备。
The term erciyuan, or "two-dimensional world," is used interchangeably with "ACG" in China to refer to the Japanese-influenced subculture surrounding anime, comics, and games that not only attracts hordes of fans, but also inspires them to contribute to active fandoms through user-generated content (UGC).
In fact, UGC lies at the heart of virtual singers like Luo Tianyi. While her appearance and movements are crafted by Thstars technicians, her musical body of work is almost entirely crowdsourced. Any songwriter with enough technical and musical know-how can input lyrics and melodies into a music editing program to be synthesized based on a bank of vocals provided by a voice actor.
Songs are often uploaded to online video-sharing communities like Bilibili, an enclave for China's multifarious world of ACG and the chief organizer of Luo Tianyi's July concert. If a song goes viral, there is a good chance it will be purchased by Thstars to be used in live performances, with the song's creator receiving a one-off payment from the company.
这些歌曲通常会被传到像 B 站这样的网站上，这些网站是中国 ACG 多元世界的自留地，也是天依七月演唱会的主要组织者。如果一首歌火起来的话，就有很大可能会被禾念买下版权，在现场演唱会上使用，歌曲的创作者则会收到禾念的一笔一次性费用。
One such song that has gone down particularly well with Luo Tianyi's fans is "In Praise of a Thousand-Year Recipe," which she performed at the recent Shanghai concert. In it, she sings about gorging on all kinds of food as a response to the trials and tribulations of living in this "big and chaotic world":
Donkey burger and sticky pork rice
Sweet-and-sour pork tenderloin, Tiger's claw pastry and glutinous rice rolls
糖醋里脊 老虎爪 驴打滚
Don't forget stinky tofu
The lyrics might seem trivial to some, but not to Shen, whose relationship with Luo Tianyi is deeply emotional. The high schooler and only child, who hails from Changchun in northeastern China's Jilin province, speaks of Luo Tianyi as an innocent-minded and pure-hearted younger sister. "Before she came into my life, I felt a bit lonely," he said, adding that she has filled an empty space in his heart. "Even though she doesn't talk to me face to face in real life, or live with me, or eat with me, having someone like her who can communicate with me gives me such happiness and fulfillment."
Before [Luo Tianyi] came into my life, I felt a bit lonely.
- Shen Zhong, Luo Tianyi fan
Luo Tianyi's rising popularity since her creation five years ago suggests that she resonates with many others like Shen. Over 1.7 million people follow her official account on microblogging platform Weibo, thousands have uploaded user-generated songs to Bilibili, some fans share their own cartoon renderings of her in different outfits on social media, and still others even dress up like her.
自从五年前天依诞生以来，她的知名度不断上涨，有了很多像小沈一样的粉丝。洛天依的官方微博有超过 170 万人关注，B 站上有数以千计的人上传她的歌曲，有些粉丝会在社交媒体上发表天依穿着不同衣服的绘画作品，还有些人会穿衣服 cos 她。
Fans' engagement with Luo Tianyi is at the root of the virtual celebrity concept, Cao told Sixth Tone. "Luo Tianyi is not created by us — we merely provide a platform for her," Cao said. "You can think of her as an alien, an earthling, a maid, or a queen — she can be everything and anything."
Targeting fans between the ages of 10 and 30, Thstars decided to introduce Luo Tianyi to the real world in emulation of the success of Hatsune Miku, possibly the world's most famous holographic star. Since her debut in 2007, the Japanese virtual singer has toured internationally, appeared in numerous advertisements, and spawned a whole host of related merchandise.
禾念的目标粉丝群体年龄在十岁到三十岁之间。它之所以决定把天依带到现实世界，是借鉴了初音未来的成功经验——后者可能是世界范围内最出名的全息明星。初音未来自从 2007 年诞生以来，已经在世界范围内巡回演出，接了数不胜数的广告，衍生了一大票相关的周边商品。
Luo Tianyi's first foray into the 3-D world came in February 2016, when she appeared live on Hunan Television's Spring Festival gala in a duet with '90s pop diva Yang Yuying. "After we appeared on a mainstream media platform, people started to recognize us," said Cao. "They were like, 'Wow, that's awesome.'"
天依第一次闯入现实世界，是在 2016 年 2 月在湖南卫视春晚上和“90 年代歌坛玉女”杨钰莹 同台演唱。“我们在主流媒体露面之后，人们就开始注意我们。”曹璞说，“他们的样子就像是说‘哇，好棒’这样。”
Virtual idol Luo Tianyi appears on screen at a concert in Shanghai, July 21, 2017. Wu Yue/Sixth Tone
Following her live performance debut, Luo Tianyi sang the theme song for the Chinese version of the film "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows"; performed alongside five other Thstars virtual singers at the company's first official concert in June; and, most recently, featured at the July gig that Shen attended.
在其首场演唱会之后，洛天依还与禾念旗下的另外五个虚拟歌姬一道，在 6 月禾念的首次官方音乐会上合唱了《忍者神龟：破影而出》的中文版主题曲；再接下来就是七月小沈参加的这场大秀。
Despite Cao's faith in Luo Tianyi's real-world prospects, the singer's popularity has not translated into profit, even though attendees paid up to 1,280 yuan (around $190) per ticket for the nearly sold-out June concert. Staying true to Luo Tianyi's UGC beginnings, Thstars is at the mercy of fan-made songs going viral, which can be something of a waiting game.
虽然曹璞对于天依在现实世界的大红大紫抱有信心，但是天依的这种知名度尚未能够盈利，即便演唱会门票高达 1280 元人民币（约 190 美元），并且 6 月的那场门票几近售罄。禾念出于天依“由用户创造内容”的初心，对粉丝制作且爆红的歌曲作品持宽容态度，这像是一场有关“等待”的游戏。
Yet not everyone in the industry is wedded to the UGC model. Ren Li, a former developer at Thstars who left the company in 2015 to set up a rival virtual celebrity firm, is taking a different tack. Ren, whom Yamaha appointed in 2011 to develop Luo Tianyi, is the founder of Shanghai WangCheng Information Technology Co. Ltd., which launched its first three virtual celebrities in May.
但是在这个行业当中，并非所有人都赞成“用户创造内容”的模式。任力是前禾念开发者，于 2011 年受雅马哈委托开发洛天依。他于 2015 年离开禾念，创建了一家与之竞争的虚拟偶像公司，采取了不同的模式策略。这家公司叫上海望乘信息科技有限公司，在五月发布了旗下的三个虚拟歌姬。
Luo Tianyi is not created by us — we merely provide a platform for her.
- Cao Pu, Thstars general manager
"China isn't ready for UGC," Ren told Sixth Tone. "Of all the songs created for Luo Tianyi, how many are popular?" Instead, Shanghai WangCheng enlists the talents of professional composers, songwriters, and producers to create content.
However, Cao believes that given enough time, China's amateur online composers can churn out better songs. "When Hatsune Miku first came out, the quality of her songs was criticized, too," Cao said. She likened songwriting to the process of learning to write Chinese characters: "The first character you write may be ugly, but after you write hundreds of characters, your writing will become much better."
Despite their different visions, both Cao and Ren believe that the Chinese mainstream is ready for virtual singers — even though neither Thstars nor Shanghai WangCheng is turning a profit just yet. " Erciyuan has become a social phenomenon," said Ren. "Even those who know nothing about erciyuan at least know the word."
For Shen — who said he doesn't have many friends back home in Changchun — Luo Tianyi's foray into the real world has brought him further companionship, allowing him to meet scores of fellow devotees at the July concert. "I found that just by exchanging a few words with the people around me," he said, "in that moment, we became great friends."
Editor: Owen Churchill.
(Header image: Fans wave glow sticks at a virtual idol concert in Shanghai, July 21, 2017. Wu Yue/Sixth Tone)