Author: Ding Wanren
On May 10, 2022, countless people heard the sound of broken dreams.
This afternoon, Jiale, a member of the virtual idol group a-soul, announced that it would terminate the live broadcast and enter "sleep" and would no longer engage in virtual idol activities in the future.
It is not uncommon for idols to graduate, but with the gradual spread and confirmation of the news, fans found that their idols are most likely to leave because of work exhaustion. The experiences of idols includeLeg injury due to mobile capture equipment, industrial injury due to long-term performance, and income far lower than expectedWait.
It is basically confirmed that it is the message screenshot of jiale.com Yiyun account
The virtual images in front of the screen are bright and lively, and the people who can play them are scarred.
A-soul is jointly launched by Lehua and byte beat"Virtual Idol"Later, for unknown reasons, Lehua gradually faded away from the plan. Now the plan is completely subordinate to the game company of byte beat.
If you see the concept of "virtual Idol" for the first time, you can understand it asThe real person sets up a two-dimensional imageCome out and play virtual roles, sing and dance in real time, or interact with the audience in front of the screen.
A-soul live screenshot shows that the person playing the little pink man in the physical world was really picked up and swayed twice
In the virtual idol / virtual Anchor world, a-soul can be said to beFault leading head planning, member jiaran is the top 100 up Master of station B and the protagonist of this eventJialeI've been on CCTV news and won the title of the strongest fleet of the year broadcast live on station B in 2021.
Image of Jiale in CCTV-2 news
The fleet can be understood as a paid member group in the live broadcasting room of station B. the audience needs to recharge at least station B138 yuanTo get on the ship in the live broadcasting room, and at Jiale's birthday party last year, the number of captains broke through12 thousand。
This is not the result of guild or lottery, butActually, there are so many real people paying。 According to the analysis of the fans after climbing the captain's data, nearly 90% of the users of station B on the ship at Jiale birthday party are level 5 and level 6.
It is not easy to raise the number of robot navy to level 5 and 6, which is almost impossible | bilibilibili @ a-soul data set
In May this year, the momentum of a-soul remained unchanged, and Jiale has been participating in the work. It also participated in the last live broadcast before the announcement, but on May 10,The official suddenly sent a message, announcing that Jiale terminated the live broadcast and entered "sleep"。
Don't talk about fans. It's all personalFeel strange, Mingming's plan is still on the rise and the future is bright. How can anyone quit at this time?
Fans have been calling on the authorities to come out and explain the situation. In the clarification live broadcast on May 11, fans found that,Jiale and other members have been suggesting that they are really having a bad timeIn addition, Jiale matched the secret code with the fans and made the fans confirm that the previous account with Netease cloud ID of "sansongxu" belonged to Jiale, which further strengthened the credibility of many rumors.
A-soul fans and planningThe emotional stickiness is very high and the willingness to pay is very strong, Jiale's station B dress up costs 45 yuan and is limited to 55555 copies. Fans can buy all these dresses in 4 minutes.
Therefore, a-soul has huge economic benefits. Even the prospectus of Lehua said that the operating revenue of Lehua's Pan entertainment increased by 79.6% because of a-soul .
As a result, fans found that they paid money and paid enthusiasm, hoping to make the plan bigger, but in the endThe idols they love don't seem to get any benefits, even overdrawn his body and suffered workplace bullying.
The more pure and beautiful the original dream is, the greater the gap and blow brought by reality to them.
Some feelings of fans | BiliBili @ where's my bed in the comment area
This is not the first time,Idol industry is mixed with the pain of many practitioners。
Even inIn the traditional live idol industry, the vast majority of idols are also controlled and exploited by the company, what can best reflect this is reflected in the legal documents signed in black and whiteUnequal rights and responsibilities。
In a paper on the performance brokerage contract, the author mentioned that the rights and obligations of brokerage companies and artists are completely unequal,The company has more rights but less obligations, and the artist has less rights but more obligations。
Taking a contract dispute case as an example, the author mentioned that the rights of the brokerage company include "daily management of the artist, the right to use the artist's image, name and works", and the obligations are only“Pay the income to Party B in time and in full according to the agreed proportion”。
In contrast, the rights that artists can hold include "the right to get performance opportunities and publicity resources arranged by Party A",There are many kinds of obligation clausesIn particular, the assumption of liability for breach of contract,There are as many as six articles and more than 20 sub categories on artists' liability for breach of contractIt covers almost all possible activities of artists.
And the author of the paper found that in the agreement of liquidated damages,It only stipulates the liquidated damages for artists' breach of contract, and there is no provision requiring the company to pay liquidated damages。
After being solidified by the entertainment ecosystem, this imbalance of rights and responsibilities has become the operatorMeans to increase fans' stickiness and earn fans' money, the worse the company treats artists, the more there are problems of inadequate resources and unfair treatment, the more distressed the remaining fans will be and the stronger the emotional connection with idols will be.
Such systemNot only can crush idols, but also fans, it is very convenient for the operator. Therefore, although the atmosphere of "abusing fans" and "fixing fans" in the entertainment industry has been scolded, it continues to appear.
Virtual idols, exploitation further
Real idols pursue their dreams for "themselves". Artists can endure the injustice because of the expectation that "they can shine on the stage in the future".
But what about virtual idols? Virtual imageNot their own, which means they areOrdinary workers, even they have to hand over part of their "self-image" and become a production tool in the hands of the organization.
This means that the stage of the performance has been alienated into a sweatshop.
In the traditional factory employment mode, employers willCreate working conditionsTo provide workers withLabor tools and means of production, workers providelabor forceIn exchange for wages to maintain a basic life .
When the virtual image is in the hands of the organization, the career of "virtual Idol" fully conforms to this model.
What are the opportunities for song and dance training, live studio and brand cooperation provided by the operatorCreate working conditions, the avatar istool of productionThe idol activity is to play that person in a specific period of time,Pay labor and produce cultural products。
In this model, workers have a great influence on the factoryPersonal attachmentYes, yesNatural with weakness, when there is an obvious possibility of oppression in a system, driven by interests, systematic exploitation will appear in large numbers.
In the face of exploitation and injustice, if artists have a sense of resistance, real idols can also make some resistance with their own identity. Although most of the communication channels are in the hands of the company, they themselves and their fans are at leastMutual knowledgeYes, fans can know that it is the idol who speaks.
Voice of real idol on microblog | microblog @ Cai Zhengjie
But for virtual idols, according to the current industry rules, the information of "people in the middle" should be kept confidential for reasons such as maintaining a sense of mystery. In other words,The vast majority of virtual idols / virtual anchors have no real-world identity。
If the "man in the middle" encounters injustice and wants to make a voice, it's justProve that "I" is "I"In this matter, there is great difficulty.
Classic dilemma: how do strangers know that "I" is "I"? Sketch "unlock"
It is doomed to be incomplete and difficult to speak to fans without virtual image. Speaking to fans with virtual image is easy to be regarded asHalf true and half false role play。
Jiale said in the live broadcast that she had no money, and the previous audience didn't take it seriously | BiliBili @ where's my bed
In the storm brought by Jiale dormancy, it can be said that fans and Jiale themselvesBy the way, countless codesOnly then did I know the other party's identity outside the symbol of "Jiale",Confirmed that unfair treatment does exist。
Although there are various problems in the career of virtual idol, in the past, a-soul brought great benefits to the audienceMoving is real：
"They laugh, I laugh, they cry. I want to comfort them, but I reach out and find that they are cut off by the screen, but that doesn't matter" | Douban soul group @ watchman on the ship
Fans will also hold hands with them across the screen and swear:
Saibosai no? Taisaibo, this | Douban soul group @ dragon 276
Even if it is a virtual image, the audience will still have a strong emotional connection with the person who plays it and build a“Quasi social relations”(parasocial relationship) , establish relationships with performersLong term, lasting and stableConnection.
Different from the general social relationship, this "quasi social relationship" isUnidirectionalHowever, the psychological distance between fans and idols is very close.
The behaviors of fans in quasi social relationship include but are not limited to:
This quasi social relationshipIt is warm and powerful, idols do bring joy and comfort to the audience.
Studies have shown that after experiencing emotional crisis, those who watched their favorite programs and received quasi social relationship support, theyNegative emotions, rejection and loneliness were relieved。
Therefore, after receiving goodwill and support, fans will naturally want to repay the idol. In addition to the most straightforward money, a-soul fans will design exquisite, interesting and stemmed surroundings for the idol:
Fans imitate IKEA style design draft. There are also six pieces of Douban soul group @ eb2004 with such quality
It will also spontaneously build websites for fans for free:
The branch network check service has been suspended, and the map cannot be intercepted. What a pity | bilibilibili @ oldking139
Everything fans do for the planning of virtual idols - Planning Amway to others, creating peripheral products, and discussing under the planning works - is actuallyFree emotional labor。Out of sincerity, fans can do many things for the operator, and the final economic benefits fall into the hands of the operator.
Capital will continuously enlarge this real emotional demand, and then use itSeeking benefits and values, forming the commodity logic and market logic of controlling emotion .
Originally, the management, idols and fans got what they needed. In fact, fans will acquiesce that the management occupies a dominant position, but as long as the idols they care about can live better, fans will be very happy.
However, the low-cost operation using the emotion of fans may still have to pay a high cost in the end, people's feelings are sincere, unpredictable and difficult to control.
Operators may one day realize that free is the most expensive. When the feelings of fans are betrayed,Endless enthusiasm turns into endless anger。
True feelings of fans | BiliBili @ bellakira comment area
If there is contempt for people, feelings and "reality" in the operationEach of these belittles will bring backfire。
Is it technology or people that matters?
Fans of "a-soul" tend to hold a kind of pride of choice, with a kind of pride"A-soul exception theory"I think a-soul is a unique plan, which is completely different from other virtual idols / virtual anchors. Relying on large companies, the project is not bad for money, and the "people in the middle" will certainly have a brighter future.
"Big hand of capital" is a meme | Douban soul group commonly used by a-soul fans
But the reality tells fans,As long as the virtual operator has the absolute advantage of making changes, so long as the virtual operator does not have the absolute advantage, under the logic of maximizing the return on capital, we can completely ignore the "people in the middle" and fans.
To solve the complex problems in this industry, we need to face the existing system,You can't just expect one or two well intentioned "exceptions"。
A-soul was established by technology, and its operating company is actually aGame companyTherefore, the company can regard this as technology accumulation. As long as the model can work, a "Jiale" is dispensable for them, and they can use technology to make more money.
To be honest, considering the difficulty of 3D live capture, the work of technical engineers, planning directors, art designers and other personnel is also very important,The dream of a-soul is not just set up by the five members。
But this incident caused such a big response because from the details,There is indeed a bad working environment and unfair distribution of benefits in the industry。 The more beautiful and lovely the appearance of the virtual idol is, the more sincere and strong the emotion of fans betting on the virtual idol, which reflects how embarrassed and miserable the practitioners with physical and mental injuries are.
Whether the staff behind the scenes or the idol himself, are they respected in this project? Either the "man in the middle" or the technicians,Do organizations treat them as replaceable tools or as unique people？
"Graduation" or "dormancy", no matter what the name is. If the root problem is not solved, the virtual idol who quits now will never be the last in this industry.
Don't treat people as firewood or three-stage rocket boosters that can be thrown out of use。 No matter how vast the envisaged meta universe is, no one lives in it, it is just a dead city.
Under the "leather cover", how are the people in the selected? Can everyone become a virtual anchor?
When returning to real life, how do people in the world view reality and dream time?
The second item pushed this time is the application process of a middle-aged person. She recorded the tip of the iceberg of this industry with her practical experience.
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 Ran Siwei (2021). Identification of labor relations of network anchor (Master's thesis, Southwest University of science and Technology)
 Dibble, J. L., Hartmann, T., & Rosaen, S. F. (2016). Parasocial interaction and parasocial relationship: Conceptual clarification and a critical assessment of measures. Human Communication Research, 42(1), 21-44.
Derrick, J. L., Gabriel, S., & Hugenberg, K. (2009). Social surrogacy: How favored television programs provide the experience of belonging. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 45(2), 352-362.
 Li mengke (2021). From "emotional labor" to "excessive consumption" -- Reconstruction of the relationship between idols and fans and alienation of power News Research Guide (11), 33-35
 Pandy (2018). Emotional consumption: Research on "reward" behavior in chat webcast (Master's thesis, East China Normal University)