Author Yu Huiru
Editor Luo Lijuan
The "shock wave" of Jiale sleep event continues.
On the afternoon of May 17, there was no live broadcast of Jiale on the latest weekly schedule released by a-soul's official microblog.
The event originated on May 10. As a domestic virtual idol group "top stream", Jiale, a-soul member, announced that it would enter the "live sleep" state, which triggered great dissatisfaction among fans, relevant disputes and discussions, and even out of the circle. Although the official said that the dormancy of Jiale was due to the influence of "body and study", fans broke out that people in the middle (those who control the virtual anchor for live broadcast) have a series of problems such as bullying and low salary.
A few days ago, Hangzhou Binjiang District human resources and Social Security Bureau replied to the incident on the website of Zhejiang Provincial People's Government: after investigation, according to the internal business planning of the company, it communicated with the members of a-soul team about the renewal of the contract at the end of March. Jiale disagreed with the renewal, and the project team decided to stop the live broadcast of Jiale on May 20.
Hangzhou Binjiang District human resources and Social Security Bureau said that the problem was caused by the change of Jiale brokerage contract. In the investigation, Binjiang District human resources and social security bureau did not find that Hangzhou kanchao Information Consulting Co., Ltd. had salary deduction and forced to sign labor contracts.
Since the official announcement of Jiale has been dormant, the topic of a-soul has been hot on microblogging, post bar and other platforms, and has been on hot search for several times.
Cafe source: Cafe microblog
In fact, Jiale is not the first case of virtual idol dormancy.
On February 26 this year, the first generation of virtual anchor trip love announced that it had entered an indefinite dormancy after the online concert, and it was the dispute among Chinese people that eventually led to trip love's "retreat".
Now it seems that the virtual idol who shouted "never collapse the house" at his debut has been beaten in the face. What industry companies have to think about is how to arrange the team of people behind virtual idols to balance the relationship between the two? Where will the future of virtual idols go?
People familiar with V circle (vtuber, virtual video anchor) may know a-soul, which is the most successful virtual idol project in China.
In November 2020, the virtual idol women's group a-soul was jointly launched by Chaoxi Lightyear, a subsidiary of byte beat, and the brokerage company Lehua entertainment. The five members of the group are Bella, Carol, Eileen, Diana and Ava.
According to the "bad review" of we media, a-soul is different from the ordinary live # 2D model virtual anchor. It needs to adopt the more advanced light capture technology in the mobile capture technology and the equipment at the level of the film industry, with higher accuracy. In the process of video production, many cameras need to be placed on the site, and the people in need should wear special mobile capture clothes to monitor and track the actions through the optical markers they wear. Such a set of equipment usually costs millions. Generally, only the virtual idol operated by the team will adopt 3D.
Therefore, what really enriches virtual idols is the "man in the middle" who provides voice, action and on-the-spot performance behind them. The latter relies on unique voice, dance and other skills, cooperates with equipment, and interacts with fans through live broadcast windows such as Tiktok and station B.
In the first few months of its debut, the official microblog account of a-soul received only 12000 fans, and the first single quiet was only 214000 on station B. NGA, a well-known game forum, rated it as "e-waste".
The turning point comes from the live broadcast of members. Jiaran, a member of the team, performed the housekeeping skill of "dancing 20 house dances in a row" in the first single live broadcast, bringing the audience's attention back to the performance itself from watching jokes. In another live broadcast, jiaran read a fan's diary, recording the daily life of the fan working, working overtime and returning to the suburban rental house alone. Halfway through, jiaran couldn't help but turn around and cry. This kind of jiaran won the hearts of fans.
Jiaran's popularity also brought fire to other members of a-soul. Since then, many people have changed their outlook on a-soul.
A-soul source: a-soul microblog
"A-soul is equivalent to the fan cultivation department. Fans are very dependent on the long-term company of a-soul members and the emotional connection generated in their usual interaction." Zhang Jiamin, co-founder of Shanghai Manfu society, said.
A virtual human industry practitioner believes that the success of a-soul is the result of the combination of people, technology, operation and planning. A-soul can become the most successful virtual idol in China without the support of operating companies and technology, let alone Chinese people. Without the highlight performance of Chinese people in the live broadcast, fans will not directly buy the accounts of capture technology and operation.
Zhang Jiamin also expressed a similar view. In his opinion, the active business and interaction of people behind virtual idols make fans empathy and produce emotional dependence, which is an important reason for the popularity of a-soul.
In the V circle, the people behind the virtual human have to change, which is usually called "graduation". This process requires the operator to be very cautious, because it is easy to collapse the virtual idol.
"For this virtual idol of the cultivation department, fans like the person behind the leather jacket, not the character." Zhang Jiamin told all-weather technology that the feelings and memories between fans and one person in China are difficult to transfer to the next person in China.
A-soul once declared "never collapse house" in its first PV, but this declaration seems ironic when there is a contradiction between the operator and the Chinese people.
In fact, a-soul is not the first virtual idol to collapse. As early as February this year, the first generation of virtual anchor trip AI announced to enter "indefinite sleep" after holding the online concert "Hello World 2022".
Six years ago, trip AI opened its own YouTube channel and delivered its first video, claiming to be the first virtual anchor video blogger, among whom is spring hope. Because the character image and content style are widely praised, the popularity of tripping love has soared all the way since.
Trip love source: trip love microblog
In order to cope with the fierce virtual anchor market, the company launched the "four stumbling love" separation plan. Based on the spring hope of people in the early generation of stumbling love, the company found three stumbling love separation. No. 2 and No. 3 took turns to replace spring hope to play stumbling love, while No. 4 is China stumbling love specially facing Chinese audiences.
Despite the appearance of stumbling love, the differences between actors are very obvious, which also leads to the disgust and protest of fans. They expressed their dissatisfaction through large-scale customs clearance. A large number of fans left tripping love, which was "no longer special" and entered "indefinite sleep".
The success of trip love has an inseparable relationship with people's expectations in spring, and it is also the disputes between operators and people who eventually lead to the dormancy of trip love.
In the live interactive link, the improper speech of the person in the may also lead to the collapse of the virtual idol.
Previously, one of the two virtual idols, Akai shin and Tongsheng cocoa, under holoolive, made insulting remarks against China, which led to the withdrawal of all Japanese virtual idols from the Chinese market.
One and a half years after its establishment, the total number of likes of a-soul in station B reached nearly 5 million, and the microblog fans also reached 1.86 million. They frequently appear in Lehua entertainment family concerts, and their gold absorption ability can not be underestimated.
The current commercial realization of a-soul mainly includes live broadcast revenue and commercial cooperation.
Last year, a-soul member Bella set a record of 10000 captains (the captain's price was 198 yuan / month) on the day of his birthday party, becoming the first "10000 ships" virtual anchor in the history of station B. In January this year, Jiale appeared on CCTV with "the first virtual anchor in revenue". It was reported that in November 2021, the total revenue of the virtual anchor market was 54.66 million yuan, and the monthly revenue of Jiale, the first in revenue, was 2.14 million yuan.
In addition, a-soul has also received promotion cooperation from L'Oreal, KFC, ASUS and other brands. In Tiktok, a-soul stores sell nearly 90000 pieces around.
In March this year, a-soul operating company Lehua entertainment submitted a prospectus to the Hong Kong stock exchange. According to the data, in 2020, the pan entertainment revenue of Lehua entertainment related to virtual artists was 21.1 million yuan, which increased to 37.9 million yuan in 2021, with a year-on-year increase of 79.6%, and the gross profit margin increased from 56.5% in 2020 to 77.7% in 2021.
Lehua publicly acknowledged that the growth of Pan entertainment business revenue was mainly due to the commercial development of virtual artist portfolio a-soul.
However, the virtual idol group with extraordinary gold absorption ability was revealed that the treatment of its people was very low. A big V broke the news in the QQ group chat that the salary of the five members was only "10000 base salary + 1% commission".
Although in a public statement on May 14, the a-soul Production Committee disclosed the income structure, saying that the income structure of team members is 10% of the total flow of monthly fixed income + bonus + live broadcast (station B & Tiktok). His words were still unclear, but his fans didn't explain them clearly.
A-soul source: a-soul microblog
"The core of this matter lies in the operators or institutions of virtual idols and fans, as well as how other groups prioritize all parts of virtual idols." Zhang Jiamin said to all-weather technology.
Usually, a virtual idol consists of "leather case + person in the middle + operator + platform".
"From the perspective of institutions, technology, resources and traffic rank first. Technology is the soul of virtual idols, and the person in the middle is just a migrant worker. But from the perspective of fans, the person in the back is the person in the back, not leather cases and others, so the person in the middle ranks first." Zhang Jiamin said.
Guohai Securities once mentioned in the report that compared with real idols, virtual idols have high controllability and less risk. Objectively, the life of virtual idols tends to be unlimited.
In Zhang Jiamin's view, this is also one of the reasons why the virtual idol industry attracts everyone. However, he said: "when IP gradually becomes popular, people's ideas will change, and the problem of benefit distribution will follow."
"From the current situation, despite the problem of unfair distribution, it is not the capital that has changed the mentality, but the people in the middle or the performers themselves, because the mentality of the capital and institutions is always technology first." A virtual human industry practitioners said.
Chen Jian, CEO of Guangzhou Chuanghuan Digital Technology Co., Ltd., which provides virtual idol business services and cooperates with station B for many times, said: "in the past, people were so naive that someone always mentioned to me that virtual idols can ignore the people in them. I have always firmly opposed this view. I have always stressed that virtual images are skin, and the people in them are the soul of virtual idols."
On May 17, CCTV also commented on the "a-soul" incident, "People first, innovation will have a soul. Only technology first, ignoring people's efforts, and turning people's efforts into cold 'data' assets are a disguised obliteration of individual dignity. This sign is worth pondering and vigilance. While building virtual idols, enterprises should abide by the relevant provisions of the labor law, take human motivation, and never suppress the 'people in the middle' for the sake of praising people and falsely imitating people, so that the real people can become sacrifices Product. "
"After this, everyone should be able to understand the importance of Chinese people." Chen Jian said.
However, not all virtual idols need people in the. For example, some virtual idols, such as the first voice future and Luo Tianyi, which are positioned as singers, rely on human voice synthesis technology to make their voice. They don't need people in the middle without interaction with fans or real-time performance.
"The Kazak sauce we made is a virtual singer who doesn't choose the right person. The brand of Kazak sauce, what records, takes her as a professional artist to create a customized single for her, and then form an album through a single, so as to create a personalized story. The AI technology used during this period can ensure that the virtual idol produces real music content, and its copyright is controlled by the music company itself." Zhang Jiamin said, however, if Kazakh sauce needs to be broadcast live, it is still inseparable from the role of Chinese people.
Kazakh sauce source: Kazakh sauce microblog
In the industry, virtual idols and v-circle virtual anchors actually belong to two ecosystems. Virtual idols prefer content, such as issuing singles and endorsing brands, while virtual anchors prefer company and interaction, such as live playing games and live chat. But now the boundary between the two has been very blurred. Virtual idols will also act as anchors and interact with fans.
The a-soul incident also means that the binding between the middle man and the virtual man is too deep. Once the middle man strikes, the virtual idol may collapse. How to avoid this problem?
"Compared with us, if Kazak sauce needs live broadcast or real-time performance, the Chinese people we use each time are different actors, which avoids over dependence on the Chinese people, because our core is actually the value of the songs launched by Kazak sauce." Zhang Jiamin told all-weather technology that the realization method of HA sauce also mainly comes from the sharing with the music platform after releasing songs.
So, can we "eliminate" the people in the to reduce the risk?
In Zhang Jiamin's view, the Chinese will eventually be replaced by AI. In the future, the language ability of virtual idols will not need the Chinese, but it may take 10 or even 20 years.
Chen Jian mentioned that AI driven virtual idols have no soul and users won't like them.
"But there will be a virtual world in the future. In this world, everyone has a virtual image, so there is no saying of people in the world." Chen Jian said.