WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF
Everything you watch through a screen is just a collection of digital pixels, and as AI gets better at generating synthetic content real human performers could be less relevant …
As I continue to watch the rise of new virtual artists and influencers, from Japan to the USA, like Lil Miquela and many others, K-Pop girl band aespa has announced that it’s adding a new member to its ranks named “ae-KARINA.” But there’s something different about this particular band member. She’s an entirely virtual, computer generated avatar, not a real singer like her fellow band members.
The band, licensed under SM Entertainment, confirmed that its work will feature both real life and “virtual” band members. The backstory of ae-KARINA says she’s 20 years old, from Korea — and the digital counterpart to the band’s IRL band member Karina, also a 20 year old from Korea.
See the newest band member being introduced
The pair reportedly have “various skills including vocals, rap, and dance,” according to English-language k-pop site Soompi.
A new video uploaded by the site introduces the virtual avatar and discusses how the various band members connect with her via social media. It’s not clear who will be running the virtual band member’s accounts.
The South Korean entertainment industry is no stranger to putting a digital avatar on stage. For instance, the band K/DA is entirely virtual and was created by Riot Games, the developer behind the popular online battle game “League of Legends.”
Hatsune Miku, an entirely computer-generated “Vocaloid” powered by a Japanese media company, also was set to perform at Coachella this year, but as you may have heard, basically every major music event, including Coachella, was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic. And while that’s a crying shame who knows, maybe next year some of these virtual influencers will forgo appearing at live events altogether and instead attend some of the new spectacular mixed reality events, like League of Legends Worlds event that I wrote about recently, instead.