[From the Scholastic/New York Times magazine Upfront (for teens)]
The Hologram Rock Star
Sixteen-year-old Hatsune Miku filled stadiums of adoring fans on a recent concert tour. Her albums have topped Japan's music charts. She's attracted more than 55,000 Facebook followers. Oh, and one other thing worth noting: She's totally fake. Miku is a singing digital avatar created by Crypton Future Media in Sapporo, Japan. Crypton's software, which retails for about $200, allows anyone to write lyrics and melodies for avatars to perform on-screen in a lifelike voice synthesized to sound like real-life Japanese pop stars. (A 3-D hologram of Miku performs at her "live" concerts.) Since Miku was introduced to the world in 2007, more than 30,000 songs and movies about her have been created, and you can see many of them on YouTube and the Japanese video-sharing site Nico Nico Douga. Though Miku-mania started in Japan, it's now catching on in the U.S. Last fall, Miku made her first American appearance at the New People center in San Francisco's Japantown.
Caption: Japanese singing sensation Hatsune Miku may be virtual, but she draws large crowds - of real people.
[They make some mistakes such as the "avatars... [performing] on screen" part, when the software just does music. MikuMikuDance (fan-made freeware) does the "on screen" part.]