Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

Subscribe in a reader
K-pop: The ascent of the virtual young lady groups

Endlessness is a K-pop band produced utilizing man-made intelligence innovation - every one of her individuals are virtual

Since delivering their presentation single I'm Truly in 2021, K-pop young lady bunch Forever have piled up large number of perspectives on the web.

They sing, dance and interface with their fans very much like some other band.

As a matter of fact, there's basically one major distinction among them and some other pop gathering you could be aware - every one of the 11 individuals are virtual characters.

Non-people, hyper-genuine symbols made with man-made reasoning.

"The business we are making with Endlessness is another business. I believe it's another classification," says Park Jieun, the lady behind Endlessness.

"The upside of having virtual specialists is that, while K-pop stars frequently battle with actual restrictions, or even mental trouble since they are individuals, virtual craftsmen can be liberated from these."

The social tsunami of Korean pop has turned into a multibillion-dollar force over the course of the past ten years. With its infectious tunes, cutting edge creation and smooth dance schedules, K-pop has crushed into the worldwide standard, becoming one of South Korea's most worthwhile and powerful products.

In any case, the top K-pop stars, their armies of faithful fans, and the entrepreneurs hoping to gain by their prosperity are planning ahead.

With the blast of computerized reasoning (man-made intelligence), deepfake and symbol innovations, these pop icons are bringing their notoriety into a totally different aspect.


BLACKPINKIMAGE SOURCE,YG ENTERTAINMENT
Image caption,
K-pop superstars Blackpink are also using the metaverse to reach a wider audience

The virtual faces of Eternity's members were created by deep learning tech company Pulse9. Park Jieun is the organisation's CEO.

Initially the company generated 101 fantasy faces, dividing them into four categories according to their charms: cute, sexy, innocent and intelligent.

Fans were asked to vote on their favourites. In-house designers then set to work animating the winning characters according to the preferences of the fans.

For live chats, videos and online fan meets, the avatar faces can be projected onto anonymous singers, actors and dancers, contracted in by Pulse9.

The technology acts like a deepfake filter, bringing the characters to life.

"Virtual characters can be perfect, but they can also be more human than humans," Park Jieun tells BBC 100 Women.

As deepfake technology moves into the mainstream, there have been concerns that it could be used to manipulate people's images without permission or generate dangerous misinformation.

Women have reported having their faces put into pornographic films, while deepfakes of Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Volodymr Zelensky of Ukraine have been shared on social media sites.

"I'm always trying to make it clear that these are fictional characters," says the CEO.

She says Pulse9 uses the European Union's draft ethical AI guidelines when making their avatars.

EternityIMAGE SOURCE,PULSE9
Image caption,
Virtual characters, like this one from Eternity, can be 'more human than humans,' says tech businesswoman Park Jieun

And Park Jieun sees other advantages in virtual bands where each avatar can be controlled by their creators.

"The scandal created by real human K-pop stars can be entertaining, but it's also a risk to the business," says the CEO.

She believes she can put these new technologies to good use and minimise risks for overstressed and pressurised K-pop artists trying to keep up with the demands of the industry.

Over the past years, K-pop made headlines for various social issues - from dating gossip to online trolling, fat-shaming and extreme dieting of band members.

The genre has also spurred a conversation about mental health and cyberbullying in South Korea, after the tragic death of young K-pop stars, which many believe had a significant impact on their following.

In 2019, singer and actress Sulli was found dead in her apartment, aged 25. She had taken a break from the entertainment industry, after reportedly "suffering physically and mentally from malicious and untrue rumours spreading about her".

Her close friend Goo Hara, another bright K-pop artist, was also found dead at her home in Seoul soon after. Before taking her own life, Goo was fighting for justice after secretly being filmed by a boyfriend, and was being viciously abused online for that.

Threat or aid?

For the human stars working around the clock to train, perform and interact with their fans, having some avatar assistance in the virtual world could provide some relief.

Han Yewon, 19, is the lead vocalist of newly launched girl group mimiirose, managed by YES IM Entertainment in South Korea.

She spent almost four years as a trainee, waiting for her opportunity to be thrust into the limelight - and one of many candidates who had to undertake monthly evaluations. Those who didn't show sufficient progress were let go.

"I worried a lot about not being able to debut," says Yewon.

Han Yewon
Image caption,
Han Yewon is a human lead vocalist of K-pop girl group mimiirose

Becoming a K-pop star doesn't happen overnight. And with new groups making their debut every year, it can be hard to stand out.

"I went to work around ten in the morning and did my vocal warm-ups for an hour. After that, I sang for two or three hours, I danced for three to four hours and worked out for another two hours", says the vocalist.

"We practised for more than 12 hours in total. But if you aren't good enough, you end up staying longer."

Yet the prospect of virtual avatars flooding the industry worries Yewon, who says that fans appreciate her authenticity.

"Because technology has improved so much lately, I'm afraid that virtual characters will take the place of human idols," she says.

EternityIMAGE SOURCE,PULSE9
Image caption,
Band members' faces are created using AI technology

Other K-pop groups, however, have been quick to adopt new avatar technologies - and the business is forecasted to grow steadily.

The digital human and avatar market size is estimated to reach $527.58bn (£429bn) globally by 2030, according to projections by market consulting company Emergen Research.

At least four of K-pop's biggest entertainment companies are investing heavily in virtual elements for their stars, and five of the top-earning K-pop groups of 2022 are getting in on the trend.

Using virtual copies of themselves allow them to reach fans across time zones and language barriers - in ways that flesh-and-blood artists would never be able to do.

Girl band aespa, for instance, consists of four human singers and dancers (Karina, Winter, Giselle and Ningning) and their four virtual counterparts - known as ae-Karina, ae-Winter, ae-Giselle and ae-Ningning. The avatars can explore virtual worlds with the fans and be used across multiple platforms.

aespa girl bandIMAGE SOURCE,SM ENTERTAINMENT
Image caption,
Girl band aespa has four human members and four virtual avatars

While chart-topping girl band, Blackpink made history with the help of their virtual twins, winning the first-ever MTV award for Best Metaverse Performance in 2022.

More than 15 million people from around the world tuned in to popular online gaming platform PUBGM to watch the group's avatars perform in real time.

During the Covid-19 pandemic Moon Sua and her K-pop group Billlie had to cancel their live performances and fan meets. Instead, the band's management company created virtual copies of band members, to throw a party for fans in the virtual world.

"Since it was our first time doing it, we were a bit clumsy," says Sua.

BilllieIMAGE SOURCE,MYSTIC STORY
Image caption,
All-human band Billlie took advantage of the metaverse to communicate with fans during the pandemic

"But as time went by, we got used to it, talking with the fans while adapting to the virtual world. We had such a good time."

Moon Sua was impressed by how real the group's avatars looked, but says she still prefers to meet with their followers in person.

"I don't think it's something threatening. Maybe we can learn skills from watching them? I don't think they are a threat that can replace us," says the band's main rapper.


 

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post