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The video: Even by the tech-mad standards of Japan — where a robot is currently starring in a play — virtual songstress Hatsune Miku is pushing the envelope. She began life as an animated character conceived to promote Yamaha's "singer in a box" Vocaloid technology (which is used to create her synthesized voice). Then she became a chart-topping recording star. Finally, in March, a 3D hologram version of Miku began touring — thanks to the magic of Crypton Future Media — with a live band, selling out concerts. (View a clip below.)
The reaction: "The sight of thousands of screaming fans waving glow sticks while the the holograph 'performs' on stage is straight out of a science fiction novel," says Nicholas Graham in The Huffington Post, who calls Miku a "terrible omen not only for musicians but also the continued existence of the world as we know it." A virtual "pop princess" has her virtues, says Robert Michael Poole at CNNGo. You can "forget the tantrums, entourage, and ridiculous riders," and, in an industry where 25 is over-the-hill, she'll stay 16 forever. Watch Miku perform "live" here: