Just so the release order is bright and shiny obvious-
Leon/Lola >> Miriam >> Meiko >> Kaito >> Sweet Ann >> Hatsune Miku >> Kagamine twins >> Prima >> Kamui Gakupo >> Megurine Luka >> Megpoid Gumi >> Sonika >> Miki + Kaai Yuki & Hiyama Kiyoteru >> Big Al >> Tonio >> Lily >> VY1 >> Gachappoid >> Nekomura Iroha >> Utatane Piko >> VY2
It's very tl;dr, so if you're hunting information down, just use CTRL-F.
And for your convenience an entire list of the release dates.
LEON - January 15, 2004 (March 3, 2004 (Japan))
LOLA - January 15, 2004 (March 3, 2004 (Japan))
MIRIAM - July 1, 2004 (July 26, 2004 (Japan))
MEIKO - November 5, 2004
KAITO - February 17, 2006(Crypton), February 14, 2006(Yamaha)
Sweet Ann - June 29, 2007 (September 21, 2007 (Japan))
Miku Hatsune - August, 31 2007 (April 30, 2010 (Append))
Rin&Len Kagamine - December 27, 2007(Act1), July 18, 2008 (Act2), December 27, 2010 (Append)
Prima - January 14, 2008 (February 22, 2008 (Japan))
Gackpoid/Gakupo Kamui - July 31, 2008
Luka Megurine - January 30, 2009
Megpoid/GUMI - June 26, 2009
Sonika - July 14, 2009 (August 7, 2009 (Japan))
SF-A2 miki - December 4, 2009
Yuki Kaai - December 4, 2009
Hiyama Kiyoteru - December 4, 2009
Big Al - December 22, 2009 (March 3, 2010 (Japan))
Tonio - July 14, 2010
Lily - August 25, 2010
VY1 "MIZKI" - September 1, 2010
Gachapoid/Ryuto - October 8, 2010
Iroha Nekomura - October 22, 2010
Piko Utatane - December 8, 2010
VY2 "YUUMA" - April 25, 2011
Vocaloid is a singing interface produced by YAMAHA, an enormous corporation that produces musical instruments, motorcycles, power sports equipment, and electronics. The first vocaloid to be announced was KAITO, who’s voice was provided by professional singer Naoto Fuuga. However, the first voicebanks to be released were LEON and LOLA, by British-based company Zero-g Unlimited. The two were revealed at the NAMM show (one of the largest music product trade shows in the world) on January 15, 2004, and later released to the public on March 3 of the same year.
Zero-g followed this release with their next voicebank made with an updated version of the program, Vocaloid Miriam. Her voice was provided by singer Miriam Stockley, and they released her on July 1, 2004.
The next Vocaloid to be released was by Japanese company Crypton Co.; Vocaloid MEIKO, who’s voice was modeled after Meiko Haigo's voice. She was released on November 5, 2004.
Crypton finally released Vocaloid KAITO on Febuary 17, 2006. Unlike the Vocaloids released by Zero-g, both he and MEIKO had attractive, well-designed avatars on their box art. Because of this, their sales were a bit more impressive (barely for KAITO, who’s sales were depressingly low due to his gender).
In January of 2007, YAMAHA announced their new Vocaloid2 interface. Only a month later, Swedish company PowerFX released their first Voicebank, Vocaloid Sweet Ann, marketed as a Lounge Singer type. Her voice was mature but crisp, which struck a comparison with LOLA’s deep contralto voice. The box was drawn in parody of 50s pinups. This backfired horribly as the image was Nightmare Fuel Unleaded, and tended to scare everyone off before they got a chance to consider her voice.
Crypton, at that time, became more aware of the popularity of cute characters and the practical cultural devotion to ‘moé’, a term that can’t be explained with one sentence, but commonly refers to certain attractive features (glasses, certain personality types, etc. etc.). With this in mind, they made Hatsune Miku (初音ミク), first in their new Character Vocal Series, marketed as a ‘virtual idol’, and voiced by cute and high-pitched voice actor Saki Fujita. Her avatar on the box art was designed and drawn by Japanese artist KEI, who incorperated various moé factors into the design.
Hatsune Miku sold rapidly, so much that it went out of stock on the release date, but this was pushed even further when popular Japanese video site NicoNicoDouga began posting their works. One person made a cover song of Ievan Polka, a song almost exclusively known as the background music to a popular meme called ‘leekspin’ (or Loituma Girl). In the video, he made an odd-looking super-deformed Miku swing a leek up and down. Riding the popularity of the original Leekspin, this allowed people to see the possibilities one could have with Hatsune Miku, and there was a burst of cover and original songs. The super-deformed character was dubbed ‘Hachune’, a character later to become officially promoted as a mascot. The leekspin meme was popular on the English half of the internet too, and people slowly began noticing her. This triggered the first step in the development of the ridiculously large fandom for Vocaloid.
Zero-g was still having no luck with the userbase of English-speaking countries. People in the UK and North America didn’t really care for avatars, and the program was used almost exclusively for professional reasons, mostly background vocals.
LEON, was finally brought into the light on the Japanese half of the fandom by ChoiWARU-P, who made a cover of True to my Heart, which is a very popular song. He used Girolamo Panzetta as an avatar, due to the fact he often appeared in the Japanese men’s fashion magazine Leon. The render later made of Panzetta was so ridiculous he became a common comic relief character in Vocaloid videos. The Panzetta render often wears the outfit of Parco Folgore, a character from the TV show Zatch Bell!, because of the parody video of LEON doing his song and dance.
Regardless, Zero-g was still in obscurity. They still aimed at a professional userbase when they released their first Vocaloid2 voicebank; Vocaloid Prima, released January 14, 2008. Her voice was constructed with an opera singer from an academy, and was best for opera and hard rock.
Meanwhile, Crypton was on a rush with the incredible response to Hatsune Miku, and released two voicebanks in one package; Kagamine Rin and Len (鏡音リン・レン). They were a male and female, using the deal of two voicebanks to play making a male safe, influenced by KAITO’s bad sales. They were released on December 27, 2007, voiced by Shimoda Asami , a singer best known for her role in a THE iDOLM@STER, a pop-star-based raising simulation game. KEI also designed them, with a sailor uniform theme in mind. Unfortunately, the second in the Character Vocal Series did not sell quite as quickly, and it became evident why; their voices were of extremely poor quality, even worse than the voices in the first Vocaloid program. Len did not sound male or 14, as the avatar information implied. In early July 2008, Crypton released Act.2, with refined programming and voice samples. Those that bought the original received the update for free. The pickup was fast and they were firmly accepted members of the Vocaloid "family" image.
The items associated with them (stating character items being a tradition of the fandom by now) slowly became defined to be bananas, tangerines, and a road roller.
Vocaloid was like a virus, snaring in fans everywhere. Hatsune Miku’s influence boosted previously depressing sales. An innocent video of Miku singing to KAITO, asking everyone to remember him and leaving off to ‘what is that person doing now’, was replied with ‘I was eating ice cream’. KAITO shot up as one of the most popular vocaloids and had Ice Cream as his item. A frustrated MEIKO user who’s Miku package was late made a collection of songs, often featuring her drinking the saké brand One Cup Ozeki. Her popularity was boosted, but not nearly as much, and saké became her item. The fandom formed personalities for them, and they became the ‘family’.
Vocaloid had reached international fame by now. It was something of a culture; people who produced songs had a –P suffix, music video (PV) artists were held in high regard, and you couldn't go to an anime convention without seeing someone dressed as one (costumes being common at such events). Anime fans were confused with the obsessive nature and mistook Vocaloid songs as the soundtrack for an anime.
Media, of course, was affected. On November 26, 2007, Comic Rush began running a manga drawn by KEI, Maker Hikoshiki Hatsune Mix.
On May 22, 2008, Pangya started a campaign for Vocaloid outfits in the game.
On August 27, 2008, Livetune released an album; Re:Package. It sold over 20,000 copies, and was 5th in Oricon charts that week.
Vocaloids continued to be made. A new company (also Japanese based) Internet Co. hired world-famous singer Camui Gackt to voice Gackpoid (dubbed Kamui Gakupo (神威がくぽ) by fans), with the box art avatar drawn and designed by the artist of the manga Berserk, Kentarou Miura. The voicebank was released July 31, 2008. Despite the fact Gackt was the voice provider, he didn’t sell as well as Crypton’s releases. Regardless, he still had a steady level of popularity.
Crypton was still going strong. They came out with Vocaloid Megurine Luka(巡音ルカ), voiced by Yuu Asakawa. She had a soft, smooth voice that specialized in jazz and light rock. They made up for her lack of versatility in music genre by giving her the ability to sing in both Japanese and English. She was released on January 30, 2009. Like the others in the CV series, KEI designed and drew her. Her design was met with skepticism, but her sales were spectacular all the same, with the English fanbase jumping at the English-speaking option.
Even then Vocaloid was still on a steady incline in popularity. On June 10, 2009, Shimoda Asami released a CD consisting of multiple songs done by the Kagamine twins. On July 2, 2009, Sega released a rhythm game for the PSP entitled Project Diva. Playable characters were Hatsune Miku, KAITO, MEIKO, Kagamine Rin and Len, Megurine Luka, and three iconic fanmades Yowane Haku, Akita Neru, and Sakine Meiko. Songs featured in the game included works from Supercell, Oster Project, and other famous producers.
On March 28, 2009, Macne Nana, a plugin for the Garageband program, was released. Coincidentally, she also costed money, so she was quickly ported into UTAU, which actually made her voice sound smoother. Her sister Macne Coco would be released later the same year.
On August 23, 2009, Hatsune Miku became so popularity she had a live concert at Anemelo Summer Live, using transparent screens projecting a 3-D model. She is scheduled to have another concert in Singapore as well, which would be her first overseas appearance.
The release rate was still going steady. Internet Co. used yet another infamous voice, Nakajima Megumi, who is known best for her widely popular roll as Ranka Lee in Macross Frontier. They released her as Megpoid Gumi, on June 25, 2009, with the avatar drawn and designed by Masami Yuki, artist of popular manga Birdy the Mighty. The aim for popular appealed backfired unpleasantly when the fandom lashed out at the horribly done art. The incredible voice quality saved her though, and she received a boom of original songs soon after her release.
Later that year, Zero-g returned to the game full-force with Sonika, who had an avatar and a younger voice. She was released on July 14th. There was a bit of backlash involving her similarity to Gumi, but she managed to sell much better than the other voicebanks they produced.
With the English Vocaloids emerging, fans took a liking to Prima, and good sales drove Zero-g to put up a discount.
The development moves on. News of Big-Al – who was announced way back on January 21, 2007 – emerges, this time with a much more eager and receptive audience. Freeware spinnoff program UTAU is starting to be used widely. April Fools Joke fake Vocaloids that became UTAU voice banks – Kasane Teto and Yokune Ruko – are characters that are looked upon fondly, and with news of Crypton’s CV04 in the works, a new false Vocaloid (dubbed VIPPERloid after the joke was released as another “fishing” ploy) Namine Ritsu(波音リツ) was made and gained popularity within a week.
A member of Crypton’s staff expressed his interest in using a male stage actor, and YAMAHA announced they were going to develop a Vocaloid3 interface.
On December 4, 2009, a new company by the name of AH-Soft released three vocaloids; SF-A2 Miki, Kaai Yuki, and Hiyama Kiyoteru. Miki was released with her own Christmas CD, and the latter two as a set.
Kaai Yuki and Hiyama Kiyoteru gained an excessive amount of uncalled-for criticism by people who preferred the characters of Vocaloid to the actual vocal program, claiming they were 'too plain', which was otherwise understandable due to their outstanding generic characters in comparison to other Vocaloids. The fandom also expressed concern over the pedophile-esque art they would spawn (which turned out to be justified, but not nearly to the extent they fretted about).
The three received an uncalled for but obligatory amount of senseless complaining to their voices. People seem to fail to realize children tend to speak and sing very gently when they complain about Kaai Yuki's voice (which was provided by a grade-schooler), and Hiyama Kiyoteru's generally unique voice received critique for the fact it was jarringly easy to dissect his voice between Kaito and Gakupo. Miki's voice lacked distinction, and depending on her range, went from resembling Luka with frightening strength to sounding very similar to Rin.
These were soon forgotten with the leak of Big Al's updated box art tailored to sit well with multiple audiences, drawn by Ash, who is the artist for Vocaloid Sonika's official comics.
Fandom exploded with news about it, and yet another leak occurred, this time willing, with Big Al's demo. It was a very successful move for PowerFX, and anticipation grew enormously.
On December 22nd, Big Al was released after many a late joke. Unfortunately, his voicebank is a whopping 2GB, causing problems for the people downloading him and triggering a considerable number of jokes about always being late and his size.
An interview confirmed Sonika will (probably) not be getting an Act.2, and that Zero-g is concentrating on their newer release, Tonio.
Tonio is a male opera voice, and is made with the professional fanbase of Prima in mind. His release date was set for early Febuary, but there was no word even in late March. Fans dubbed the issue "pulling a Big Al".
The older Vocaloids still retain a userbase, and it's even picking up; Kellplanet, a musician from Toronto, has recently released a Miriam CD titled "Continua".
Live concerts increased; on March 9th, 2010, a "Giving Day" event was held, with a lengthy concert featuring Hatsune Miku, Kagamine Rin and Len, and Megurine Luka. This was created by a long sheet of glass across the stage to project a hologram onto, allowing free, realistic movement across the stage. The 3D models used in the concert were from the Project Diva Arcade version.
On April 30, 2010, Hatsune Miku's append was released, featuring six voicebanks, with different tones of voice; soft, sweet, dark, vivid, solid, and light. These were recieved relatively well, with the exception of complaints about the lack of similarity to Miku's normal voice in some of them.
On August 25th, Internet Co. released Lily, a Vocaloid based on the voice and character design of Masuda Yuri from m.o.v.e.. 30 days before her release, a demo was made available for the purpose of a song contest.
Vocaloid is slowly becoming a route to tap into other markets, as well, with the announcement of Sanrio's alliance with AHSoft (suspected to be a Vocaloid character of a Kitty'er) and Internet's other release coming soon, a Vocaloid made from popular cartoon character Gachapin.
Also adding to the sudden rush of Vocaloid release news is VY1 (codename MIZKI), created by new company bplats. Strangely, VY1 does not have a design, only a pink box. An interview clarified that this is to see the effect of a faceless Vocaloid, since hearing Miku's face brings up the image of the singer. It's possible others in the VY series will not have faces either.
The fans, as expected, are overwhelmed by this sudden release wave, and angry at the lack of range in voices in this wave.
After VY1 was released on September 1st, news refocused on the SanrioxAHSoft Vocaloid, which was revealed to be Nekomura Iroha (猫村いろは), the first in the line of Hello-Kitty based characters called "Kittyers". Her unique voice and pleasant design came as a great relief to those anticipating her; however, the jarring face-voice dissonance left a bad taste in some people's mouths. Despite her cute appearance, Iroha has a deep, husky voice. AHSoft also released a voicebank demo, and the results are much more pleasurable than Lily's. She is to be released on October 22nd.
On October 8th, Internet Co. released Gachappoid (ガチャッポイド ), a voicebank based on the popular children's TV show character Gachapin. Reactions were varied on the cartoony voice. There was a strongly positive reaction from Japanese fans when the character design was released. It was of a young human boy with design references to Gachapin.
Also October 8th, at NYCC/NYAF, the Crypton CEO revealed that with 39,390 Facebook Likes on Hatsune Miku's page there will be a release of an English edition of Miku (which is apparantly one third of the way through recording already), implying that there is no true time limit on the facebook buildup). Also announced was the expected release date of the Kagamine's Appends and speculation on a Vocaloid store in the US.
Further information released by Crypton; KAITO and MEIKO may be getting an update and released under Vocaloid2 or Vocaloid3.
Most of this information is mere speculation, but it has garnered an explosive response.
VY2 >> Mew >> VY1v3 >> SeeU >> V3 Megpoid >> Tone Rion >> Oliver >> CUL >> Yuzuki Yukari >> Bruno >> Clara >> IA >> Megpoid - Native >> Aoki Lapis >> Lily V3 >> Luo Tianyi >> V3 Gackpoid
Mew - October 21st, 2011
VY1v3 - October 21st, 2011
V3 Megpoid - October 21st, 2011
SeeU (Korean) - October 21st, 2011
Tone Rion - December 16th, 2011
SeeU (Japanese) - December 16th, 2011
Oliver - December 21st, 2011
CUL - December 22nd, 2011
Yuzuki Yukari - December 22nd, 2011
Bruno - December 22nd, 2011
Clara - December 22nd, 2011
IA -ARIA ON THE PLANETES- - January 27th, 2012
Aoki Lapis - April 6th, 2012
Lily V3 - April 19th, 2012
Luo Tianyi - July 12th, 2012
V3 Gackpoid - July 13th, 2012
With the announcement of VOCALOID3 Akikoloid was the first VOCALOID3 private VOCALOID which is an effort in LAWSON to gain more publicity, they also had numerous contest with her as well as advertised her by having famous producers use her. Ueki-loid, the first and so far only VOCALOID of "The Legend Of VOCALOID" series was also being produced, his is the first VOCALOID to be made using the voice of a dead person which is Hitoshi Ueki in this case, he is supposed to get an album in summer 2012 to see the final results of his voice.. In October 21st VOCALOID3 was released as well as Mew, YAMAHA's first VOCALOID. SeeU, the first Korean VOCALOID and second bilingual VOCALOID was also released, her Japanese voicebank was released the 16th of December. Megpoid extend(V3 Megpoid) was released with Whisper, Power, Adult, and Sweet. VY1v3 was also re-released being the first VOCALOID to get updated to V3. In November YAMAHA announced a VOCALOID 3 competition which would soon be revealed that Galaco would be given to people who managed to get 1000 views on their videos though it was not known she would be the prize at the moment and the original view count needed was 3000. Tone Rion was released in December 16 and Suzune Ring also became the first female to be delayed on the same date. In December 21st Oliver was released, the next day CUL, Yuzuki Yukari (the first VOCALOID to also have a Voiceroid and exVOiCE), Bruno and Clara (the first Spanish VOCALOIDs) were all released. VOCALOID: CHINA also held a competition for the design of the first Chinese VOCALOID which would later be revealed to be Luo Tianyi, VOCALOID: China also used 4 other design for "friends" of Luo Tianyi, Luo Tianyi is slated for release in mid-July. The next release of a VOCALOID would not be until IA was released which was also the first VOCALOID3 to reach 1 million views in one of their songs as well as the arguably the most popular VOCALOID3 so far. A few months later Aoki Lapis, the first VOCALOID to have a "cannon" family was released and I-Style announced her sister and had a competition to pick her name. Soon Lily V3 was released by Internet Co. and they announced V3 Gackpoid would be released. MAYU, the first VOCALOID by EXIT TUNES was also announce in May. All Crypton VOCALOIDs are going to be getting a V3 update as well as their appends updated as well as getting English voicebanks.
This essay will be updated at a steady rate with the release of new Vocaloids and noteworthy Vocaloid merchandise.
This history may contain errors. If you see any inaccuracies in this history, please tell me so I may correct it.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vocaloid (used for more sources)
Googling the same things repeatedly to cross-reference and confirm. I honestly couldn't tell you if I used some sites or not.
This post has been edited by Byakuren: 17 June 2012 - 03:05 AM