Luo Tianyi is a popular virtual idol in China. CHINA DAILY
Accompanied by pipa master Fang Jinlong, Luo Tianyi sang a rendition of the classic Jasmine Flower at a New Year’s gala organized by Bilibili, a Chinese sharing platform.
“The effect is so amazing that I cannot stop watching it. Luo, you are the jasmine fairy,” Ling Ziwan, a fan of Luo, said after the gala.
Luo is one of the popular virtual idols who are popular among the young Chinese generation. According to Caas Data, a short-video app data analysis service, as of March 29, there had been 23 popular virtual accounts, each with more than 5 million fans on Douyin.
Many people like these digital idols partially for their perfectness. Unlike human influencers who will get old, these digital influencers will never age. While stars of the real world can make mistakes or even become bad role models, virtual idols remain flawless throughout time.
“Digital idols have all the qualities people admire and they will not be affected by the gossip and scandals. It’s impossible for any idols in real life to achieve it,” wrote an internet user.
These perfect idols also change the traditional relationships between idols and fans.
According to Global Times, many virtual idols are created through user-generated content. That means they are designed based on feedback collected from fans. Their productions are even mostly crowdsourced. Take Luo for example. People simply input their own lyrics and melodies into the music editing program, which will later be synthesized based on a voice bank provided by Luo.
Every day, at least 100 new songs are created by internet users for Luo. A search for Luo’s songs on Baidu results in hundreds of videos uploaded onto various online communities including Bilibili.
“The relationship between the public and virtual idols is not like the worshipper and the worshipped, as in the traditional fan-and-idol mode. All people can be a creator of their virtual idols and put their imagery for perfect lives into them,” noted Global Times.
With such features, virtual idols seem to be here to stay. As China Daily noted, they are “bringing new life” to young Chinese people.