虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

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就像那些做数据标注的人们根本想象不到自己参与训练的算法正在制造多大的财富,虚拟偶像背后的人们也没有体验到“偶像”带来的快乐——尽管很多时候她们才是粉丝真正喜爱的对象。

而更糟糕的是,虚拟偶像这个生意里,似乎没有人真正在从中获益,一切都是“虚拟”的。

“偶像”活得比粉丝还差?

永不塌房永不恋爱的虚拟偶像、24小时运转不停的的AI女团、首个3D直播加实时动作捕捉的虚拟vtuber、最大艺人公司的练习生做中之人(虚拟形象背后的真人演员)、掌握当今互联网最大流量密码的字节跳动做背书……虚拟偶像组合A-SOUL自诞生之初就吸引了不少人的眼球。

A-SOUL在今年5月份确实破圈了,然而,让A-SOUL破圈的不是上述这些原因,而是A-SOUL成为国内虚拟偶像最大“塌房”事件的主角。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

杜华与 A-SOUL,来源:杜华微博

事发A-SOUL成员珈乐被运营方宣布“直播休眠”。

严格意义上来说,用“塌房”来形容虚拟偶像组合A-SOUL不太准确,和以往由娱乐圈明星、艺人的丑闻、绯闻导致其公众形象、人设崩塌引起的情况不同,在不少粉丝眼中看来,此次“塌房”事件的肇事者不是虚拟偶像组合A-SOUL抑或其背后的中之人,而是背后公司。

导火索是5月10日下午A-SOUL官方账号宣布的一位组合成员退出的消息,该消息表示:A-SOUL组合成员之一、团队Vocal担当珈乐因身体及学业问题,除了已签约的商业及合作活动外,将从本周开始终止日常直播(包括单播和团播)和大部分偶像活动,进入“直播休眠”。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:B站A-SOUL官方

这则公告刚发布十来分钟,下方就有一条评论被顶起:“说的很委婉了,追过女团的都知道这种话等于是再也不回来了”。这确实意味着珈乐彻底退出组合,但粉丝很难接受在毫无征兆的情况下组合重要成员的退出,对官方宣布的“身体及学业问题”的解释不买账。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:A-SOUL成员珈乐

为寻找答案,很快就有人挖出来珈乐背后中之人的个人社交平台账号,在其个人动态中,粉丝们拼凑出一个中之人背后的真实生活状态——充斥着PUA的职场、无人问津的职业病、无休止的过度加班、需要自费学习的舞蹈、部分生活费还需要家庭支持……

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:网易云

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:网易云

紧接着,有网友在论坛中曝出:“A-SOUL成员在企划内部地位极低,一直以来工资仅7K,后期运营提出涨薪至11K底薪+1%的直播营收提成,但涨薪条件是成员必须要续约。”

珈乐是B站2021年的年度最强舰长(B站全年收获舰长礼物最多的主播),全年直播收获粉丝打赏的138元的礼物舰长达12000个,但是,即便以更高的11K底薪+1%的直播营收提成来计算,直播打赏B站会分成50%,珈乐收到粉丝送的一个价值138元的舰长,实际到手的只有6毛9分钱,全年12000个的B站最强舰长,珈乐背后中之人真正能拿到的只有8280元。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:B站

这也是为何,虽然A-SOUL在11日凌晨紧急辟谣网传的薪资“全部为假”,并在14日对外公开成员薪资结构为每月固定收入+奖金+直播总流水的10%,然后否认了“霸凌、压榨”的情况,但粉丝们依然怒火中烧,继续在隐藏着一切细节中的社交网络上寻求自己的答案。

在粉丝的火眼金睛下,A-SOUL人气最高的团宠嘉然的微博账号也被人扒了出来,粉丝们发现其发微博用的手机还是几年前发布的中低端机型OPPO Reno5,通过淘宝识图发现其爱穿的小裙子不到一百块,戴的更是39块的塑料项链;另一成员向晚更是经常吃泡面,switch手柄不灵、经常漂移却半年舍不得换,新入手了老头环(艾尔登法环)又因为晕3D而赶紧退掉……

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:微博截图。鸡脯肉—— 一块吃起来僵硬、呆板、没有灵魂的尸体

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

这一切,都指向着一个无比荒谬却又真实的结论——全年直播打赏收入达数千万的A-SOUL,其背后的中之人活得可能比粉丝还差。粉丝们感慨自己996餐餐泡面省出的舰长送给偶像,结果“偶像”背后的中之人也同样逃离不了熬夜加班打工泡面人的命运,都是轮回。

那么,钱去哪了?

“我们”都是模式创新中的一环

如果一定要给出一个结论,谁在虚拟偶像A-SOUL企划中盈利,答案却可能和资本无情压榨数字劳工最后大赚特赚的想象不同,事实上,运营方也在亏钱做投入。

A-SOUL企划负责人、朝夕光年江南工作室负责人苏轼在给粉丝的回信中表示,A-SOUL在技术和运营上的投入非常高,已经远高于虚拟偶像目前能够得到的营收,此外,A-SOUL的营收乐华、B站以及字节跳动都有分成,而A-SOUL企划的研发和美术成本极高,因此整个项目处于大额亏损状态。

3D直播加实时动作捕捉的成本确实高昂。国内动作捕捉设备提供商NOKOV表示:“不同动作捕捉系统捕捉效果不同,价格区间也较大,从几千到几百万不等。”虚拟人技术提供商随趣在其官网显示,一些电影使用的高端动作捕捉全套系统甚至能达到上亿元。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:知乎

虚拟偶像的成本除了前期动作捕捉设备这样的固定资产支出,后续的运营还需要人工智能技术的支持、中之人的培养、美术设计、3D建模以及流量和渠道的分发。据公开信息,去年十月份,借着元宇宙和虚拟数字人概念爆火的柳夜熙,其单个视频的成本都在100万左右,其中视频制作40万,渠道投放60万,而这个IP背后有多达160多人在为她服务。A-SOUL运营方虽然没有透露具体运营成本,但可以以此类比,其运营团队人数绝对不少,支出成本也必然不是一个小数字。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

《阿凡达》拍摄中的演员戴着动捕设备

虚拟偶像的制作、运营成本高昂,但其商业化能力却有限。乐华娱乐在其招股书中表示会加大对虚拟艺人运营与商业发展的投入,通过流媒体直播、虚拟音乐会和代言衍生等创造更多利润空间。也就是说A-SOUL除了直播外,盈利上想要指望代言和衍生文创。

虚拟偶像里的真人都成了“数据纺织工” 这偶像不要也罢

图源:乐华娱乐招股书

然而虚拟偶像代言的的效果目前还未完全得到市场的信任,且能代言的产品品类有限,目前仍处于摸索试水阶段。

虚拟人不能“虚话实说”,曾有虚拟偶像翎Ling代言一款口红产品,宣传“滋润不干”,但遭到网友投诉其无法传达真实的消费体验而最终撤下了该推广。衍生文创市场则一直不温不火,更不用谈,可以说直播仍是虚拟偶像的主要营收来源。

这显然撑不起虚拟偶像的收入。国内虚拟偶像鼻祖洛天依花了六年时间才开始盈利,A-SOUL更是在做到了虚拟偶像顶流后仍在亏损,柳夜熙是破圈了,不过你知道泠鸢yousa、Hanser、多多poi丶、冰糖IO等等虚拟偶像吗?这些在小圈层爆火的虚拟偶像大多都不为更多数人所知。从虚拟偶像目前的成本投入和营收来源来看,A-SOUL企划负责人所称的项目处于巨额亏损状态是极有可能的。

虚拟偶像的出现,是AI技术进步、元宇宙和虚拟数字人等资本市场热爱的概念爆火相互契合的结果,它能否在巨额亏损下继续存在下去,很大程度取决于资本买不买账:相比于关注中之人幸不幸福,显然强调”大力投入动捕和AI技术从而建起‘虚拟’部分的门槛,最终赢得市场”的故事,更符合各方一直为“虚拟偶像”这门生意打造的“人设”。

或许未来元宇宙会改变娱乐生态,但在当下,赚不到钱而投入又停不下来的“虚拟偶像”,对人带来的影响,可能就只是在不停制造新的数据纺织工。

这样的偶像,究竟是谁需要呢。

Visit:

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Just as people who do data tagging have no idea how much wealth their training algorithms are creating, the people behind virtual idols do not experience the happiness of "idols"-even though most of the time they are the ones that fans really like.

To make matters worse, no one in the virtual idol business seems to be really benefiting from it, and everything is "virtual".

“偶像”活得比粉丝还差?

The virtual idol who will never collapse and never fall in love, the AI women's group that runs 24 hours a day, the first virtual vtuber with 3D live broadcast and real-time motion capture, the trainee of the largest artist company (the real-life actor behind the virtual image), and the byte bouncing to endorse the password of the largest traffic on the Internet today. The virtual idol group A-SOUL has attracted a lot of people's attention since its birth.

A-SOUL did break the circle in May this year. However, it was not these reasons that made A-SOUL break the circle, but it was A-SOUL who became the protagonist of the biggest "house collapse" incident of domestic virtual idol.

杜华与 A-SOUL,来源:杜华微博

Jia Le, a member of A-SOUL, was declared "live dormant" by the operator.

Strictly speaking, it is not accurate to use "house collapse" to describe the virtual idol group A-SOUL, which is different from the situation in the past caused by entertainment stars, artists' scandals and scandals that led to their public image and personality collapse. In the eyes of many fans, the cause of this "house collapse" incident is not the virtual idol group A-SOUL or the person behind it, but the company behind it.

The trigger is the news of the withdrawal of a group member announced on the official A-SOUL account on the afternoon of May 10, the news said: one of the A-SOUL group members, the team Vocal acts as a result of physical and academic problems, in addition to the signed commercial and cooperative activities, will terminate the daily live broadcast (including unicast and group broadcast) and most idol activities from this week, and enter "live dormancy".

Photo Source: bilibili A-SOUL official

More than ten minutes after the announcement, there was a comment at the bottom: "it's very euphemistic, and those who have chased after the women's team know that they will never come back." This does mean that Jiale has dropped out of the group completely, but it is difficult for fans to accept the withdrawal of important members of the group without warning and are not convinced by the official explanation of "physical and academic problems".

Image source: A-SOUL member Jia Le

In order to find out, someone soon dug up the personal social platform account of the person behind Jiale. In their personal dynamics, fans cobbled together the real life behind a person-a workplace full of PUA, unattended occupational diseases, endless excessive overtime, dancing at their own expense, and family support for some of their living expenses.

Picture source: NetEase Yun

Picture source: NetEase Yun

Then, a netizen exposed in the forum: "A-SOUL members in the internal status of the project is very low, the salary has always been only 7K, the later operation proposed to raise the salary to 11K basic salary + 1% of the live revenue commission, but the salary increase condition is that the member must renew the contract."

Jiale is bilibili's strongest captain of the year in 2021 (bilibili received the most gifts from the captain in the whole year). The number of gift ships rewarded by fans throughout the year is as long as 12000, but, even if calculated on the basis of a higher 11K base salary + 1% of live revenue, the live reward B station will be divided into 50%. Jiale received a captain worth 138yuan from fans and only got 69 cents. Among the 12000 strongest captains of bilibili in the whole year, what the people behind Jiale can really get is only 8280 yuan.

Picture source: bilibili

This is also why, although A-SOUL urgently refuted the rumor that the online salary was "all fake" in the early morning of the 11th, and announced on the 14th that the salary structure of its members was 10% of the monthly fixed income + bonus + live streaming, and then denied the situation of "bullying and squeezing", fans are still furious and continue to seek their answers on the social network that hides all the details.

Under the golden eyes of fans, the Weibo account of A-SOUL 's most popular pet Jia ran was also pulled out. Fans found that the mobile phone he used to post Weibo was still the middle-and low-end model OPPO Reno5 released a few years ago. Through Taobao recognition map, he found that his favorite skirt was less than 100 yuan, and he was wearing a 39-yuan plastic necklace. Another member often eats instant noodles in the evening, the switch handle is not effective, often drift but reluctant to change for half a year, the new old man ring (Elden ring) and quickly returned because of dizziness 3D …...

Source: Weibo screenshot. Chicken breast-A dead body that tastes stiff, dull and soulless.

All this points to an absurd but true conclusion that the people behind A-SOUL, which earns tens of millions of dollars in live broadcast throughout the year, may be worse off than fans.Fans lamented that the captain saved from the 996 meal instant noodles was given to the idol, and the people behind the "idol" could not escape the fate of staying up late to work overtime to make noodles, all reincarnation.

So, where's the money?

“我们”都是模式创新中的一环

If we have to come to a conclusion, who is profitable in the virtual idol A-SOUL project, the answer may be different from the imagination that capital mercilessly squeezes digital workers to make a lot of money in the end. In fact, operators are also losing money on investment.

Su Shi, head of A-SOUL project and head of Jiangnan Studio, said in a reply to fans that A-SOUL 's investment in technology and operation is very high, which is far higher than the revenue currently available to virtual idols. In addition, A-SOUL 's revenue Lehua, bilibili and byte jump all have a share, while the research and development and art costs of the A-SOUL project are extremely high, so the whole project is in a state of large loss.

The cost of 3D live streaming plus real-time motion capture is indeed high. NOKOV, a domestic motion capture equipment provider, said: "different motion capture systems have different capture effects and have a wide price range, ranging from thousands to millions." Virtual human technology provider fun shows on its website that the full range of high-end motion capture systems used in some movies can even reach hundreds of millions of yuan.

图源:知乎

The cost of virtual idol in addition to the early fixed asset expenditure such as motion capture equipment, the subsequent operation also needs the support of artificial intelligence technology, the training of people, art design, 3D modeling and the distribution of traffic and channels. According to public information, in October last year, with the popularity of meta-universe and virtual digital human concepts, the cost of a single video was about 1 million, including 400000 for video production and 600000 for channels, and there were more than 1 million people serving her behind the IP. Although the A-SOUL operator did not disclose the specific operating costs, but by analogy, the number of its operating team is definitely not small, and the expenditure cost is certainly not a small number.

《阿凡达》拍摄中的演员戴着动捕设备

The production and operation cost of virtual idol is high, but its commercialization ability is limited. Lehua Entertainment said in its prospectus that it would increase its investment in the operation and business development of virtual artists.Derived through live streaming, virtual concerts and endorsementsTo create more profit margins. In other words, in addition to live streaming, A-SOUL wants to rely on endorsements and derivative creations for profit.

图源:乐华娱乐招股书

However, the effect of virtual idol endorsement has not been fully trusted by the market, and the categories of products that can be endorsed are limited, which is still in the stage of exploring and testing the water.

Virtual people can't "tell the truth". Virtual idol Ling Ling once endorsed a lipstick product to promote "moisturizing and not drying", but was eventually withdrawn from the promotion after netizens complained that he could not convey the real consumer experience. Derivative creative market has been lukewarm, not to mention, it can be said that live streaming is still the main source of revenue for virtual idols.

This obviously can not support the income of virtual idols. Luo Tianyi, the ancestor of domestic virtual idol, took six years to make a profit. A-SOUL is still losing money after reaching the top of the virtual idol. Liu Yexi is a broken circle, but do you know Ling Kite yousa, Hanser, Duoduo poi, rock candy IO and other virtual idols? Most of these virtual idols, which are popular in a small circle, are not known to more people. Judging from the current cost input and revenue sources of virtual idol, it is very likely that the project described by the head of the A-SOUL project will be in a state of huge loss.

The emergence of virtual idol is the result of the technological progress of AI, the explosion of concepts loved by the capital market, such as meta-universe and virtual digital human, and whether it can survive under huge losses depends to a large extent on whether the capital buys it or not: compared with the happiness of the people who follow it, it obviously emphasizes the story of "investing heavily in dynamic capture and AI technology to build the threshold of the 'virtual' part and finally win the market." It is more in line with the "human design" that all parties have been building for the "virtual idol" business.

Maybe the meta-universe will change the entertainment ecology in the future, but at the moment, the impact of the "virtual idol", which can't make money and can't stop, may just be creating new data weavers.

这样的偶像,究竟是谁需要呢。

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