Earlier today, ComicBook.com reported that Hatsune Miku will perform on The Late Show with David Letterman. The virtual idol will appear on the show in a televised appearance on October 8, 2014. The performance will serve as a showcase for the 3D projection technology that’s used in the idol’s large-scale concerts.
In addition, Hatsune Miku will perform four concerts in New York and Los Angeles. Her Los Angeles concerts, which will be held on October 11 and 12, 2014, will be hosted at the Nokia Theatre. The New York show will be held at the Hammerstein Ballroom on October 17 and 18, 2014. The concerts will run parallel to an exhibition at Wallplay, which will be held from October 9 through October 19.
Crypton also released Sharing The World, an official anthem for Hatsune Miku’s United States tour:
With Miku hitting Letterman’s show, we’ve officially entered Sharon Apple territory.
Joking aside, it’s pretty amazing to see Hatsune Miku, a distinctly Japanese phenomenon, gain so much pull in the west. When Miku, as a character, made her début in 2007, nobody foresaw the character becoming a full-on virtual diva, capable of packing stadiums and opening for pop icons like Lady Gaga.
The very idea that this could happen was little more than sci-fi fluff fodder 20 years ago. And yet, here we are today, talking about Hatsune Miku, beloved virtual idol with over a million derivative art pieces and 100,000 released songs, appearing on Letterman to promote her US tour.
That said, though, this certainly isn’t Hatsune Miku’s first foray into western waters. Since 2007, the virtual idol’s performed countless concerts across the globe, from Tokyo to New York. Her music has appeared in commercials for Toyota cars, and she’s hosted events at New York Comic Con. However, these appearances have historically been to younger audiences that are generally in tune with the image and the musical selections offered by the virtual idol. Pop concerts, comic cons, and the like are typically the domain of the under-30 set, and most would even overlook the short clips used in Toyota’s commercial on the merit that Toyota is a Japanese corporation.
Miku’s appearance on The Late Show will mark the first time that the virtual idol has to deal with older, more conservative viewers. The typical audience for The Late Show, at this point, is middle-aged, with 75% of the viewing demographic being made up of viewers aged 45 and over. It’s a new market for Hatsune Miku, and certainly one that will be a bit less open-minded about what is essentially a live-action cartoon character. In that light, it will be interesting to see how this audience as a whole reacts to the CGI starlet before, during, and after her show.
Of course, I don’t expect that to be the entire audience for the show. There will undoubtedly be an influx of viewers in the younger set that tune in to see Miku’s mainstream American TV début. And, to be honest, the show runners likely do, as well.
In broadcasting, there is a common term known as “stunt casting.” Basically, the phrase “stunt casting” refers to the practice of hiring well-known actors and musicians to play small roles in TV shows or films. For example, Alec Guinness’s casting of Obi Wan Kenobi was an instance of stunt casting in film. Typically, this is done to create media buzz, and to attract attention from viewers that may otherwise pass on a particular program or show. Hatsune Miku’s appearance on the show is, undoubtedly a stunt cast that will attempt to pull on a larger youth demographic for the program, though the bump in viewership will likely be unsustainable at best.
Regardless, Miku’s appearance on Late Night will absolutely be a net positive overall. Regular Late Night viewers will exposed to Hatsune Miku as a character, for better or worse. At the same time, though, fans that aren’t able to get to the usual venues can see a “live” Hatsune Miku show outside of YouTube. We’ll learn the final impact of the appearance, though, once the show airs.
That said, I fully expect at least a few of the oldest viewers to react like players in a Fine Brothers production, to some extent.