Shanghai Conservatory of Music opens its doors to virtual singers

Virtual singer Luya is among the new students enrolled at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. — Photo via Twitter/iFLYTEK

Thursday 08 September 2022 08:21 MYT

SHANGHAI, September 8 — In Asia, virtual idols are singers like any other. So much so that some, like Luya, are now enrolling in music schools to hone their skills, a sign that these futuristic pop stars are here to stay.

This year, the Shanghai Conservatory of Music welcomes a new type of student.

Her name is Luya, and she is a virtual singer with a youthful appearance and pink hair. It comes straight from the studios of the Chinese company iFlytek, which specializes in artificial intelligence.

Luya is one of the robot-musicians who are very successful in Asia, especially in China and Japan, where they have managed to build large communities of fans.

Examples include Apoki, Amy, girl group K/DA, and Saejin, a virtual idol who performs alongside “real” vocalists from the group Superkind.

Luya’s career is still in its infancy. That’s why she decided to enroll to study in the Music Engineering Department of the Shanghai Conservatory of Music. A surprising move considering that this artist is really just a bunch of algorithms and lines of computer code.

According to iFlytek, Luya’s intentions are laudable.

“She hopes to receive more professional training at the Shanghai Conservatory of Music to work better in the music industry, produce more enjoyable music, and pursue new musical possibilities,” the company told The Daily Mail. South China Morning Post.

With this in mind, Luya has also joined the conservatory’s research and development program for artificial intelligence-assisted musical creation.

“She will explore different kinds of musical styles and create new methods of music composition by incorporating AI technology,” Yu Yang, one of the department’s professors, told the Chinese daily.

As surprising as it may seem, this is not the first time that the Shanghai Conservatory of Music has welcomed a student who is not made of flesh and blood. Xiaoice, Microsoft’s conversational artificial intelligence program, has already taken classes there.

According to the bot’s teachers, Xiaoice was a diligent student whose contributions were greatly appreciated by her classmates. As such, the bot successfully graduated from school in 2020. — ETX Studio

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