Here is something that has been bothering me lately: human singers on VocaDB. In case you’re unfamiliar, there is a large number of amateur singers, usually called Utaite (singers in Japanese), on the Japanese NicoNicoDouga and also Youtube. It’s not uncommon that Vocaloid producers themselves cover their own Vocaloid songs. The results vary: some of these singers can be very good, basically professional quality… others not so much. Originally we allowed albums with only human vocals,  provided that the artists or songs are somehow related to Vocaloid. The justification was that there’s a lot of overlap between the Vocaloid and Utaite fandoms, and that Vocaloid fans might be interested in what non-Vocaloid songs their favorite producers are involved with.

Earlier this year, we first made it clear that the main focus of the site is Vocaloid, and that users should focus on adding Vocaloid songs and albums instead of albums without Vocaloids. We wanted to discourage human-only albums, but not forbid it, so that the exceptionally good or popular albums, that might be relevant to Vocaloid fans, would still be allowed. However, it’s very difficult to determine what albums and songs should be allowed, so we finally decided to disallow these albums altogether. The reason is simply that we want to be the best database for Vocaloid discography, and no matter how you look at it, Utaite albums are not Vocaloid. There are so many of these albums where one of the artists has produced Vocaloid songs before, or where some songs are covers of Vocaloid songs, that allowing them would clutter up the site, making finding the relevant material more difficult. Sure, there are ways to filter out the non-relevant content, but it would still cause performance issues and make the site more complicated to use. Adding too many unnecessary features is bad in the long run, making the implementation of actually useful features more difficult.

I want to stress that personally I have nothing against amateur singers. I’m personally a fan of nano, MARiA and XenonP and I have bought their (non-Vocaloid) albums. I would like their solo albums to be on VocaDB, but I see no justification for that.

We will not remove old entries, and human-sung songs are still allowed if at least one song on the album has Vocaloid vocals. However, new albums with no Vocaloids can no longer be added. Individual songs with only human vocals are also forbidden, even if they’re covers of Vocaloid originals. It’s also important to note that, in this case, when talking about Vocaloids, I also mean related voice synthesizers such as UTAU and Satou Sasara – those are and will always be allowed and highly encouraged. Instrumental versions of Vocaloid songs and Vocaloid-related videos such as MMD dramas also still allowed.

There seems to be demand for an Utaite discography site such as VocaDB, based on the observation that some users are still adding Utaite albums and songs on VocaDB, two months after it was disallowed. Usually we politely contact these users and ask them to delete the entries themselves. I don’t want to blame them, considering these albums were allowed for a long time – allowing the community to accept such a significant change will take time.

I’d be happy to set up another site for Utaite discography, based on the VocaDB codebase. Howeve, hosting such a site on the same server as VocaDB would take up too much resources, and in no case I want the new site to disturb or harm VocaDB. We’d either need a completely separate server, or a more powerful server, for hosting this Utaite database. Servers cost money, and I’m not willing to use my own money for this project. If someone else steps up, offering a suitable server, or sufficient funding for a new server, we could set up a site. Until that happens… unfortunately you’ll have to go Utaite wiki or something similar for information about Utaite albums.

12 thoughts on “Utaites on VocaDB – the current state of affairs”

  1. Once again there is no reliable source for Utaite… truly disappointing Vocadb smh

    1. I’m sorry, but I think it should be a separate site. It could be linked to VocaDB (for those parts that are common).

      1. Like you said, a separate site would require too much resources and receive less attention and support. Things were fine the way it was.

        Meanwhile on VocaDB…
        http://vocadb.net/Tag/Details/Touhou
        And you say Utaite needs to be on a separate site… smh

        1. Edit: I know you can justify why those albums are on there and why you feel utaite should not, but that’s why it’s sad.

          There clearly is a large fan base for utaite on vocadb, and you just said:

          “A large amount of the core content is made by the fans and there are plenty of opportunities for everyone to participate in their own way. That’s why we made VocaDB into a “wiki” where everyone can contribute. Just like Vocaloid wouldn’t be so special without its creative fans, VocaDB wouldn’t be anything without its editors – those people who spend their own time to add entries and make sure all the relevant information is there. Fans helping each other and themselves.”

          after pulling this… you got your reasons, but okay.

        2. Most of those Touhou songs/PVs contain Vocaloids, so I don’t see your point. Touhou PVs/songs without Vocaloids are not allowed, and never were. We don’t have any preference towards Touhou. You can’t compare Touhou to utaites – when you have a human singing, you usually have no Vocaloid vocals, right? There’s plenty of Touhou-related songs with Vocaloid vocals.

          I don’t agree that things were fine as it was. There’s a lot of utaite covers for certain songs. Look at Senbonzakura: about half of the 37 alternate versions are utaite covers. They’re not Vocaloid, should we just hide those?

          1. Did you read my edit? I concede to your point about Touhou.

            If you think what encompasses as VOCALOID consists solely of what is produced by the software, maybe you need to reevaluate.

            Another way of looking at it is, do you consider Senbonzakura a Vocaloid song, or just JMusic? Remixes and rearrangements aside, the only difference between all those versions is who/what is producing the melody. Are you going to remove instrumental versions because there is no Vocaloid singing? All 37 versions deserve to be on the database because they are covers and different versions of Senbonzakura, itself a Vocaloid song.

            Furthermore, that is the opinion of you, one person. The fans and editors who added utaite in obviously see them as appropriate. The only reason I follow utaite in the first place is because of Vocaloid. Compare this fact to what I quoted from what you said … irony?

            Granted you own the site so you can do what you want. I and others can only be saddened.

      1. Utaite Wikia is good enough. A general purpose wiki will never provide the same level of functionality or usability as a custom made site, though.

  2. Question!
    On the help page (http://vocadb.net/Help), under the guidelines tab, the section under “Album” where the album conditions are listed says this:

    “having at least one cover of an originally Vocaloid song”

    I suppose this condition was left there by accident? Judging from what I read on your blog post here, wouldn’t this condition need to be removed?

    1. Oh yeah, sorry about the confusion, that needs to be changed. Thanks for mentioning it. It’s very difficult to keep the guidelines page up to date, that’s why we’re trying to move the documentation to the wiki and this blog.

      1. I hope you aren’t replying to my points because you are too busy or just pissed off, not because they are valid.

        >>>Furthermore, that is the opinion of you, one person.
        As much as I try, I couldn’t find any discussion about this.

        >>>Are you going to remove instrumental versions because there is no Vocaloid singing?
        Not that hard to respond to.

        1. I wasn’t replying because I didn’t see there’s a reason to continue arguing about this…

          Most of these discussions are carried out on the IRC channel, there’s a few active VocaDB users there. Obviously that means they’re not visible anywhere afterwards… We have talked about this multiple times and the general opinion was in favor of this decision. Amusingly, some anonymous people have reported entries on VocaDB as “not Vocaloid”, clearly they didn’t think that human vocals belong on a Vocaloid site either.

          The problem is the huge number of utaite songs, which has surprised me as well. I don’t want that the main content (Vocaloid songs) is drowned by human sung covers.

          Instrumental versions are allowed for now, unless it becomes a problem (like utaite covers did). The number of instrumental versions is very small and the quality is higher overall I feel (at least for those songs added on VocaDB). That’s why it’s not a problem.

          I don’t understand why you insist that a Vocaloid site should allow non-Vocaloid songs. Allowing utaite songs was always on trial. Similarly, there are open questions regarding fan-made compilations, drama PVs and non-Vocaloid voice synthesizers (whether Microsoft Sam and Siri should be allowed or not).

          If you want to continue this discussion, this isn’t the right place. Come to IRC or add me (riipah) on Skype.

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