Initially formed in 2007, livetune is a Japanese electro-pop duo as an indie group that primarily focused on using the Vocaloid, Hatsune Miku, for vocals. The initial two members were KZ and Kajuki-P. They made waves within the Vocaloid community for having songs that gave Miku a “human-like” presence with their heartfelt vocals and relatable melodies.
The attention to these details caused them to get signed to Victor Entertainment, shortly after their initial release in 2008. livetune went on to release several songs that placed exceptionally well on the Oricon ranking charts considering the years they were released and the fact that the vocalist wasn’t even a real human.
The History of Livetune
Shortly after the release of the Vocaloid 2 vocal synthesizer software, Hatsune Miku, they uploaded a short clip of the song “Packaged” to the website Nico Nico Douga as well as the former music sharing site, Muzie.
Since its initial upload in 2007, it has been viewed and listened to over one million times. In December of the same year, they released their first album “Re:Package,” which reportedly sold out instantly.
Fast forward a half of a year later, and livetune gets signed to Victor Entertainment, who immediately re-releases their Re:package as their major debut in August of 2008. The album reached the number five spot on the Oricon rankings selling over twenty thousand copies its initial week. Re:package included three additional tracks from the initial indies release of the album.
As a follow up to Re:package, livetune released a remix album titled Re:Mikus in March of 2009. Where the album consisted primarily of remixes from Re:package, there were several new songs as well. After the release of Re:Mikus, Kajuki-P left livetune to pursue their own endeavors.
Now, as a solo project, KZ released the first single from livetune as a split single with fellow musician RYO from Supercell, “Kocchi Muite, Baby / Yellow,” propelling not only Hatsune Miku but livetune and KZ into the mainstream.
Now that his position had been solidified in the industry, he started to branch out from making music exclusively with Hatsune Miku. In 2010, KZ composed the opening for the hit anime, “Ore no Imouto ga Konna ni Kawaii Wake ga Nai” with the immensely popular ClariS. Aside from working with ClariS on multiple songs, KZ has worked with Maon Kurosaki, Kotoko, Twill, and TM Revolution, to name a few.
In 2012, KZ and livetune decided to pick up their belongings and leave Victor Entertainment and undertake a contract at Toy’s Factory, Inc. Toy’s Factory is a label that houses the immensely popular talents such as Mr. Children, Brahman, Bump of Chicken, Shonan no Kaze, Babymetal, Daoko, and Sekai no Owari.
His first release as a Toy’s Factory artist was the digital single for “Tell Your World,” which was released across 217 different countries simultaneously. Shortly after, he released the Tell Your World EP in March of 2012, garnering him a 4th place ranking on the Oricon charts with the release.
In August of the same year, he released another joint single, this time with Hachioji P, titled “Weekender Girl / Fake Doll.” Weekender Girl was the title song for the hit game Hatsune Miku: Project DIVA F.
Since this release, KZ has had multiple projects, such as livetune+ with Anna Yano. Their joint project livetune+ received a good amount of praise and even had their debut single “Sweet Clapper” featured in the 2016 release of beatmania IIDX 24 Sinobuz. They held several live performances, but ultimately the project never really took off.
The Future of Livetune
Livetune as a concept has been active for nearly 13 years and has seen many changes not only in members but the style of sound as well. Where they got their initial fame and success through the virtual idol, Hatsune Miku, they have since started working with actual artists, and other IP’s to expand their horizons further.
The amount of songs they have released up until now is relatively small compared to other artists who have emerged around the same timeframe. I think it’s safe and fair to say that livetune as an artist won’t be stepping away anytime soon, as they’re still reasonably young.
I would expect to see them working more as a producer role for other artists though rather than releasing their own tracks going forward though. I could be wrong on this, and I hope I am, but based on what we’ve seen recently, I wouldn’t be surprised if that was the case.