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Other Maghni AI by VocaTone Studio and Misbah Studios

zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
Okay, I have to say something. Made an account on here just for this. I wanna preface by saying I really, really hope this project succeeds. It seems like a fantastic new platform in theory, and I really hope it flourishes, because I would love to see an AI-based vocal synth platform with this promised level of versatility be on the market. I'm very happy to see a lot of people super excited about it, but... look.

I’m a long time vsynth fan. I've also been on Tumblr since 2015 and have seen several projects like this, where the developers are clearly passionate members of a community, they come up with an idea, promote it, and get it crowdfunded incredibly quickly through hype alone. It always seems to end up becoming a total mess because the development team are fans first and foremost, and don’t know how intense projects of this caliber can get. Every time I see things like this happen they end up going down in infamy because the release dates keep getting pushed, backers get upset, and things end up being released extremely late (if at all) and nowhere near the quality backers were expecting.

In all honesty, I think Vocatone and Misbah's promises and timeline go beyond ambitious and into the unreasonable given the budget and the presentation of the product thus far. All the promotion for Maghni has been very unprofessional, seeming like a small-scale, fan-made passion project rather than a $20k professional product with literally hundreds of backers contributing $135 per person on average. Not a lot of information has been given about the state of the project currently, even though there is a working model (24 seconds of product demo in the middle of a 3 minute promotional video is... a little underwhelming, really). I think the dev team really needs to be more open with their backers, and, more importantly, completely reevaluate their budget and timeline.

I think a project of this caliber being released by the end of this year on a budget of only $15k towards development (considering the approx. $5k towards artists and rewards) is beyond ludicrous, especially with the dev team as small as it is. There's only one listed AI developer, who's now being given until December of 2024 to have a multiple language AI speech synthesis model ready, and that's arguably the backbone of Maghni. I fear that, with the current timeline and budget (I know there's more money that's non-crowdfunded, but again, we have no clue how much that is or what it's being used for), either the quality of Maghni upon release is going to be less than ideal or the dev team is going to be extremely overworked and underpaid. Though the most likely scenario is that Maghni is going to be pushed back more and more, and extra funding is going to need to be obtained. I wouldn't be surprised if the final release gets pushed back into 2025.

I really, really hope Maghni succeeds. It seems like a phenomenal potential platform that would be fantastic for long-time vocal synth users and first-timers alike. I just can't help but be nervous about all of this because of that!
 
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Ryleigh Goldner

Yes, everyone seems to be asleep.
Okay, I have to say something. Made an account on here just for this. I wanna preface by saying I really, really hope this project succeeds. It seems like a fantastic new platform in theory, and I really hope it flourishes, because I would love to see an AI-based vocal synth platform with this promised level of versatility be on the market. I'm very happy to see a lot of people super excited about it, but... look.

I’m a long time vsynth fan. I've also been on Tumblr since 2015 and have seen several projects like this, where the developers are clearly passionate members of a community, they come up with an idea, promote it, and get it crowdfunded incredibly quickly through hype alone. It always seems to end up becoming a total mess because the development team are fans first and foremost, and don’t know how intense projects of this caliber can get. Every time I see things like this happen they end up going down in infamy because the release dates keep getting pushed, backers get upset, and things end up being released extremely late (if at all) and nowhere near the quality backers were expecting.

In all honesty, I think Vocatone and Misbah's promises and timeline go beyond ambitious and into the unreasonable given the budget and the presentation of the product thus far. All the promotion for Maghni has been very unprofessional, seeming like a small-scale, fan-made passion project rather than a $20k professional product with literally hundreds of backers contributing $135 per person on average. Not a lot of information has been given about the state of the project currently, even though there is a working model (24 seconds of product demo in the middle of a 3 minute promotional video is... a little underwhelming, really). I think the dev team really needs to be more open with their backers, and, more importantly, completely reevaluate their budget and timeline.

I think a project of this caliber being released by the end of this year on a budget of only $15k towards development (considering the approx. $5k towards artists and rewards) is beyond ludicrous, especially with the dev team as small as it is. There's only one listed AI developer, who's now being given until December of 2024 to have a 40-language AI speech synthesis model ready, and that's arguably the backbone of Maghni. I fear that, with the current timeline and budget (I know there's more money that's non-crowdfunded, but again, we have no clue how much that is or what it's being used for), either the quality of Maghni upon release is going to be less than ideal or the dev team is going to be extremely overworked and underpaid. Though the most likely scenario is that Maghni is going to be pushed back more and more, and extra funding is going to need to be obtained. I wouldn't be surprised if the final release gets pushed back into 2025.

I really, really hope Maghni succeeds. It seems like a phenomenal potential platform that would be fantastic for long-time vocal synth users and first-timers alike. I just can't help but be nervous about all of this because of that!

I...can't help but agree with your points! Especially with the parts about having only one developer doing all the AI, for software that's promised to support 40 languages by December 2024.

I also can't help but be reminded of ACE Studio when I look at Maghni AI's early interface. (EDIT 778, clarification: that's not even a bad thing, it just reminded me of that. The purplish color scheme, the rounded elements. I think it's just a coincidence by all means.)

EDIT 777:
Deleted an entire rant about Maghni AI's aesthetics and presentation vs. the professional musicians who aren't familiar with vocal synths, as it was weirdly incoherent. The rant was in favor of Maghni AI, though.

EDIT 779:
Rant's probably not the right word. It was more like I stated my fears regarding professional musicians' potential reactions to Maghni AI and the Maghnites, afraid that they'd go all sensationalist about it. In a paranoid way.
 
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lIlI

Staff member
Moderator
Apr 6, 2018
863
The Lightning Strike
I agree that Maghni needing to be delayed in future is very probable (as this is also what happened with their previous announcement, and the vast majority of crowdfunding campaigns); it may offer some comfort to know that they're currently part of Wisconsin's business start-up program, which is giving them extra support. Vocatone has said that most of their funding is currently coming out of pocket, with extra money from backers acting as a means to accelerate production.

My main worry is what was pointed out earlier in the thread - using other company's logos and illustrations in their promotional video. I'm no copyright expert, but that feels like a big no-no. (Could be wrong of course, these things are complicated and I'm not in the US - maybe they even got permission.) If this indicates they don't have strong business legal expertise, that would be a concern, as the majority of failed fandom projects ended due to legal complications with contracts, financials, copyright, third-party approval, etc. It's also very important to get these things right so as not to look sketchy to outsiders. Things that are okay for fans to do as individuals are very different for companies. It would be a shame to see the project meet an unexpected end due to a legal dispute.

They seem to be a very dedicated team with a lot more planning and expertise behind them than the majority of community projects I've seen, so I think they have a good shot at getting their product out there overall.

But back to the boxes: the old book style is totally unexpected! It would probably be out of budget to give them a leather finish, but that would be cool as hell. It's nice to see a company do something different. It fits their steampunk-y brand.
 
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zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
I agree that Maghni needing to be delayed in future is very probable (as this is also what happened with their previous announcement, and the vast majority of crowdfunding campaigns); it may offer some comfort to know that they're currently part of Wisconsin's business start-up program, which is giving them extra support. Vocatone has said that most of their funding is currently coming out of pocket, with extra money from backers acting as a means to accelerate production.

My main worry is what was pointed out earlier in the thread - using other company's logos and illustrations in their promotional video. I'm no copyright expert, but that feels like a big no-no. (Could be wrong of course, these things are complicated and I'm not in the US - maybe they even got permission.) If this indicates they don't have strong business legal expertise, that would be a concern, as the majority of failed fandom projects ended due to legal complications with contracts, financials, copyright, third-party approval, etc. It's also very important to get these things right so as not to look sketchy to outsiders. Things that are okay for fans to do as individuals are very different for companies. It would be a shame to see the project meet an unexpected end due to a legal dispute.

They seem to be a very dedicated team with a lot more planning and expertise behind them than the majority of community projects I've seen, so I think they have a good shot at getting their product out there overall.

But back to the boxes: the old book style is totally unexpected! It would probably be out of budget to give them a leather finish, but that would be cool as hell. It's nice to see a company do something different. It fits their steampunk-y brand.
Maybe it's the presentation that's getting me. I guess it's biased of me, but the overall look of the promo video/crowdfunding campaign/etc seems very DIY, which isn't a bad thing on its own, but probably not the greatest look in the world for a project this big? And I really do think the copyright stuff goes hand-in-hand with that. I'm guessing PowerFX just doesn't care about this whole thing, but the logos stuff has gotta be a copyright case waiting to happen. That's probably the biggest red flag for the state of the project.

They do seem to be a very dedicated team, and I'm glad to see they have some governmental support in their pocket, but I still think they really should reevaluate the timeline. Or hire a second AI developer and a legal consultant, although I'm sure that's way outta budget.

The boxes do look super cool though.
 

pico

robot enjoyer
Sep 10, 2020
539
My main worry is what was pointed out earlier in the thread - using other company's logos and illustrations in their promotional video.
I think in the larger scope of things, compared to financial and logistics concerns, it's small potatoes. But yes, even if it isn't explicitly "illegal" (and I doubt it will attract public scrutiny outside these forums to be frank), it almost communicates a lack of respect for their competitors and a lack of confidence in their product's ability to speak for itself. It's clear they're pandering directly to vsynth fans with this campaign, but with that being the case, these logos and character designs shouldn't be necessary to use as the target audience is already aware of them. To people unfamiliar with the wider vsynth sphere, these images means nothing to them and the presentation will generate concern before it generates interest. Therefore there's no reason to have them.

Vocatone has said that most of their funding is currently coming out of pocket, with extra money from backers acting as a means to accelerate production.
In contrast, this seems to me like the crux of impending problems. It's great that the devs are being educated to present their product "to investors and the community", but what we are discussing now is an example of such activities and it's frankly a mess. The language used-- "accelerating production" is super unclear and the slightest bit more transparency would create a better basis for investors' confidence. "You are paying for 2 months of the DSP developer's time and promotional artwork," or "the goal of this crowdfund is to deliver on XYZ features that are not currently in budget" is fine. But as it stands, for all we know this project could evaporate tomorrow if a contributor goes to the hospital and needs to foot a big bill or any number of other scenarios that could impact a corporate endeavor that, as far as we can tell as public investors, has no finite budget or intended "full" budget.

This is pure speculation, but the project seems to be split in an unfortunate way between a very well-intentioned and likely well educated "linguistics" development side and an also well-intentioned but less focused "vocaloid fan development" side. I can't help but feel that, if the "vocaloid fan" stuff were taken out of this equation, the picture would be a lot clearer and perhaps the representatives would feel less inclined to present the project in this increasingly nebulous way.

I do think Maghni AI will come to fruition eventually, but I have worries currently.
 

morrysillusion

v flower enthusiast
Jul 14, 2018
780
25
Socal
morrysillusion.wixsite.com
Even from the very beginning (before this crowd fund) the schedule they projected back then seemed way too ambitious and it certainly was more so with how they didnt even have an engine to show. seeing it pop up again, with a demo, it at least felt they gained the awareness of what they should have in order to show people they are crowd funding something that has 'started' to an extent. regardless, their tone as a company hasnt changed and i still dont really have the impression of them feeling professional/formal about being a company. its fandom-y company vibe is just my immediate concern when i looked at it and i felt earlier in this thread that, how much attraction would there be if the fandom involvement wasnt there? because honestly i dont see the fandom as much of people who would use the project, bc fandom has a lot of love for the characters and not the tech and the revival of Oliver and designs with much wanted rep has people excited a lot. and yes, we have producers in the fandom. but again, being contained to the fandom and their energy has me also seeing how much this isnt leaving the bubble and getting exposed to the outside music industry. it might still support them right now, but its ultimately what has me feeling like they wont leave that behind as a company.

i also highly agree, things like timeline, finance, and other potential legal issues (re copyright/logos/illustrations) has me wondering especially how their team is prepared in those departments. actually, their crowd fund page's list of team members doesnt list anything outside of people who know linguistics, coding, and/or having experience directly with vocal synths-- not sure if theres someone else behind them that isnt mentioned that manages finances or something lol... but if not that would set my concerns. its not like i havent seen fandom projects pop up with no financial advisor and eventually or quickly fail because money wasnt spent poorly by the head of the project-- i wont name any... but i cant stress enough how important it is to have experts in finance and legal departments working on these projects. its not even just this fandom's issue. its an issue with tons of crowd fund projects that fail.

however this isnt me assuming the worst in terms of how they will handle that side of things. maybe they will know how to balance it all with no problem! but the timeline, goals, and long existing concerns regarding professional management ("fandom-y" feel) up to now and the way their presentation garners so much quick hype from fandom has me also feeling its a project that may not reach its milestones in the way people would hope, potentially getting ahead of themselves. at the very least, even if that timeline delays or gets messed up, id still want to see the best for them and have a finished poduct.
 
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zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
Even from the very beginning (before this crowd fund) the schedule they projected back then seemed way too ambitious and it certainly was more so with how they didnt even have an engine to show. seeing it pop up again, with a demo, it at least felt they gained the awareness of what they should have in order to show people they are crowd funding something that has 'started' to an extent. regardless, their tone as a company hasnt changed and i still dont really have the impression of them feeling professional/formal about being a company. its fandom-y company vibe is just my immediate concern when i looked at it and i felt earlier in this thread that, how much attraction would there be if the fandom involvement? because honestly i dont see the fandom as much of people who would use the project, bc fandom has a lot of love for the characters and not the tech and the revival of Oliver and designs with much wanted rep has people excited a lot. and yes, we have producers in the fandom. but again, being contained to the fandom and their energy has me also seeing how much this isnt leaving the bubble and getting exposed to the outside music industry. it might still support them right now, but its ultimately what has me feeling like they wont leave that behind as a company.

i also highly agree, things like timeline, finance, and other potential legal issues (re copyright/logos/illustrations) has me wondering especially how their team is prepared in those departments. actually, their crowd fund page's list of team members doesnt list anything outside of people who know linguistics, coding, and/or having experience directly with vocal synths-- not sure if theres someone else behind them that isnt mentioned that manages finances or something lol... but if not that would set my concerns. its not like i havent seen fandom projects pop up with no financial advisor and eventually or quickly fail because money wasnt spent poorly by the head of the project-- i wont name any... but i cant stress enough how important it is to have experts in finance and legal departments working on these projects. its not even just this fandom's issue. its an issue with tons of crowd fund projects that fail.

however this isnt me assuming the worst in terms of how they will handle that side of things. maybe they will know how to balance it all with no problem! but the timeline, goals, and long existing concerns regarding professional management ("fandom-y" feel) up to now and the way their presentation garners so much quick hype from fandom has me also feeling its a project that may not reach its milestones in the way people would hope, potentially getting ahead of themselves. at the very least, even if that timeline delays or gets messed up, id still want to see the best for them and have a finished poduct.
Fantastic way of putting it. Don't wanna rain on anyone's parade here, but there's definitely some concerns backers should be aware of! I also know Cocoa's been around here recently, so I really hope the presentation concerns at least get noted... I really hope that if the budget/timeline gets pushed to its limits, Maghni survives. The Oliver remake sounds great and having high-quality vocal synths in languages other than Chinese, Japanese, and English is something I feel is sorely needed. Personally I would give anything for a high quality, French masculine AI voicebank to play around with. Super excited for the project as a whole but. Yeah, it may need a little reworking
 

Infoholic

CEO of Chorical, LLC.
Mar 26, 2018
258
While I think there are some valid concerns, as there are with any project, I find the "fandom-centric marketing" criticism somewhat perplexing.

VocaTone's marketing campaign heavily focuses on the pre-existing vocal synth community rather than a wider audience, this is true. However, I don't think this is a bad thing at all, nor is it nonsensical. Putting their roots as fans themselves aside, their greatest success has always been within the vocal synth fanbase. This is the case for most vocal synth products. VocaTone is not a new group with no fans, they've had great success within the fandom with their older products. So, in the case of fundraising, why risk alienating that core fanbase? The smartest marketing move is to target who you already have and expand after without alienating them.

YAMAHA and Dreamtonic's pivot towards impersonal and "professional, modern" marketing after catering to the fandom has been one of their larger criticisms; especially for the former. VOCALOID5, while it sold well, was panned within the pre-existing community and the software still hasn't recovered in the eyes of many. With the way VOCALOID6 has had more character releases, and releases in general, than V5 along with the creation of VX-Beta that uses fandom-created vocals [Gekiyaku], I think even YAMAHA realized the damage they caused.

SynthesizerV started with fandom-centric marketing too, and looked incredibly "DIY." Most of its initial demonstrations were from fandom individuals who had a reach such as Cillia, and every R1 release had a mascot to go with the voice. Animen, the primary support at the time, was an anime company; Quadimension was a doujin circle turned company that released Vocaloid music, and it even had Renri. With R2 and the powerhouse that is AHS, Kanru was able to safely branch out into the current DT lineup which consists of the impersonal, non-mascot, "professional" vocals. But this was only done after it secured the fandom-centric marketing; and this decision has also created similar criticism, though not to the same degree, that YAMAHA received.

While I can agree that the IndieGoGo video might have been relying a bit too much on the fandom, the current marketing strategy makes the most sense for VocaTone to pursue given their pre-existing success within this sphere and, without the large support of a company like AHS or being a multi-billion dollar corporation like YAMAHA, avoid alienating the pre-existing userbase who gave them success and receiving the criticisms that YAMAHA and DT have received.
 

Leon

AKA missy20201 (Elliot)
Apr 8, 2018
993
I actually really agree. Look, I've been in the fandom a long time, for all the VO discourse and Ruby and Planty and so on and so forth. I get it. But we all revile Yamaha for refusing to market to the fans, who are the ones most likely to drop a lot of cash on their products, and I don't really think it's fair to complain about VT now catering to the fans.

Do I wish we'd had more samples? Yes. I'm still making up my mind about which of the banks I want to buy in the CF, because while I like Oliver well enough, he was never my favorite, but we didn't get to hear Aurum or Audine before the backing opened. And do I wish we saw any of the crosslang stuff, since it seems to be a driving thing behind Maghni? Definitely. Even SV has some accent issues (or had, maybe, it seems to be ever improving although Spanish's beta is naturally not quite there yet), so I'm really curious to see how it goes. But none of that is down to them being fandom-centric, it's just a dev cycle with presumably limited cash
 

pico

robot enjoyer
Sep 10, 2020
539
Do we all revile Yamaha for "not marketing to fans"? I see what you're saying, but I don't think it's fair to generalize all criticism as being hypocritical. This group is not a monolith. I think commercial endeavors should all be treated with equal parts respect and scrutiny.

For clarity-- I don't think any of us would have even brought up "fandom-centric marketing" in general had the proposal and marketing itself been clear and communicative. "Fandom slang", icons, and shout-outs are not inherently problematic, but they certainly do not help the general lack of clarity in this campaign. From a financial perspective, pandering to "fandom members" makes a lot of sense as far as expansible income, but as a fan, it would make me more confident to give money to this campaign if the roadmap were clear.

For better or for worse, SynthesizerV was never a crowdfunded project. Kanru Hua published a demo and funded it internally. Yamaha never crowdfunded Vocaloid. The distinction here is that we are the investors now, which means treating the campaign only as "a fun thing for fans" and not a professional escapade, which it is, is misleading.

Both things can be true at once-- fans can be the target demographic, and the campaign can also inspire confidence.
 

zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
pico put it better than I did, but this is absolutely not JUST about fandom catering, it's about the lack of professionalism combined with the limited information and crowdfunded nature of this project.
Putting their roots as fans themselves aside, their greatest success has always been within the vocal synth fanbase. This is the case for most vocal synth products. VocaTone is not a new group with no fans, they've had great success within the fandom with their older products. So, in the case of fundraising, why risk alienating that core fanbase?
I'm not a lawyer or a business professional, but I'm pretty sure using copyrighted logos, characters, and other material to intentionally pander to a specific fanbase seems like kind of a big no-no. One that two established startups in this community should know to avoid, especially since copyright strikes are a major fandom project killer.
YAMAHA and Dreamtonic's pivot towards impersonal and "professional, modern" marketing after catering to the fandom has been one of their larger criticisms; especially for the former.
Also, comparing Vocatone to Yamaha, who was already a well established industry titan, responsible for the DX7 (one of the best selling synthesizers ever) long before Vocaloid’s release, and, as pico said, never relied on crowdfunding, is kind of a poor comparison. Yamaha could afford to market Vocaloid to a niche demographic because if it failed, they'd be fine. Like you said, they're a multi-billion dollar corp. Their switch to character-based releases is because of the popularity of those characters, which has surged recently.
SynthesizerV started with fandom-centric marketing too, and looked incredibly "DIY." Most of its initial demonstrations were from fandom individuals who had a reach such as Cillia, and every R1 release had a mascot to go with the voice.
Also a bad comparison. While this is 'fandom-centric' marketing, using well known fan creators to demo your project is NOT the same as using a well known fan creator to talk about it and insert 25 seconds of an unrelated demo alongside his speech next to a copyrighted character that is not yours to freely use. And again, as pico said, SynthV never relied on crowdfunding.

The issue is not the fandom catering, it's the poor execution. If they weren't asking for people's money and weren't potentially toeing the line of a copyright strike (which could send a lot of backers' money down the drain) we wouldn't have a concern here.
 

Infoholic

CEO of Chorical, LLC.
Mar 26, 2018
258
Do we all revile Yamaha for "not marketing to fans"? I see what you're saying, but I don't think it's fair to generalize all criticism as being hypocritical. This group is not a monolith. I think commercial endeavors should all be treated with equal parts respect and scrutiny.
I really dislike this framing of Leon's statement. There is never a situation where 100% of a fandom agrees on anything, but Vocaloid5 and Yamaha's lack of fan marketing after a certain point in V4 were and are still very much decisions that a large majority of the fandom disagrees with and that is certainly what Leon was referring to.

I'm not a lawyer or a business professional, but I'm pretty sure using copyrighted logos, characters, and other material to intentionally pander to a specific fanbase seems like kind of a big no-no. One that two established startups in this community should know to avoid, especially since copyright strikes are a major fandom project killer.
They are not using copyrighted or trademarked logos or characters for slander or libel, they are not presenting them as their products, nor are they diluting the trademark. They are presenting these items in an informative and editorial way that qualifies under nominative fair use; a perfectly valid, and legal way to use copyrighted materials. A quick web search or watching some business law videos is an easy way to find this information, and this is a very common business practice.

About the comparisons I made between Yamaha>VocaTone>Dreamtonics, they are not 1:1 (nor did I ever claim them to be so). However, there are some similarities that I found to be notable and thus mentioned them. VocaTone being crowdfunded was one of my standout points because, as I said, VocaTone has found the most success within the fandom and has mascot vocals. Because VocaTone is crowdfunding, it makes the most sense and is the best approach to cater to that demographic that has backed them.

Yamaha, VocaTone, and Dreamtonics are contemporaries, and have had similar experiences; it is not a poor comparison to be made. They were not crowdfunded, but that does not mean we can't draw comparisons; especially SynthesizerV. I did not list every single avenue of "fandom-centric marketing" that SynthesizerV did, but it was much more than just having high-profile individuals make demonstrations and ending it at that.

The issue is not the fandom catering, it's the poor execution. If they weren't asking for people's money and weren't potentially toeing the line of a copyright strike (which could send a lot of backers' money down the drain) we wouldn't have a concern here.
Additionally, I find it somewhat strange that you preface your message with a lack of business or legal knowledge; yet make this assertion that they are "potentially toeing the line of a copyright strike."

Overall, a lot of these claims and points I feel are heavily exaggerated, and assume the worst out of VocaTone. I agree that language could be clearer, that there could be more demonstrations [the biggest criticism I have personally], and that there could be more transparency, but I don't believe we are privy to private information such as the exact salaries of individuals either nor do I think that they are intentionally being unclear with the information being provided.

I'm sure I'm missing a reply to something, or a point raised here or there, but honestly, I feel like this thread has been so convoluted with what-about-isms and what-ifs that it's hard to have a concrete discussion moving forward and will likely be my last response outside of news/excitement/etc. If you truly feel that VocaTone is unprofessional or a risky investment, you don't have to donate. There are ways to criticize without doom posting or creating made-up scenarios about assumptions that lack any strong backing.
 
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Leon

AKA missy20201 (Elliot)
Apr 8, 2018
993
Yeah, apologies for sloppy phrasing (and certainly, there are also fans who think it's the right move to try to move away from avatars and instead market to professionals -- we can agree to disagree lol). And there are certainly unprofessional aspects I can agree with criticisms on! I was chipping in on the 'feels like it's done by and for fans' as not being a totally bad thing :)
 

pico

robot enjoyer
Sep 10, 2020
539
I'm sure I'm missing a reply to something, or a point raised here or there, but honestly, I feel like this thread has been so convoluted with what-about-isms and what-ifs that it's hard to have a concrete discussion moving forward and will likely be my last response outside of news/excitement/etc. If you truly feel that VocaTone is unprofessional or a risky investment, you don't have to donate. There are ways to criticize without doom posting or creating made-up scenarios about assumptions that lack any strong backing.
I don't know about this one, chief. It's great that you, personally, as an individual, are confident in the product and feel compelled to come to its defense, but to reduce the entirety of thread's contents-- comprised of the comments of several different users to "whataboutisms", feels like an oversimplification to me. If you personally consider our posts to be "doomposting", or have take specific issue with statements a specific user has made (as you did with zephyrloid's post), that's fine. But to assume that all of our comments come from a place of purely ill regard, or are "made-up", is simply not true. To decry the entire discussion as a lost cause seems like a huge lost opportunity for you, as someone that has come to the product's defense.

Again, both things can be true at once-- users can be skeptical, and you can be excited-- without either of these things being "wrong".

Edit: (Of course, disengaging from this conversation is completely fine. Don't mean to imply that anyone is obligated to be here.)

Yeah, apologies for sloppy phrasing (and certainly, there are also fans who think it's the right move to try to move away from avatars and instead market to professionals -- we can agree to disagree lol). And there are certainly unprofessional aspects I can agree with criticisms on! I was chipping in on the 'feels like it's done by and for fans' as not being a totally bad thing :)
No worries, definitely agree that it's not patently bad or one-sided in this way. I'm with you.
 
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zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
But to assume that all of our comments come from a place of purely ill regard, or are "made-up", is simply not true. To decry the entire discussion as a lost cause seems like a huge lost opportunity for you, as someone that has come to the product's defense.
Seconding with pico on this one, again. We're not trying to "doompost", assume the worst of VT, or be hateful here. To be clear, I am very excited about Maghni as a potential product, but the concerns about the "fandom" nature of this product/unprofessionalism in tandem with other aspects of the project are a huge red flag for me that have kept me from backing, and I feel it's important to discuss them as individual backers have seemed to contribute a significant amount per person on average, as I said in my first post. It's not just a DIY presentation that concerns me. It's a DIY presentation and a lack of transparency and a concerning budget and an extremely quick turnaround.

I get that I may be coming off as overly critical, but I say this as someone who is really interested in this project becoming a reality. I don't think what's being promised is feasible in its current state, and, while I'm sure the devs are passionate, dedicated, and hardworking people, I'm nervous about how this is going to play out. And, like I said in my first post, I'm also coming at this from the perspective of someone who's seen projects that bear a strong resemblance to this one from an outside observer go down in infamy-- there's at least two Tumblr crowdfunding "scandals" I can name off the top of my head. These projects can (and do) go sideways, especially when big things are promised in a short timeframe, and if the project does fall through, Maghni being a flexible funding project means that backers will not see their money refunded even if nothing happens.

I want Maghni to exist. I want people to feel encouraged to do more projects like this. That's exactly why I'm nervous about the state of it! I think it's kind of a problem if you have people who, like me, didn't know about Maghni before the Indiegogo, saw it, and immediately thought "whoa, this seems super cool in theory but it looks kinda sketchy."

Additionally, I find it somewhat strange that you preface your message with a lack of business or legal knowledge; yet make this assertion that they are "potentially toeing the line of a copyright strike."
Just to clarify, while I don't have business or legal knowledge directly, I'm a community organizer and former content creator. I never handled legal disputes or anything, but I've always been told it's better to not risk it with copyright infringement, especially when it comes to the intellectual property of larger companies like Yamaha. Thank you for explaining the copyright law to me, I should have looked. But now that I think about it, aren't they presenting Oliver as their product? I mean, they literally use the phrase "from the people who brought you Oliver" and the Oliver character all over the video as a means of promoting Maghni. Aren't both Oliver and YOHIOLoid owned by PowerFX, not VocaTone? I'm genuinely curious, that seems like a potential issue.
 

Infoholic

CEO of Chorical, LLC.
Mar 26, 2018
258
Never said the thread's entirety was able to be dismissed, I said that the thread had devolved and I stand by that statement. Rather than expressing concern and discussing it constructively, it definitely [while scrolling through the pages] felt more like it had become "Here is my initial concern, now here's 5 potential scenarios that can happen because of that initial concern, and now we're talking about things very far removed from the original concern" after a certain point.

Again, plenty of criticisms to be made and I have reiterated them in my posts as well; however, at some point, it becomes less of expressing concern constructively and just speculating where there's no need to, creating questions or discussions in bad faith such as the idea that VocaTone is intentionally being as vague as possible.

But now that I think about it, aren't they presenting Oliver as their product? I mean, they literally use the phrase "from the people who brought you Oliver" and the Oliver character all over the video as a means of promoting Maghni. Aren't both Oliver and YOHIOLoid owned by PowerFX, not VocaTone? I'm genuinely curious, that seems like a potential issue.
No, Oliver and YOHIOLoid are owned by VocaTone. PowerFX was only their distributor, similar to RUBY being owned by Syo. (I don't blame you for this confusion though, a lot of Vocaloids are categorized as being under X company when they were really by Y company, but X distributed them. Most of the "YAMAHA VOCALOIDs" aren't theirs either.)
 

zephyrloid

otomachi una enjoyer
Jan 6, 2024
9
however, at some point, it becomes less of expressing concern constructively and just speculating where there's no need to, creating questions or discussions in bad faith such as the idea that VocaTone is intentionally being as vague as possible.
If this was how it came off, that wasn’t my intention and I doubt it was pico’s either. Nobody is trying to speculate without reason or make bad faith claims about VT— I did make some speculations before, but only in the sense that those speculations are scenarios that aren’t uncommon in failed and/or delayed crowdfunds. None of this is meant to be in bad faith, I’ve reiterated several times that I believe VT and Misbah are a team of hard working and passionate, dedicated individuals, and that the concern comes from previous experience with crowdfund campaigns. Morrysillusion has said the same, that it’s not an issue with this fandom or campaign but rather with crowdfunds as a whole. And Pico certainly hasn’t claimed that VT is intentionally being vague, just that their presentation has been lackluster.

Nothing has really gone that far off topic, from what I can tell reading back: it all comes down to the issue that the campaign looks, for lack of better terms, a bit sketchy and/or inexperienced. Not that it is, just that the combination of its elements (most importantly the low budget, extremely fast timeline, and somewhat vague information, but also the presentation in combination with those other aspects) comes off as such. pico or morrysillusion can correct me if i’m wrong on their front, but I hope that puts my stance concisely.
 

lIlI

Staff member
Moderator
Apr 6, 2018
863
The Lightning Strike
They are not using copyrighted or trademarked logos or characters for slander or libel, they are not presenting them as their products, nor are they diluting the trademark. They are presenting these items in an informative and editorial way that qualifies under nominative fair use; a perfectly valid, and legal way to use copyrighted materials.
I'm not sure if this is quite right - nominative fair use has certain stipulations that Vocatone doesn't meet:
  1. The product or service cannot be readily identified without using the trademark. The concept of a vocal synth can be described without mentioning other companies.
  2. The user only uses as much of the mark as is necessary for the identification (e.g. the words but not the font or symbol). Vocatone used the font, symbol, and commisioned illustrations (which aren't necessarily considered trademarks, but copyrighted images, and are thus particularly dicey).
  3. The user does nothing to suggest sponsorship or endorsement by the trademark holder. I think they're fine here, although some particularly litigious companies have argued that simply having other brands mentioned in proximity to your own is enough association to be considered free riding. i.e. using another company's good reputation to bolster your own. Remarkably ungenerous, but always worth noting the worst-case scenario.
Even when not grounds for legal action, most companies strongly dislike seeing their work being used by other corporations; especially if it's being borrowed to promote a product that's directly competing with them. I don't think the folks at Vocatone have this capitalist mindset, so they might not realise they've committed a faux pas. It gives the impression they're newbies to the business space, which was my personal cause for concern.

Luckily, this is ultimately a very minor issue, and I think it's incredibly unlikely for Vocatone to attract any real scrutiny for it. But, I hope they do seek out good resources for legal knowledge and business etiquette, to prevent them from making any mistakes that might cause more serious roadblocks.
 

JaniceHua

oh, that's not...
Jan 11, 2024
2
hiiii im new here but tbh what they did just sounds like standard marketing that literally every commercial does. they didn't bash or talk bad about the other vocal synth projects or voices and only used them as an example so... I don't really see a need to harp on it. It falls under fair use. Even if it was a faux pas, I care more about what they are making and trying to create for musicians, not anything silly like fake concern over a png image with sloppy motion blur that appeared for all of 2 seconds next to big-breasted circusP.

At the end of the day this is a product and vocatone and whoever else is trying to acquire additional funding so they can give us said product right? It's amateur in some places and could be better, duh, but we could at least wait for them to have the finances to be held to the standard of now-rich ahs-backed dreamtonics and millionaire company yamaha. This is nowhere close to previous shoddy commercial attempts. they have a literal engine on-par with the others, a flashy ui, and are more transparent and open than literally any other. I'd rather complain about missed deadlines and failed promises when they occur, rather than assume the worst over a mistake or simple misunderstanding. it isn't like they threw this together overnight. from what I read this software has been in the works for over 5+ years. this level of professionalism from a team that has been working in the shadows for years to finally reveal their project is to be expected.

I've been lurking here for like a week now and all these back and forths just seems weirdly entitled. not to be rude, but let's just try and be normal about cool things coming up instead of being so negative and expecting immediate failure and low key praying on the downfall of any project that isn't east asian (which this community has a long and horrible history of doing 😭). at least wait til they actually screw up!! Like man, they can't breathe without someone voicing a made up concern in their head here

all that being said
if there were any actual concerns, im p sure the dev team is super public and linked their socials. do what people do @ eclipsed sounds and write a community document with questions and concerns or hell, message the guy who was in here last week answering questions. I have a few that I want to ask and plan to do so in a few days. I think we just gotta give them a chánce.

eng isn't my first language so apologies if I came off rude :/ just passionate!!! ❤
 

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