LG’s Virtual Human Signs Record Deal After Learning to Sing
LG’s virtual human, Reah Keem, has graduated from corporate speaker to pop star. The AI, or at least the electronics giant behind it, has signed with entertainment firm Mystic Story to collaborate on an album of songs performed by Keem.
LG introduced Reah Keem as a ‘virtual influencer’ last year as the host of its 2021 CES press conference. Keem served as an ad for the company’s tech even when showcasing other examples. Even then, LG touted Keem as a composer and DJ, albeit with only one song on SoundCloud. The virtual Seoul citizen has skyrocketed in popularity since then, evidenced by going from 6,000 to about 15,800 Instagram followers in the course of a year. The deep learning technology used to train Keem’s personality, including its musical talent, will now go toward developing an album with popular singer-songwriter Yoon Jong-shin at his Mystic Story label.
“Singing about universal themes such as love, acceptance and unity is what I want to focus on,” Reah said in a statement from LG. “In the near future I’d love to work with various artists in fashion and visual arts to broaden the style of content for my fans to enjoy. The opportunities as a virtual artist are endless.”
Though Keem is the first virtual artist in Korea with an agency deal, the intersection of entertainment and virtual humans has been on the rise since this technology became available. Conversational AI startup CoCo Hub has leveraged its platform to produce its own pop star virtual influencers like Anna The Companionship Bot. Anna’s pop music single led to a whole publicity tour with media interviews and even a brief stint as a marriage officiant.
Virtual human platforms are getting better at integrating their creations into entertainment all the time. Technical improvements have accelerated the experiments, as did Unreal’s launch of MetaHuman Creator last February. Russian tech and finance giant Sber produced a virtual TV host, an ambition shared by developers at Nikkei Innovation Lab in Japan. Virtual human versions of celebrities are becoming an entire genre for the field as well. Hour One worked with Taryn Southern to make a virtual clone of the YouTube star, while Nestle Toll House offers baking advice through its virtual human “cookie coach” Ruth. Meanwhile, Uneeq’s Einstein digital clone and StoryFile virtual version of William Shatner both focus on answering questions about their respective lives. In October, the trend reached new heights when Cameo hired The Boss Baby, or at least the character’s AI-powered digital clone, to do personalized videos.