Niconomics: The Anatomy and Trends of the Vocaloid Countdown
The views expressed here are the opinions of a single user, and are not necessarily affiliated with Vocaloidism and its staff.
Recently, there has been a lot of hype and reaction to iroha removing his famed “Meltdown” video from Nico Nico Douga. I myself have submitted my opinion on it elsewhere and will not waste time by repeating it here. Ever since, there have been theories emerging as to how the Countdown will be affected by this new development. Thanks to my peers on this blog, I have come to realize that it is not actually “Meltdown” being pulled that is causing the rankings to fall, it just triggered and brought to light an issue that would have eventually happened anyway. The rating system for the Countdown is on the verge of collapse.
Ever since Meltdown disappeared from the countdown, we’ve all been keeping an eye on the points, and them steadily dropping. Some people are fearing that Vocaloid is fading out of popularity, but that isn’t the case at all. The case is that Nico Nico Douga is running out of new users. There are over 170 million people in Japan inhabiting under 146,000 square miles. Nico Nico Douga was launched December 12, 2006. That nearly three year timespan is more than enough time for everyone and their mother in Japan to have a user account.
If you look at the way the countdown works, points are awarded when a user either views a video or when the video is added to the user’s MyList. More points are awarded for MyList adds than views. This is where the wrinkle arises. If you look at MyList itself, it is finite in its capacity. Free users can only create twenty-five MyList folders (usually one is reserved for your own works) and 100 videos in each. That leaves, potentially, 2,400 possible spots to fill with favorites. The paid subscription increases the folder size to 500 videos in each, leaving potentially 12,000 possible spots to be filled. That may seem like a lot of videos at first, however this statistic overlooks the fact that you can only have one instance of a video in a folder at a time! This means that no matter how many video spots you have available, one user can only have a maximum of 25 MyList subscriptions go towards the points!
With Vocaloid producers ever expanding their boundaries, more users are finding songs they like and adding them to their lists, removing some of the old ones to free up more space. And as users are getting wiser, they’re saving some of their folders for later, just in case they want to make different playlists as the amount of videos increases. This is the reason for the reduction of points in the countdown from MyListers. They are using finite entries to take stock on videos that may very well exist forever.
What we are seeing in the aftermath of the “Meltdown” meltdown is nothing that wouldn’t happen eventually. It’s just more noticeable now. New users are not adding multiple instances of the videos to their MyList folders, and there are fewer applicants to NND, since most of Japan has already signed up. So the MyList amounts are starting to slip and reduce.
Though I have no right to tell them anything, there are two ways to save the Countdown, and all the other Countdowns within NND.
1: Recalculate the Ranking Formula to rely less on the limited MyList entries, and more towards the infinite hits and downloads. With people trying to conserve their folders, popularity can’t be judged heavily on it anymore. Hits, barring spammers, are more indicative of popularity, and should be better represented.
2: Open up NND to the world. Create English-language pages and registration, and spread the smiles out to every nation. That would open a floodgate of new users, hits, and MyList subscriptions never before seen. With the amount of users that await, there wouldn’t be a tapering off of MyList subscriptions until long after NND is obsolete.
As the weeks continue on, we will most likely see more reduction in MyList subscriptions, and many will be knocked from the Countdown because of it, even though the videos themselves are extremely popular. I feel that the Countdown is no longer indicative of a video’s true popularity, and needs to be adjusted to be more fair to it.
Editor’s note: Please try to include an starting image for your future posts, thanks. – DT
6 thoughts on “Niconomics: The Anatomy and Trends of the Vocaloid Countdown”
Sorry DT. Had some issues with my photobucket that I couldn't resolve in time.
What exactly do you mean by No.2? Anyone can make a NND account and almost everyone who has interest in VOCALOID already has an account. IMHO it's just the problem of not using the MyList feature.
Access or no, there is a language barrier that most people can't get across. Also some service providers *cough* Comcast *cough* refuse to allow foreign proxies. I'm one of those people who can't get into NND on my own due to the latter.
Comcast doesn't block NND, so I'm not quite sure I'm understanding what the issue is, there.
Anyway, the language barrier for MyListing is minimal compared the language barrier people would have to jump simply in order to appreciate the songs that're being pumped out for/through Vocaloid. Opening up NND to the world probably won't have that great an impact on the rankings, honestly.
Also, simply using the number of hits on a video as a way of marking popularity is good, but also faulty, unless NND only marks one hit per IP address (which, to my knowledge, it doesn't). Something like views/hits can easily be spammed up by bots and the likes, which is why most rankings prefer not to rely on them. While in theory, they should better represent the users' interests, in practice, people just abuse that system.
I didn't say they block NND exclusively, I said they block the use of foreign proxies. But hey, if they don't do that, they also don't block torrents, download accelerators, and FTP filesharing. That's what their official statement said anyway, even though I have documented proof they did on multiple occasions.
japanese culture loves stats, whether or not they decide their current system is flawed is just a matter of time before they find a new metric to measure a song's popularity. Vocaloid popularity is probably as stable now as ever, there's tons of quality artists that maintain their popularity, either free upload on nico/piapro, or commercial release and to an extent, doujinshi circle release. Vocaloid provides a means for song writers to have a vocalist who otherwise couldn't share their music with people.
I think you need to look at the nico singer community in the same light, as they are interconnected. Good songs, not just popular songs, will be performed by nico doujinshi singers, this props them up and drives them to make more songs, it also introduces them to real vocalists, and we're beginning to see the results. Vocalists are finding songwriters, who are both finding band members, and they're getting together and writing both vocaloid and original material. If you follow the blogs at all, you can see all the behind the scenes collaboration going on, and even these artists being booked in to performing live shows.
If anything vocaloid is becoming a stepping stone for hobby artist to take things to the next step. Rankings are rankings, japanese people will find a way to rank the stats of rocks if they think they could make them appealing. Also, if you rewind all the way back to week 1, I think the ranking metrics are not what they use now either, so the system will probably change again.