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Voctro Labs is a company born as an spin-off of the MTG, the group involved in the VOCALOID's development in association with Yamaha. The company's goal is to provide voice synth-related technology, and they were the first one to release Spanish VOCALOID: V3 Bruno and Clara.
Stablished on December 2011, Voctro-Labs, S.L. is the third spin-off company born from the Music Technology Group (MTG) in the Department of Information and Communication Technologies of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF). The company was founded by Jordi Janer, Oscar Mayor, Merlijn Blaauw and Jordi Bonada, with the support of the Innovation Unit of the UPF and the second prize of the Valortec 2011.
Around 2009 the MTG started to develop two Spanish voices for Vocaloid that eventually will become the Vocaloids Bruno and Clara. According Voctro Labs, the process wasn't continuous, as they had to adapt the Vocaloid engine to the Spanish language and establish the company first.
Aware the Spanish market is more difficult than the English and Japanese ones (mainly due the piracy and as the software less known), the company has opted to a different business model to said markets.
HISTORY:Xavier Serra was born in Barcelona (Catalonia, Spain) and from a very young age he maintained a dual interest in music and science. He started musical studies when he was 11 years old, studying classical guitar and cello at the Conservatory of Barcelona (graduated in guitar in 1981) and then he combined those studies with the studies of Biology at the University of Barcelona (BSc in Biology in 1981).
After completing his undergraduate education and with a scholarship from a Catalan bank, he continued his studies in the USA. He did a Master in Music at Florida State University (graduated with honors in 1983), where he was able to combine music performance with a formal education in computer music in one of the few centers that at that time offered this possibility. In 1983 he obtained a Fulbright scholarship to do a PhD and was accepted at Stanford University to work at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics (CCRMA), specializing in audio signal processing for music applications. At CCRMA, he studied with pioneers in the field like John Chowning, Max Mathews and Julius Smith. Xavier Serra obtained his PhD in 1989 with a thesis entitled: A System for Sound Analysis/Transformation/Synthesis based on a Deterministic plus Stochastic Decomposition. Out of the thesis, Stanford University obtained a patent and a number of relevant academic articles were published. Serra's thesis was recognized as an important contribution in the field of Sound and Music Computing, being cited by several hundred academic publications in the next few years and obtaining a wide recognition from the research community.
After obtaining the PhD, Xavier Serra was hired by the Japanese company Yamaha at a research center that the company established in California, Yamaha Music Technologies. There he continued for two years his research on audio processing applied to sound synthesis, working specially with the singing voice.
In 1991 Xavier Serra obtained a grant from the Spanish Government to return to Barcelona with the goal to promote there the field of Sound and Music Computing. He became the executive director of Phonos Foundation and from that position he promoted new education and research initiatives. He joined the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in 1994 and established the Music Technology Group. He also helped in creating the Escola Superior de Music de Catalunya, where he established the Department of Sonology.
As head of the MTG, Xavier Serra has been behind most of the accomplishments of the group. Some of those are the software Vocaloid, the collaborative site Freesound.org, etc
He has also been very active in promoting initiatives in the field of Sound and Music Computing at the international level, being editor and reviewer of a number of journals, conferences and research programs of the European Commission, and giving lectures on current and future challenges of the field.
In 2010 Xavier Serra was awarded an Advanced Grant of the European Research Council to carry out the project CompMusic (Computational models for the discovery of the world's music).
PROFILE:He is Associate Professor of the Department of Information and Communication Technologies at the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF), in Barcelona. He also is the Founder and Director Music Technology Group (MTG) in that University.
HISTORY:Jordi Bonada was born in 1973. He received a M.Sc. degree in Electrical Engineering from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Barcelona, Spain) in 1997, and a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science and Digital Communications from the UPF. (Barcelona, Spain) in 2009.
Since 1996 he is a researcher of the MTG in the same university while leading several projects funded by public and private institutions. In 2003 he was a visiting researcher at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm (Sweden), and later in 2010 at the CIRMMT (McGill University) in Montreal (Canada).
He is mostly interested in the field of spectral-domain audio signal processing, with a focus on singing voice modeling and synthesis. His research trajectory is wide and multidisciplinary, with an important focus on technology transfer and he has co-authored more than forty patents.
In 2010 he was awarded a prize of the Board of Trustees of the Universitat Pompeu Fabra in the category of Ph.D. thesis with big knowledge transfer potential. He also was awarded by Epson Foundation with the first prize (Rosina Ribalta) for the best Ph.D. thesis on Information Technology and Communications, for his Ph.D. thesis on "Singing Voice Processing by Performance Sampling and Spectral Models".
PROFILE:He is a researcher coming from the Music Technology Group (MTG) at Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF) who contributed actively in the development of VOCALOID. He is one of the co-founders and indistinct administrator of Voctro Labs, S.L. along with Jordi Janer, Merlijn Blaauw and Oscar Mayor.
TRIVIA:Jordi Bonada received an award by Japan Institute of Invention and Innovation due his contribution and patents generated in collaboration with Yamaha, including Vocaloid software
During the promotions of both Bruno and Clara, a contest was announced on November 10, 2011. Submissions were closed on December 10th, and voting (by visitors) was open from December 10th to December 17th 2011. The rules stated that the image depict both Bruno and Clara in a single submission. Both characters should be drawn in a similar style to their debut, that being the overall ‘look’ (clothing, hair/eye color, etc.) of the current characters. However, artistic freedom was allowed.
The winner(s) would earn the prize of having Bruno & Clara voice libraries as direct downloads, while the second prize was a choice between Bruno or Clara voice library (winner’s choice) as direct download.
The contest was spawned from negative messages from those who were disappointed with the art for the voices, as many were expecting a more "manga"-like style that is typically associated with Vocaloid such as Crypton.
The winners were announced on the 19th of December.
VoctroLabs have released various Plug-ins to help Bruno & Clara users, like Vocaloid users in general.
Involvement in Plan B
VoctroLabs collaborated in the 2nd edition of Plan Balletines (Plan B), a collaborative project sponsored by Ballantine's where the people can help to create the lyrics for a famous artist. In this edition participated the Spanish band, La Oreja de Van Gogh.
VoctroLabs provided the tools that allowed to the participants listen their written lyrics sung by a virtual female voice through the official website using NetVocaloid synthesis. It was revealed this voice was a new Vocaloid that was being developed by the company. The company announced they're planning on releasing this voice to the public, however they don't have a date for this yet.
The contest ended the December 29, 2012 with the song 'Otra vez me has sacado a bailar' chosen as winner among the 15,000 entries. The song was available for purchase and download at January 22, 2013 and the band officially debut it in the Premios 40 Principales 2013.
La Mercè Concert
The company's location is where the Vocaloid was developed between the Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona and Yamaha Corporations in Japan.
↑MTG - MTG creates Voctro Labs, a new spin-off company