How to listen old Vocaloid songs

Series - Vocaloid Entry Guide

You are new to Vocaloid/Miku? You’re wondering which songs should you listen first?

Then come read this post and I will introduce you 2 quick ways to get familiar with Vocaloid/Miku 🙂.

Featured Image Source
Artist: 右の狛犬
Source: Pixiv

Before we get started, let’s make sure you have access to the following sites:

It’s better if you can understand some basic Japanese, or use a translator to understand Japanese.

Vocaloid has been around for 10+ years. Numerous Vocaloid songs were created by various Vocaloid Producers. Some of these songs are famous and become the symbol of Vocaloid throughout the years.

Therefore, listening famous Vocaloid songs in the history is the best way to get familiar with Vocaloid.

Of course, it can’t be that easy to get known to Vocaloid history by just listening songs. Hence, when you listen a song, it’s also better to search about the background of this song, like the Vocaloid Producer who made that song, the wiki about that song, or any interesting story behind that song. We hope that by searching these information, we can gather pieces of information and slowly build up the whole picture of Vocaloid history.

Where to search?

Here are some wiki that might be helpful for you to search any event happened in Vocaloid history, or any information about a particular song:

Here are some posts about the summary of Vocaloid history, written by other people. Unfortunately, these posts are in Chinese only 😪, and these are old posts, but they are still helpful if you can use a translator like DeepL:

Ok, so we get the main idea, but where can we find these famous Vocaloid songs? Well, there are 2 ways.

Talking about a list of famous Vocaloid songs, Hall of Legend is the best candidate. It is a list of songs with 1,000,000 views on Niconico. Here is the list of Hall of Legend:

About these lists
Unfortunately, some of these lists are in Chinese only. If you know a better alternative site with Japanese or English, let me know in the comment below

Similarly we have a YouTube version, but for ten million views: (because hitting 1 million views in Youtube is too easy)

Nice, we have the song list, but hold on, there are(by the time of writing this post) 800+ songs in the list 😱. We don’t have the effort to listen all of them, don’t we? So, we can sort the Hall of Legend song list in a certain order, and then based on your patient level, you (as a Miku fan) decide how many songs do you want to listen.

First, let’s draw a table like following:

time of achieving 1M views / publish year 2007 2008 2009 … more years … The Year before Last Year Last Year This Year
<= 100 days
<= 365 days
<= 3 or 4 years (up to u decide)
the rest

The same table can be used for the YouTube list, but instead of 1M views, we use 10M views, same applied for all “1M views” mentioned in the rest of this post

Basically, we divide the song list into cells based on release date and the time taken to reach 1M views. Next, we walk the table row by row. In each row, we walk the cell from left to right. In each cell, we find songs that satisfy the condition. For example, the first cell is songs that released in 2007 and hit 1M views within 100 days. Then we listen to these songs before moving on to the next cell.

So what is the point of this table? Well, each row has a significate meaning:

  • First Row: These songs hit 1M views in the very short time (within 100 days). These songs make great impact to the Vocaloid history. Hence we should listen to these songs first. Some examples are メルト, 千本桜, 砂の惑星, 乙女解剖, and etc.

  • Second Row: These songs hit 1M views within 365 days. A year of time tbh is still a short period. These songs, although are not as famous as the first row, usually becomes the symbol in the year. For example, magnet from 2009, 夕景イエスタデイ from 2013, 太陽系デスコ from 2017, まにまに from 2022, and etc.

    If you are impatient

    The first two rows together around 100~200 songs should be enough to give you a rough understanding of the Vocaloid history.

    For those who are impatient, you can stop by here, but I still highly recommend you keep on going to the third row if you can.

  • Third Row: This row contains many songs (probably around 300-500?). These songs took a considerable amount of time to reach 1 million views, but still, they achieved that milestone. In this row, you will experience the different styles of Vocaloid songs from different eras, showcasing the diversity of Vocaloid music styles that has accumulated over the years. That’s why I strongly recommend listening to the Vocaloid songs in this row.

Please be aware of fake views in Niconico

Some songs have fake views. In another words, some people use bots to massively increase the view count of a song.

To recognize songs with fake views, you can search the wiki of the song and usually it will tell you if the song has fake views or not. Another way of recognizing is to check the favourite count. You can suspect that any song with 1M views but less than 1000 favourite count potentially has fake views.

For example, 片恋歌 has only around 100 favourite count, and 忘れちゃったよ。 has less than 1000 favourite count. These two songs are known to have fake views.

In contrast, in normal situation, a song that just reach 1M views usually have thousands of favourite count.

Upon here, you should be pretty familiar with Vocaloid and know decent amount of famous Vocaloid songs, and even have some understanding of the Vocaloid history. If you are still interested in listening more, or want further understand more about Vocaloid, you can continue the last row, but it is optional.

Simply following the Hall of Legend song list one song at a time may still be quite tedious, even though we have sorted the list. So is there a more funnier way to listen Vocaloid songs? Fortunately, yes! Let’s play music games 😄!

The idea is like this, if a song is included in a music game, then such song should be quite popular. So, by playing music games, you get the fun, and at the same time you get known to some popular Vocaloid songs.

The music game that all Miku fans must play (Yes, must play, I am serious) is:

And choose at least one of the following music games to play:

The drawback of using music game to get known to famous Vocaloid songs is that you can’t sort songs by release date. Fortunately, I have a workaround for you for Project DIVA series.

Anyways, let’s talk about how can you get familiar with Vocaloid while having fun with music games.

About this section

This section is not focusing on teaching how to play these music games. About the guide to a particular music game, please refer to whatever guide you can find online.

This section is more about how to use these music games to get familiar with famous Vocaloid songs.

The best Vocaloid music game is Project DIVA series with no doubt. Here is the image of the Project DIVA series.

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Brife summary of the Project DIVA series

Project DIVA series included around 250+ songs.

As I said, playing music game can’t help to sort songs based on release date. However, we can sort the Project DIVA series based on release date of the game, as each Project DIVA includes the most popular Vocaloid songs of the time. By doing so, we can listen these 250+ songs in a roughly order of release date:

Title Release Year Platform
Project DIVA 2009 PSP
Project DIVA 2nd 2010 PSP
Project DIVA Extend 2011 PSP
Project DIVA F 2012 PS3, PSV
Project DIVA F 2nd 2014 PS3, PSV
Project DIVA X 2016 PS4, PSV
About these several titles
  1. Project DIVA X is optional if you have X Song Pack mode for Project DIVA MegaMix+ or AFT
  2. Project DIVA on PSP are also ported on PS3, called Project Diva Dreamy Theater series. This series has way better graphic, but require the saving data from the corresponding PSP version to play (which wouldn’t be too much a problem if you play on the emulator)
I don't have PSP/PV3/PSV what should I do?
For PC gamers with no PS platforms, you can use mature simulators on PC for replacement, you can use PPSSPP for PSP, RPCS3 for PS3, and Vita3K for PSV.

However, if you don’t care about the order (which I really don’t recommend to do so), you can play one of following masterpiece that include all 250+ songs:

MegaMix+ vs AFT which one should I choose?
Features Project DIVA MegaMix+ Project DIVA AFT
Is legal Yes No
Is free No Yes
AMD GPUs Supported Need patches
Advanced controller mapping. E.g. map L1,L2,R1,R2 to up,left,down,right respectively Unsupported Supported

There are two problems if you just use Project DIVA as the source of knowing Vocaloid songs:

  1. Not be able to know new songs: Unfortunately, Project DIVA is already a dead title. Although MegaMix+ is released in 2022, it is pretty much a refresh of Project DIVA FT back in 2016, with only 10+ additional songs released in between 2017 to 2019 (The MegaMix song pack for AFT I mentioned earlier). Songs released in 2020 and after are not included in Project DIVA series at all.
  2. Exclusive to Crypton Future Media (CFM) Vocaloid characters only: In another word. Project DIVA only contains songs sang by Miku, Rin, Len, Luka, Kaito, Meiko. Other characters like GUMI, IA, V Flower, Una, Kafu, etc are not included, despite they are also famous in Vocaloid history and have a lots of great songs.

That’s why playing one music game is not enough. We need a second one to fill these gaps.

If you like the game play in Project DIVA, and you don’t want to leave Project DIVA to listen new songs, then you can try the following 3 options:

  1. PPD: The first and oldest community-made simulation of Project DIVA on PC. It simulate the game play of Project Diva and brings it onto PC platform. PPD has its own rich community that is constantly creating new charts, which can be download from the PPD official website. Which charts should I play first? Well, that’s totally up to you 😁 because a song that worth to be made as a chart is already a quite popular song. Just be aware that there are also non-Vocaloid songs.
  2. Project Heartbeat: A.k.a PH, similar to PPD but has more advance customization and features. You can find community-made custom charts from Steam Workshop. PH can even import charts from PPD and Project DIVA MegaMix+. Hence I personally prefer PH over PPD.
  3. Project DIVA with mods: Instead of playing a simulation, you can choose to continue playing Project DIVA MegaMix+or AFT on your PC, but with MOD installed. Just head toward Project DIVA Modding 2nd Discord server and find the mod you want. The modding community is very active and you can find a large number of song packs to enrich your song list in Project DIVA MegaMix+ or AFT.

OSU is a very popular rhythm game. It’s barrier is high, but if you can pass that barrier, you will find it very fun to play. OSU is not a Vocaloid specific music game, but it still has a lot of Vocaloid songs. Just like PPD, OSU has a very rich and active community so you can expect constant release of new charts for Vocaloid songs.

You can start by using Deardrop’s Vocaloid song pack as the starting point, which has a whopping of 570 charts.

About Deardrop's Vocaloid Song Pack

The link provides you a download link from BaiduNetdisk (like Chinese Google Drive). Unfortunately, you need a Baidu account to download this song pack.

If you know any other Vocaloid song pack for OSU, please let me know in the comment below and I can include it here

Unfortunately, this is the only Vocaloid song pack I can find, and it has not been updated since 2015. However, you can always search “Vocaloid” on OSU official chart site, and sort results by chart release date to get newest Vocaloid charts.

I personally would not recommend this game as many people including me have bad impression to Project SEKAI, but it is still worth to mention here.

Project SEKAI is a mobile game made by SEGA and released in 2020. Since then, SEGA proactively organize song commission events. Thanks for these events, the Vocaloid society got motivated and contributed a decent amount of songs. Some of them even reached 1M views and became a song in the Hall of Legend song list. Of course, qualified songs from these commission events became playable in Project SEKAI. So playing Project SEKAI can help you to get known to newer songs which Project DIVA doesn’t have, especially those released in 2020 and after.

Unfortunately, Project SEKAI also only include songs from CFM Vocaloid characters, so it doesn’t fully solve the problem of playing Project DIVA only 😪.

Another problem with Project SEKAI is that, initially only a few songs are unlocked. To unlock more songs, you have to spend effort and time to play this game, which sometime can be tedious and time-consuming.

Finally, Project SEKAI is a mobile game. So expect pay-to-win elements and Gacha in this game.

Due to these drawbacks, I would recommend to avoid Project SEKAI if possible, but if you really want to stay in Project SEKAI, I recommend you just to buy a second hand Project SEKAI account that has majority of songs unlocked to save yourself some times on unlocking songs.

Credit to Bilibili user 夜轮_Nightwheel for pointing out CHUNITHM and maimai

If arcade machines are available near your place, then try CHUNITHM series and maimai series.

Both series have 200+ Vocaloid songs each even though they are not Vocaloid specific (just like OSU). Not only that, both series are still proactively maintained (by SEGA. Yes, the same company who made Project DIVA series), and are not limited to Crypton Future Media (CFM) Vocaloid characters only. so you don’t need to worry about the two problems of Project DIVA mentioned above when playing CHUNITHM series or maimai series.

Obviously, the biggest disadvantage is that you need an arcade machine, which is only available in a few cities in the world unfortunately.

Nothing prevent you from combining Way 1 and Way 2 together. You can start by playing Project DIVA, then you go to Way 1 and listen to songs that are not included in Project DIVA. Chance is that Project DIVA can save you a lots of time listening songs released in 2017 and before, so that you can focus on listening songs released after 2017.

This is also how I get familiar in Vocaloid 😂

Basically, you have two ways to find famous Vocaloid songs. You can either listen famous Vocaloid songs one by one in a certain order, or play music games. Of course, you can combine both ways. No matter what way you choose, you can become familiar with Vocaloid and the history.

That’s all for this post. I hope you like it and find it helpful. If you have any questions or suggestions, please leave a comment below, or click on the “Report issue” link below to leave a comment in the GitHub Discussions. Any feedback is welcome.