Home Blog Sony’s PRISM Project Announces Operations Closure: Understanding the Reasons and Exploring VTubing

Sony’s PRISM Project Announces Operations Closure: Understanding the Reasons and Exploring VTubing

Sony's PRISM
Sony's PRISM
Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc.’s VTuber agency, PRISM Project, is set to conclude its operations on March 31, 2024. The virtual talent management label issued a press release on March 2, stating that all eighteen talents currently under its management will become independent performers starting April 1, 2024. These talents will retain their original aliases and personas, with all rights to their character images transferred to them to facilitate a seamless transition to independent artists. They will continue their presence on YouTube and other social media platforms. PRISM Project encourages fans to follow each creator’s streams or social media in early March for updates on their individual plans and upcoming activities after March 31. Events and schedules announced for March will proceed as planned, and merchandise orders placed by the March 31 deadline will be fulfilled after the PRISM Project operations conclude. Fan mail received until the deadline will be delivered to the individual talents. Additionally, PRISM Project’s social media accounts – YouTube and X (formerly Twitter) – will remain as an archive. As the VTubing project winds down at the end of March, fans are urged to continue supporting artists. However, they are also requested to refrain from directly contacting the artists regarding the closure. Any business-related queries about the announcement should be directed to contact@prismproject.jp.

About VTuber agency PRISM Project:

The “multinational VTuber agency from the future” was originally founded by Anotherball Inc. Eventually, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) took over operations in May 2022. In nearly two years, PRISM Project expanded its reach, with its artists featured at major anime conventions and other global events. The agency achieved several milestones, including original musical releases, the debut of a music label, and other accomplishments that were initially beyond reach for PRISM. Shogun, the PRISM Project producer, expressed pride in their contributions and their longevity.  

The current PRISM Project agents list is as follows:

1st Generation:
• Iku Hoshifuri
• Aoi Tokimori
• Meno Ibuki

2nd Generation:
• Luto Araka
• Rita Kamishiro

3rd Generation:
• Shiki Miyoshino
• Nia Suzune
• Yura Rikudou
• Pina Pengin

4th Generation:
• Naki Kamizuki
• Sara Nagare
• Non Anon

5th Generation:
• Ami Amami
• Kou Tsubame

6th Generation:
• Jun Akane

7th Generation:
• Mako Sameshima
• Nana Asteria
• Emma Oumiya

Why the PRISM Project is closing operations – according to Shogun:

After thorough consideration and discussions between management and talents regarding each talent’s aspirations as virtual performers, and with a focus on industry trends and the substantial staff resources necessary not only to sustain but also to further grow the brand, we have jointly made the immensely challenging decision to conclude talent management operations. This decision enables each talent to continue their endeavors under their current talent names with their existing character IPs,” Shogun elaborated in the press release.

Fans participating in online forums have expressed their perspectives on this development. The discussion has fueled divergent opinions, with one side speculating about the potential ‘decline’ of VTubing in the West due to diminishing interest post-pandemic. On the other side, there’s an observation that, given their Japanese corporate affiliation, the artists lacked the freedom to embrace the latest ‘trends,’ such as engaging in gaming.

A 4chan user shared their insights: “From the message, it seems they reached an agreement that the goals desired by everyone (staff and talents) were unattainable within the company. Due to being a Japanese company, they couldn’t pursue the games they wanted, and that’s what they mean by ‘trends.’ They acknowledged the limitations in resources, considering the company’s size. They couldn’t play games they wanted since it was a Japanese company, which is what they’re referring to by “trends.” They mentioned resources they couldn’t provide considering the size of the company. Ultimately, the goals they wanted to achieve couldn’t be fulfilled as a company, so letting them keep their models and do their own thing was the option they chose.”

What is VTubing?

VTubing follows a similar route to other forms of live-streaming, with creators adopting virtual avatars that set them apart. Each VTuber has a signature avatar that can be commissioned, bought, or self-designed. Advanced animation software programs and motion capture technology bring these avatars to life on various streams.

While originating in Japan in the 2010s, VTubing gained popularity by 2020, with English-speaking audiences warming up to it. These avatars often reflect Japanese pop culture, including anime and manga.

As of February 2024, some of the most popular VTubers include Gawr Gura, Nimu, Filian, Houshou Marine, Kizuna Ai, Nyatasha Nyanners, Ironmouse, Shxtou, and others, as listed by Dexerto. Several entries in the Top 20 VTubers chart correspond to independent artists.

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