The Price of the “Sotsugyou” ~ Part 0

Greetings, Citizens of the Universe!

How has your week been? Well, over the past weekend, I started my art/portfolio blog! While I’ll continue to post art to my main (personal) blog, I’ll also be posting my art there so it’ll get extra focus. (Plus, it was repeatedly suggested, even recommended that I have a separate art blog if I’m going to use Tumblr as a base of operations.) On Monday, we had the cake eating to celebrate my brother’s birthday as he had a root canal the day of. (Ouch.)

Fortunately (and hopefully) for you lot, this post is more like the cake than the dental work! This one (or “series” of which) was a long time coming. Allow me to explain why:

Earlier this month, I was struck with a desire to answer a question: is there a correlation between graduations and high sales? Rather, the question would be “What effect do graduations have upon overall sales?

Why sales? Well, for many an idol fan, it’s considered to be the most important metric of an idol’s success. Given the nature of the idol as a living marketing device, this is plausible. (Plus, I somewhat got that impression from the Memorial Surveys I held for Michishige Sayumi and Berryz Koubou.)

Speaking of Sayumi, while I had originally intended to pick apart all of H!P (or just the major groups for the sake of sanity), I am going to use just Morning Musume as an example. As we know, this group has gained a reputation for its numerous graduations. (Plus, as mentioned, analyzing data from all of the major groups would eat up time and sanity. Just analyzing the Mothership Connection alone is a major task!)

I am also going to focus solely on the singles as that is the centerpiece of the J-music industry. (At least, that is the case in J-idol music.)

MorningMusume_gradsingleschartB
Click on the chart for a full view.
The data and associated charts (eheh ^^;) can be found in this spreadsheet. The source of the data is generasia and the Hello! Project Wikia. Also, as you might notice, some singles only have their total sales numbers listed, leaving their first week sales to be known to those who do….

Allow me to make like Mike Rowe in one of my favorite old-school shows on History Channel and take this to the extreme:

First Week Sales

  • Highest seller: Renai Revolution 21 (515,490)
  • Lowest seller: Kimagure Princess (36,274)
  • Average: 135,145, creepily close to that of TIKI BUN’s 135,109. (Sheesh.)
  • Sum: 2,162,321, almost twice of LOVE Machine’s total sales. (If you want to know, it’s 3,293,260. If you want to know the original amount, look in the next section.)

Total Sales

  • Highest seller: LOVE Machine (1,646,630. Again, sheesh.)
  • Lowest seller: Renai Hunter (49,232)
  • Average: 297,102. That falls between the figures for TIKI BUN (241,540) and Do It! Now (310,600).
  • Sum: 5,347,833. (Needless to say, even if it technically qualifies as a grad single, having the highest selling single ever included will definitely cause the data to tip a certain way.)

Unsurprisingly, the ones with the higher sales were from the “Golden Age” while the lower ones are more recent. Then again, you can tell just by looking at the chart! (I once had a smaller version of the chart to offset how minuscule the overall data of the post-Golden Age grad singles being overshadowed by their predecessors. I opted for a larger (albeit cropped for excessive white space) one for aesthetic reasons. That and LOVE Machine‘s column was so large, it was cutting into the legend.)

If we were to numerically place them all in order it would be thus:

By First Week Sales

By Total Sales

  1. Renai Revolution 21 (515,490)
  2. Happy Summer Wedding (471,270)
  3. LOVE Machine (241,540)
  4. Memory Seishun no Hikari (195,720)
  5. TIKI BUN / Shabadaba Doo~ / Mikaeri Bijin (135,109)
  6. Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai (94,037)
  7. AS FOR ONE DAY (84,251)
  8. Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari (58,435)
  9. Kanashimi Twilight (53,551)
  10. THE Manpower!!! (51,421)
  11. Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo (49,576)
  12. Renai Hunter (49,232)
  13. Osaka Koi no Uta (46,945)
  14. Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game (42,405)
  15. Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan (37,065)
  16. Kimagure Princess (36,274)

Note: Sales data for Do It! Now and Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT is unavailable.

  1. LOVE Machine (1,646,630)
  2. Happy Summer Wedding (990,950)
  3. Renai Revolution 21 (986,040)
  4. Memory Seishun no Hikari (410,850)
  5. Do It! Now (310,600)
  6. TIKI BUN / Shabadaba Doo~ / Mikaeri Bijin (142,077)
  7. AS FOR ONE DAY (129,893)
  8. Ai Araba IT’S ALL RIGHT (108,368)
  9. Brainstorming / Kimi Sae Ireba Nani mo Iranai (106,680)
  10. Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari (91,789)
  11. THE Manpower!!! (67,860)
  12. Kanashimi Twilight (61,322)
  13. Osaka Koi no Uta (57,338)
  14. Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo (55,643)
  15. Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game (48,357)
  16. Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan (47,159)
  17. Kimagure Princess (45,241)
  18. Renai Hunter (41,036)

Again, it should surprise no one that the earlier singles dominate the higher spots while the newer singles occupy the bottom. In fact, save for the last one, the top five spots on this list are dominated by the same singles! (This speaks volumes….)

The middle ground proves to be an interesting mix. AS FOR ONE DAY and Osaka Koi no Uta occupy the same spot in both lists (#7 and #13 respectively). (On another note, Memory Seishun no Hikari also occupies the same spot on the lists at #4.) Onna to Otoko no Lullaby Game, Ambitious! Yashinteki de Ii Jan, and Kimagure Princess all follow each other sequentially on the lists with Renai Hunter being nearby. I was surprised to find that Brainstorming is #6 in First Week, but #9 in Total. I was also surprised that Kono Chikyuu no Heiwa wo Honki de Negatterun da yo occupied #11 in First Week, but #15 in Total. Kanashimi Twilight is #9 in First Week, but #12 in Total. The reason for my surprise was in my knowledge that the departing members (Tanaka Reina, Takahashi Ai, and Yoshizawa Hitomi [and Fujimoto Miki, courtesy of FRIDAY]) were all very beloved. Then again, one can attribute it to the differing climates in both H!P history and the idol world in general. It’s believed that one reason Kimagure Princess‘ sales were a little lackluster was because it went up against an AKB48 single.

“Magi-Kat, what a minute!” you exclaim. “This is just spouting out data about sales. All this proves is that the Golden Era of Morning Musume was financially the best era. What does this prove in terms of relationship between sales and graduations?”

That’s what this next post is for. (This began as a single post, but it became cumbersome and long. Plus, Google just couldn’t handle all that Momusu, even with just the grad singles.) Tune in next week for Part 1: The Memory Light of Youth Manpower!!!, where I cover the first nine graduation singles.

On a closing note, the current M3 Mystery is the effect of electronics upon idol music. Like graduations, I know this is a strong topic for many of you so feel free to leave your opinions (and even facts!).

Until next time!
— Magi-Kat

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