Photo: Twitter/@songokkun1
entertainment

Idol group AKB48 sells 2.5 million copies of new CD; bags full of them end up in trash days later

44 Comments
By Casey Baseel, SoraNews24

This week marked the release of “Teacher Teacher,” the highly anticipated 52nd single from Japanese idol singer megagroup AKB48. Just how eager were fans to get their hands on the disc? By May 29, “Teacher Teacher” had already gone double platinum, despite the fact that it didn’t officially go on sale in stores until the next day, May 30.

▼ “Teacher Teacher”

Yes, “Teacher Teacher” managed to rack up an astounding 2,580,513 pre-sales. Some of that may be due to its blatantly suggestive title. AKB48 working with a K-pop choreographer for the video, their first time to do so with a non-Japanese dance director, also brought the song some advance buzz. Even more additional publicity was generated by up-and-coming 16-year-old AKB48 member Yui Ogura being featured for the first time as the “center,” or main focus, of the music video and packaging.

But undoubtedly the biggest reason for the robust sales is that bundled with each copy of “Teacher Teacher” is a ballot to vote in the upcoming AKB48 “general election.” The tallied votes are used to determine the popularity rankings for the group’s dozens of vocalists, and the higher any individual idol’s rank, the more prominently her singing and dancing will be showcased in AKB48’s future songs.

Because of that, hardcore fans consider it their solemn duty to vote for their personal favorite idol. If what’s essentially an idol poll tax sounds like an unfair system, you should know that the AKB48 general election makes no pretense of being run like an election in a modern democracy. As a matter of fact, fans are encouraged to vote multiple times, by purchasing multiple CDs, of course.

However, while there’s a benefit to fans in buying a mountain of CDs, there’s not much to be gained by keeping them all in your possession if all you really want is the ballot inside the case. That brings us to these photos shared by Twitter user @songokkun1on May 31, just one day after the song’s official release, showing multiple trash bags filled with copies of “Teacher Teacher,” all tossed into a burnable garbage receptacle (photo at top).

“This is so wasteful,” lamented @songokkun1. “Can’t the record company skip the CDs, and just sell the ballots directly?”

Other Twitter users who shared his frustration left comments such as:

“Those photos really show how worthless AKB’s CDs are compared to other artists.’”

“Terrible. This is an affront to music.”

“What they’re doing isn’t even music anymore.”

As salty as the last remark may be, it’s not entirely inaccurate. For years, idol groups have been bundling election ballots, handshake event raffle tickets, and other potential prizes with their CDs. Thanks to that, idol music continues to rake in tons of revenue from physical media sales, despite its fandom being predominantly young and tech savvy.

Idol music not being just about the music is something that even major retailers like Tower Records have largely come to accept, and many would say the large outlays from superfans purchasing piles of merchandise are the lifeblood of the industry. Because of that, promotional practices like this aren’t likely to change anytime soon, and given the largely inelastic demand for idol music, very much a love-it-or-hate-it genre, trying to unload your excess CDs on the used market isn’t always a very lucrative endeavor.

Still, it’d be nice to see superfans do something less wasteful than just throwing their CDs away, like maybe using them to tile their apartments.

Sources: Jin, Billboard Japan, Real Sound

Read more stories from SoraNews24.

-- AKB48 fan shows his love the only way he knows how: By buying $300,000 worth of CDs

-- AKB48 mega-fan creates labour-saving CD packaging-opening machine【Video】

-- Subpar AKB48 performance in Thailand earns scalding remarks from netizens 【Video】

© SoraNews24

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

44 Comments
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In the trash?

I’m not really that surprised....

10 ( +10 / -0 )

AKB48 working with a K-pop choreographer for the video, 

I was not surprised to read this after watching part of the video first and that's exactly what I thought after 15 seconds, that it looked more like a girls K-pop style with the emphasis on legs, hips and groin shots.

So, AKB48 is all growed up? Naaa.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Exactly where they belong

9 ( +10 / -1 )

AKB otaku have way too much money to waste by the look of it. Pathetic behaviour.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

hardcore fans consider it their solemn duty to vote for their personal favorite idol

As a matter of fact, fans are encouraged to vote multiple times, by purchasing multiple CDs, of course

It will skew their CD record sales which their management can brag. At the same time, don't forget environmental impact every time their voting session started.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Clever, clever marketing ploy. But extremely wasteful.

That's capitalism for ya!

10 ( +11 / -1 )

sorry but Japanese girls bodies especially the legs just don't have the appeal or proportions as K pop girls do, they should stick to cute Ponytail Shu Shu or Fortune Cookie type songs at which they excel

-5 ( +4 / -9 )

in the trash where they belong.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

In the trash? Very apt.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

Sorry folks, as far as art is concerned, this is where this stuff belongs. Its nice that a lot got tossed out at one time.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

sakurasukiToday 08:35 am JSThardcore fans consider it their solemn duty to vote for their personal favorite idol

As a matter of fact, fans are encouraged to vote multiple times, by purchasing multiple CDs, of course

It will skew their CD record sales which their management can brag. At the same time, don't forget environmental impact every time their voting session started.

20 years ago in America people were so enraptured by Celine Dion's horrible CDs, that godawful 'Macarena' and Leanne Rimes. Now the used CD stores are stocked up with these CDs and now that rock is resurrecting itself from the late 90s/00s doldrums NOBODY wants to remember that rubbish. Many copies of that trash are now marked down to $2.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The above mentioned CDs sold over 10 million each in America but no one wants to remember that garbage now.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

How anyone can stomach that garbage is beyond me.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

The video posted above shows the same social sickness prevailing in American popular music - cute faces, little legs, over-choreography, suggestive dance moves. This 'idol music' phenomena is crass, exploitative and sick. It's for perverts. It's the same way in America and some of them have gotten really raunchy, even glorifying bondage sex acts.

There are some good music acts out there but you have to look for them. Last night I saw Kimbra - she's a talented rising 'indie' star from New Zealand. Beautiful voice, she writes her songs, no auto-tune, she can play instruments and she's skilled in utilizing body language in her shows - in a Jagger-esque way.  She gives it 110%.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hope Japan has a good recycling program to recycle all that JUNK.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“Terrible. This is an affront to music.”

“What they’re doing isn’t even music anymore.”

Sounds a lot like the American market.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@starpunk, that sounds like the Susan ("I dreamed a dream") Boyle CDs you see in dollar bins in Japan. I don't think she even made it through her allotted 15 minutes of fame before vanishing into obscurity (maybe she still has a following in her homeland), but I could say the same about hundreds of other one hit wonders--they are far more fascinating than the Johnnies and AKB-type corporately dictated "successful" acts that stick around way past their novelty wears off.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

"Clever, clever marketing ploy. But extremely wasteful.

That's capitalism for ya!"

And a whole lot of sheeples that would rather drool over a manufactured personality, throw cds in the garbage, never add to society, and not have a family and kids.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

sorry but Japanese girls bodies especially the legs just don't have the appeal or proportions as K pop girls 

Absolutely, totally 100% have to disagree with that Mac. To each his own.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

All shapes and sizes in JP girl groups. South Korea, they look like clones.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

This is all about marketing and making money for managers and advertising executives.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

It may well be family members of these performers who order hundreds of the CDs and, therefore, voting slips.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

yep, they definitely dont have the legs.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Same old moves, this time korean style. But somehow they just dont have it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

And a whole lot of sheeples that would rather drool over a manufactured personality, throw cds in the garbage,

I'm not going to be a music snob, their output just isn't for me. But manufactured pop bands have been around for decades. You can take it or leave it.

never add to society, and not have a family and kids.

Not sure what that's supposed to mean or what bearing it has on the topic.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Many decades ago I went shopping with a student who was ordered by his boss to go to all the CD shops in town and buy three copies of the same CD. We did and when asked what happens to the CDs, my student said, “thrown away. Want one?” It was all just to improve the sales of that one CD. He also said marketing companies like his were probably doing this all over Japan. The end result, of course, is that group got to be on TV.

As I say, many decades ago, same idea, different strategy.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

OMG. Its melodyned to hell.

Totally disposable trash.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in defense of discount album bins (now CD's) when I was growing up in LA in the 60's

I could find some great Jazz & Blues classics in those bins. Hooray for discount bins!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

in the 1970's a powerful Japanese musical instrument manufacturer used a similar tactic to Peavey Musical Instruments - bought $1million worth of their products then dumped them all on a trash island in Tokyo Bay. That sealed the fate of Peavey from ever doing robust business here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

When the spinning started. I got dizzzzzzzzzzzzzzy. LOL

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The trash got trashed! It’s amazing that the voter turnout for an AKB election is by far greater than the turnout for a federal election. Japanese people have some strange priorities.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Wasteful and fraudulent. Many countries ban this kind of promotion to boost sales.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Obviously it's not their music that is the seller. And all these comments about legs etc is proof what exactly sells these merchandise.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

And all these comments about legs etc is proof what exactly sells these merchandise.

You're comment doesn't make sense as far as J-pop is concerned.

Female K-poop is known for their hip bumps, bare legs and butt and groin shots, JP groups, not so much. Just curious, is their a female South Korean rock band out their?

I know I'm in the minority here, but I just find long legs to be unattractive. And to be honest, never really paid attention to legs of a women until I came to Japan.

Back to my first comment about what you think sells the merchindise, I disagree. K-Poop maybe, but the "cute youthy" look is what drives those Otaku, IMO, to spend their money on voting ballots and glow sticks.

And all these comments about legs etc is proof what exactly sells these merchandise.

Lastly, where have you been living for all your life? Sex sells! Haven't you ever heard that before? Works for men and women too. Any Sociology 101 class will show you that. Blues and Rock-n-roll (Elvis for example) was a lot about sex.

Led Zeppelin – The Lemon Song

Squeeze me, baby, till the juice runs down my leg

The way you squeeze my lemon, I’m gonna fall right out of bed

We are sexual animals. Somebody remind me what the oldest profession is.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

I hate to see these plastic things going in the trash regardless of the quality of the music.

Reminds me me of a friend back in California who made an album with his rock band around 1970. On weekends his dad would drive all over the state to buy copies at whatever record shops he could find. Then he’d give them away to family and friends, his doctor, dentist, whoever. But a lot ended up in his attic where I think they still are (Dad’s still going strong at 98!). Friend later became quite famous via another band and Dad no longer needed to drive up sales. Where the attic albums will eventually end up is anyone’s guess.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Maybe all the CD's can be donated to farmers to hang in their fields to keep the crows away? At least then AKB48 might actually be contributing something to society.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

All shapes and sizes in JP girl groups. South Korea, they look like clones.

Yes, maybe...but they are sexy, adult clones and not unappealing, underage and largely talentless jailbait.

And they can dance...which is more than J Pop groups can manage.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

@Geoff Gillespie

And they can dance...which is more than J Pop groups can manage.

Just wait for PRODUCE 48, the AKB48 reborn as K-pop style.

Since Korean viewers get to vote for active duty AKB48ers(And Japanese viewers get to vote for Korean trainees who has not debuted and this is already raising a concern in Korea as the front runner among Korean trainee is a 14 year old whom Koreans consider to be not very talented. As to why she's emerging as the frontrunner, you guess), you won't be disappointed as AKB48ers are judged by the Korean standard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOmolLOQ7Rs

1 ( +1 / -0 )

TorafusuTorasanJune 2 10:22 am JST@starpunk, that sounds like the Susan ("I dreamed a dream") Boyle CDs you see in dollar bins in Japan. I don't think she even made it through her allotted 15 minutes of fame before vanishing into obscurity (maybe she still has a following in her homeland), but I could say the same about hundreds of other one hit wonders--they are far more fascinating than the Johnnies and AKB-type corporately dictated "successful" acts that stick around way past their novelty wears off.

It's quite a bit like that in America too. Susan Boyle CDs are accumulating in the used CD store bins now. She truly is another 'flavor of the month'. She was on 'regular news' TV when she moved into a new house and even when got her FIRST KISS (I ain't BS-ing ya here). Now, where'd she go? Hillary Duff got famous for starring in Disney movies and her DUFF (her music is horrible - she wrecked a classic 80s hit). When she reached her 20s she put out videos of a more 'mature' (skanky) nature where she made suggestive poses with statues and food and was tied up and blindfolded. Now she's obscure too. Yet Britney Spears still has her term in the limelight (and is totally stupid) and Justin Timberlake has a successful solo career but musically he still is nothing but a joke. Lady Caca was all over the place but where is she now? Who cares?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Geoff GillespieJune 3 02:05 am JSTAll shapes and sizes in JP girl groups. South Korea, they look like clones.

Yes, maybe...but they are sexy, adult clones and not unappealing, underage and largely talentless jailbait.

And they can dance...which is more than J Pop groups can manage.

-1( +1 / -2 )

But they can't sing (w/o auto-tune), they can't write songs and they can't play instruments. This isn't what music is about. The US pop scene is swamped with these talented 'pop tarts'. So what if they can dance? Their 'music' is MANUFACTURED, forgettable, nonmemorable, formulaic, cretinous, and NOT VERY INTERESTING. Will anybody remember Britney Spears, Hillary Duff, Katy Perry or Rihanna in 25, 30 years? I doubt it and I don't think many will want to. Remember the Spice Girls? Hah, FORGET IT!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

We are sexual animals. Somebody remind me what the oldest profession is.

Well, if you're going to mention it in a song then use your imagination and USE METAPHORS - like Led Zeppelin and other good acts did. Music was their first priority, not their good looks. That's called INNOVATION, folks.

If a band doesn't sound good then they suck and no good looks are going to change my mind. The first Shonen Knife CD I bought doesn't have their picture on it but I liked the music and I saw them open up for CJ Ramone. Yeah, the cutesiness is there but they are Women. Who. ROCK. A three woman punk band. The back cover of their 'Pop Tune' CD shows the 3 Japanese women dressed up and looking all 'cutesy-wutesy' but the back cover of their 'Overdrive' CD shows them dressed in leather, because they are PUNK rocking ladies. They're cool. They are Women. Who. ROCK. Is that too much to ask for?

America has its share of Women. Who. ROCK. Joan Jett. The Bangles. The Go-Go's. Heart. You GOT to have the ROCK!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

K-Pop girls are beautiful because they have plastic surgery on their assets and also K-Pop boys have plastic surgery too. It's no secret in S. Korea. Everyone knew it and they confessed on the TV interview.

The J-Pop and K-Pop fans are not really music fan and they are fancy those girls rather than music.

That young girl idol industry is exploiting young girls with fame, but they do not get a monetary reward enough for what they are doing for the Company. The peoples who manage those girls are scoundrel bastards.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Chop ChopToday 04:09 am JSTK-Pop girls are beautiful because they have plastic surgery on their assets and also K-Pop boys have plastic surgery too. It's no secret in S. Korea. Everyone knew it and they confessed on the TV interview.

The J-Pop and K-Pop fans are not really music fan and they are fancy those girls rather than music.

That young girl idol industry is exploiting young girls with fame, but they do not get a monetary reward enough for what they are doing for the Company. The peoples who manage those girls are scoundrel bastards.

It's very much that way with the teen pop scene in America. It's corporate, exploitative, for the perverts and it's rubbish!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

chopchop, starpunk, you nailed it.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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