What are some Japanese musicians

Music industry in Japanin the country the CDs and Anime

Japan is the second largest music market in the world - and from a German point of view a bit strange: CDs are bought with pleasure, music streaming is not the big thing. And Japanese consumers mainly hear music from Japanese or Japanese anime characters. Our reporter Sebastian Witte was there and asked around the scene.

In 2017, around 152 million CDs were sold in Japan. Less than 30 percent of them came from foreign musicians. Mostly CDs by Japanese artists go over the counter. For example that of AKB48 - a Japanese band that consists of 48 young singers. Her shows are big events in Japan, and her songs have always been the top-selling singles in the country for the past eight years.

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While around 60 percent of the songs in the German single charts come from international artists, in Japan they rely on Japanese. And Kei Sakuragi has an explanation for this: He works at Space Shower Music in Tokyo. It's a big record company and a music station at the same time.

Kei Sakuragi says: Many Japanese hardly speak English. That's why they prefer to hear songs recorded in their language.

"The language is very important in the songs, even if the Japanese bands often do not sing such meaningful lyrics."
Kei Sakuragi on the intelligibility of Japanese lyrics

International stars like Ed Sheeran, Ariana Grande or bands from Korea only sometimes get lost in the Japanese single charts. The best international band of 2018 are the Beatles. John, Paul, George and Ringo received the Japan Gold Disc Award for the most sales this year. This is probably due to the many older buyers who listen to music from the past, says Sakuragi.

Vouchers in the CD

But not only older music like that of the Beatles would be sold on CD. In the record shops there are several floors of CDs of all genres. The J-Pop and J-Rock sections can also be found there, says Sakuragi. The target group for these two genres of music is young and they buy because of the merchandise that comes with the CDs: Many boy and girl groups put vouchers in their CDs. For example, buyers can choose a favorite member once a year or win short meetings with the stars.

"And there's the J-Pop and J-Rock section. Here young people buy the CDs for the merchandise."
Kei Sakuragi on fan loyalty

Anime with a solid fan base

This kind of fan connection and also the involvement of the listeners works very well with the artist Hatsune Miku, says the music journalist Patrick St. Michel from Tokyo. Hatsune Miku is a J-pop star who wouldn't even exist without fans. The singer plays major concerts and has been economically successful for ten years. But she's not human: Hatsune Miku is an anime figure and a hologram. With software, fans can write songs for them and let them sing whatever they want, says Patrick St. Michel.

In Japan, however, something is still important for a music career: television. While Viva has just died in Germany, channels such as Space Shower TV or M-On in Japan continue to celebrate successful music shows. And the record companies can also advertise their music in normal TV programs. For example, some anime shows change their opening or closing song several times a year - and it is not uncommon for it to be a success.

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