Total sales of AKB48 singles hit 36 million copies, a Japan record


Total sales of CDs with just one song by the Japanese all-girl pop group AKB48 have reached 36,158,000 copies, the most ever by a recording artist or group in Japan, music information provider Oricon Inc. said Wednesday.

The feat, bucking the trend of sluggish CD sales as more listeners prefer digital downloading, was announced the day after the group celebrated its 10th anniversary with a special concert at its home theater in Tokyo’s Akihabara electronics district.

AKB48’s latest single, titled “Kuchibiru ni Be My Baby,” started arriving at CD stores on Tuesday and sold 810,000 copies that day, adding to the massive sales of the band’s preceding 41 singles.

The overnight success of the 42nd single also produced another milestone: combined sales of single CDs written by Yasushi Akimoto surpassed 100 million copies, another first in Japan.

Akimoto, who is the mastermind behind AKB48, writes songs for the group and many other artists. Akimoto released a comment saying he will “continue writing songs that can serve as a table of contents for everybody’s memories.”

The previous record for total single CD sales by the same artist was held by the Japanese rock group B’z, who sold a combined 35,809,000 copies.

  • Don Corleone

    These cuties could whistle dixie and sell a million copies.

  • GBR48

    That’s maybe half a billion USD in revenue from CD singles, never mind the albums, DVDs, concerts, souvenir goods, photo books and several zillion light sticks. And at a time when Sharp have lost more money than a small country and Toshiba felt they had to lie about their profits.

    The songs have covered many issues that younger fans face, including bullying and prejudice, and the popularity of the group can assist good causes, as with the Dareka no Tame ni project.

    AKS export Jpop globally, opening up online sales conduits for Japanese goods, pulling in fans that then explore the wider Japanese music scene. They then find other bands whose music they like, mostly via streaming services, and buy more mp3s, CDs and DVDs. The AKS bands also pull in tourists, lots of them, to Akiba and to the rest of Japan.

    CD sales are still alive and kicking, and not just in Japan (a good thing, given that the music industry profit very little from streaming, most of the money going to the tech industry). A BPI/ERA report in the UK has recently highlighted the use of streaming services by two-thirds of fans to look for music that they then purchase on CD. They call it ‘multi-channelling’. It certainly makes sense with Japanese music when singles come with several songs, karaoke versions, DVDs (sometimes containing more than an hour of footage), handshake tickets, voting tickets, photos and other goods. That’s not bad for ten quid ($15).

    Encouraging the use of the karaoke tracks for YouTube performances builds a fanbase, which is better than paying a horde of copyright lawyers to arrest anyone having fun. This is how to make money in the music industry: work with your audience, meet your fans, perform and interact.

    The idol music haters will no doubt gather to vent bile at such a story, but this is a remarkable achievement in a nation caught between low growth, deflation and the decline of its tech industry.

  • Yuki

    Why Why Why WHY can’t they sell it over here??????????
    Also, if anyone knows how to get tickets in Japan in the summer, please let me know! The website is in Japanese :(

  • Hendrix

    And most of their fans are guys in their 30s and 40s , what does that tell you about Japanese men?

  • Hendrix

    And most of their fans are guys in their 30s and 40s , what does that tell you about Japanese men?

  • Hendrix

    And most of their fans are guys in their 30s and 40s , what does that tell you about Japanese men?

  • Paul Martin

    As a former top radio DJ in America, UK and Australia I think they are attractive, talented gals ! Nothing weird or strange about older guys liking them after all they are deliberately enticing people to watch their erotic dance moves aren’t they ?
    Britney Spears and a host of others did the same thing when they got started !
    Bbay metal is another bunch it’s all about getting attention and getting rich$$$