Music

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

Kyodo

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.