A “Rare” Good News Report

明菜伝説復活のワケ…カバーアルバム20万枚超え (ZAKZAK)

6年前からラブコール…矢沢永吉「チャイナタウン」も

CD売り上げが低迷する中、ベテラン中森明菜(41)が独り気を吐いている。

 1月17日に発売したアルバム「歌姫ベスト~25th Anniversary Selection」がオリコンに9位で初登場。その後も売れ行きは衰えず、すでに20万枚以上を出荷している。明菜伝説の復活だ。

 今回のようにカバーでベスト・アルバムを発売したのは業界初の試み。

 「25周年を迎え、30年に向けての新たなボーカリスト明菜を前面に出していくことにした」

 明菜とは音楽制作を通じて長い付き合いとなる発売元、ユニバーサルシグマの藤倉尚マネージング・ディレクターが、力をこめる。

 選曲にもこだわった。たとえば、矢沢永吉の名曲「チャイナタウン」。矢沢の作品を、他のアーティスト-しかも女性がCDでカバーするのは初。98年7月29日にシングル発売された同曲は、しわがれたハスキーボイスに矢沢の魅力が凝縮された伝説的な歌で、明菜は聴いた瞬間から「いつか自分も歌いたい」と切望、「カバーしたい」と矢沢側に打診したのは6年前だった。

 当初は、「カバーする」こと自体に色よい返事がなかったが、「明菜の熱意をようやく理解してもらえた」と関係者は明かす。

 また、明菜が歌う山口百恵の「いい日旅立ち」は、昨秋公開された映画「旅の贈りもの 0:00発」で、主題歌に起用され、シングル化が望まれていた。しかし、タイミングが合わず、「CD化のお蔵入り寸前までいった」(関係者)が、アルバム収録にこぎつけた。

 「発売当初は、40-50代に喜ばれたが、20-30代からの支持も高まってきました。やはり最大のポイントは選曲の成功でしょう」と藤倉氏。

 記憶に残る歌は、記録も残しそうだ。

http://www.zakzak.co.jp/gei/2007_02/g2007022216.html

It basically says that in the midst of poor CD sales, Akina seems to be standing alone in achieving surprisingly good sales(!?). I think we need to stress on "surprising" for her. It is reported that the first ever "Cover Best" in Japan has shipped more than 200,000 copies, signalling the possibility of the revival of "The Legend of Akina".

Now that her 25th Anniversary is over, Akina is striding towards her 30th and has the support from her company. There was more mention about her "love affair" with the song "Chinatown" again and how bad timing prevented 「いい日旅立ち」 to be released concurrently with the movie. Since the profits were going to be relatively small for a CD single (probably since downloads are starting to get more popular), they decided to make it an album song.

Lastly, it says that in the initial phases, it was the 40-50 year old group who rejoiced the release of this album but they are now finding the 20-30 year age group embracing it as well, and the reason is the good song selection.

For us, we are not surprised. Akina just needs better marketing to promote her material and new fans will come. Let’s take a magic carpet ride … Oops! Sorry, wrong singer. Ha! Ha!

dannybunny

Akina fanboy since 14. Still undecided which are his top ten favourite Akina tracks as it's mission impossible. Digs "Everlasting Love" a whole lot more than the average Akina fan.

16 thoughts on “A “Rare” Good News Report

  1. wow! such great news! the sales of over 200,000. is this inclusive of online and overseas sales as well? that’s pretty impressive! the figures Oricon shows are substantially lower. are the numbers inflated?

  2. Ooh, towards the 30th anniversary!? And here I’ve been all concerned for the possibility of her quitting because of that stupid live comment of hers. How I wish I could get to see before that bitter day comes.

    But 200,000, wow! Though it would be great if she could rejoice for such sales from something else than the Utahime releases.

  3. the 20万 refers to 200,000 copies has been shipped for Utahime Best….not necessarily sold…but then, it is still positive news for Akina =)

    look forward to the Ballad Best…especially Kisei!

  4. This is FANTASTIC!

    I wonder if Akina will have concert this year. I can finally travel international and hope to be able to visit Akina’s concert soon.

  5. Congratulations! If Akina does have a summer tour this year, maybe I’ll get to meet you in Tokyo this time. It’s sad, I seem to plan my holidays around these concert dates!

  6. Thank you. Yes, if the date is work out, it will be great.

    Are you coming to NY during Pride week again?

  7. "Lastly, it says that in the initial phases, it was the 40-50 year old group who rejoiced the release of this album but they are now finding the 20-30 year age group embracing it as well, and the reason is the good song selection."

    Yup, new fans like me. 😉

  8. Congrats Patrick!

    Akina mentioned during her live segment at HMV to watch out for the tour this year. Last year’s comment could be that it will be her final at that venue.

    Akina’s definitely has a better marketing team now and I just read on the now defunct Akina Bible "All About Akina" that the first concert is one of the most sought after items by diehard Akina fans. I wonder if they should print more of the limited pressing? HMV sold out of the limited pressing for Utahime Best and then the sales started going down.

    It is keeping stable and has been in the Top 100 for 5 weeks. Total Oricon sales at the moment is 40,000 copies, making it her third best selling album since she rejoined Universal.

    I read on Wikipaedia once that Oricon only calculates one version of sales, so the sales of any extra versions will not be counted towards the recorded number. They were referring to Utada Hikaru’s first 6 singles, so it could have changed now. I don’t think it calculates all the international sales and those from smaller outlets, so the figures may not be definitive. However, shipment figures are sometimes inflated in some way to create publicity. If this prompts some new listener to test the CD at a bigger store, it could still possibly translate into sales.

  9. Jamez – Thanks.

    I really hope that I can see my first Akina’s concert this year. I never thought I would have even thought of doing it.

    I do have to plan a lot of things since I’m planning to visit family in Taiwan also.

    I heard summer can be bad in Japan.

  10. hey Patrick! first off – HEARTY CONGRATS!! i didn’t know you cannot travel internationally while waiting for your green card!

    inflated figures or not, this seems to be a pretty good year already for Akina. even 40,000 copies is impressive during this digital era. i feel all’s that lacking for Akina these days is concerted marketing and packaging. she’s still got the big guns i say, but amidst all the new upstarts in the cut throat J-pop industry, it’s suicidal to expect CDs to fly off the shelves with close to zilch marketing. i doubt the biggest stars will sell well with the type of marketing efforts Akina received for some of her past albums.

  11. i’ll be having a short course in japan this summer, so i really hope akina will have a concert tour around the time. can i join you guys if the timing is okay? i would probably be alone anway. 😉

    the sales figures from oricon only count those CD stores listed as its ‘official’ partners. that’s why there’re fans of other artists insisting on buying their idols’ CDs at bigger stores like HMV and Tower Records.

    in fact there’re some scandals earlier last year about record companies buying their artists’ CDs in bulk to boost the sales. then they re-ship the CDs that they’ve bought. i don’t know but it sounds pretty workable. and i always doubt the sales figure of utada hikaru’s first album. i really don’t think her debut album could see as much as more than 7 million copies when all other artists cannot even come close to the figure. just a guess. don’t take me wrong.

    anyway, it’s good to see some good news about akina. maybe akina (and her staff) has done something to kinda rebuild her relationship with the media. 😉

  12. Patrick – I don’t think I’m coming to NYC this year. I went last year to see my close friend’s baby and, of course Madonna. I’ll have to be in Bali this June for a friend’s wedding.

  13. Thanks for sharing that, Jamez!

    Even if the numbers are not absolutely accurate (or perhaps even a little bit dubious), it is still very good news.

    Now she just needs to have this kind of result with some original material! 😉

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