Morning Musume desperately needs to do something spectacular soon, or it might actually be the end for them. Now I know a lot of people don’t think Morning Musume could ever actually end since they’ve been the flagship of H!P for years. And that much is true. And also their recent songs have been gaining some popularity. Singles Naichau Kamo-Onna ga Medatte Naze Ikenai have been in the top 5. Which is good on the surface. But if you look at the actual sales of the singles, it’s not good. Each singles has averaged about 50k. And a vast majority of their sales are in the first week. After that the singles only sell about 1,000-a couple hundred copies a week. Artists like Hey! Say! JUMP and AKB48 are tripling their sales in the first week alone. And those groups are only about 4-5 years old. Arashi, who’s been together just as long as Morning Musume, is blowing them out of the water. Their singles sell 10 times better. Even Perfume outsells Morning Musume. It’s only by 20k, but they still outsell them.
That pretty much shows that they only people buying Morning Musume are people who are already fans. Mixed in with a few new buyers because of the minimal popularity of the song. One could also argue that Johnny’s has been around since the 60s and therefore has more money to pimp its artists. Which is true in a sense, but not completely true. Nanchatte Renai was Morning Musume’s 40th single, and to commemorate the event they stepped up promos about 10 times as much as usual. Morning Musume was everywhere selling this single. On the radio, and double the shows they are normally on. And what did all this trouble get them? A mere 20k increase in sales. And also a number 2 weekly ranking spot, but the next week they were 12. And then 46. Akb48’s first single sold roughly the same amount of copies as Morning Musume’s 42nd single. You’d think an established artist that’s been together over a decade would sell better than a new artist. That their popularity would be 4 times the size of a new idol group. But that’s because Morning Musume doesn’t have popularity anymore.
Say this sudden spark in interest in Morning Musume disappears again. And they stop making semi popular singles. Say their next 3-4 singles are equivalent to Mikan. Or let’s say they even sell a little worse. Do you think that would be good for their already diminishing popularity? No, of course not. If that happens, they they will dwindle even farther into obscurity. Is there really anyway for Morning Musume to gain more popularity, and even get a fraction of their glory days back? I think there might be a way.
Let’s look at the last time Morning Musume was popular. The last Morning Musume singles to reach 90-100k were Shabondama, Go Girl ~Koi no Victory~, Ai Araba It’s Alright, and Joshi Kashimashi Monogatari. And the highest selling of those were Shabondama with 151,00 copies, Go Girl ~Koi no Victory with 145,000 copies, and Ai Araba It’s Alright selling 108,000 copies.
Which leads me to the first way Morning Musume can gain a little more popularity. Their last highest selling singles were super happy and upbeat. Proving that Morning Musume fans, and non fans alike, prefer their idols to sing super positive songs rather then the current no one loves me singles. Shabondama was so popular because it was empowering, upbeat, raw, and honest. It wasn’t saying the wimpy why don’t you love me anymore, it was saying if you don’t want me that’s fine, I’ll find someone better who’s not like you. And therefore more empowering and more popular. It seems a lot of non fans can relate more to it’s ok to cry and push through it. Rather than I’m going to cry about it now because you don’t understand how hard it is for me.
Another way to gain popularity is to add more members. I know I seem kinda whiny to keep saying how much I want new members, but I think it’s finally time to add more. We’ve grieved Koharu enough. I mean Aika was added to Momusu on Yossie’s last single. Which is cool you lose one, you gain one. And also Morning Musume should have way more members by now.
In the first 6 years of Morning Musume’s career they had gen 1-6. But in the next 7 years they only added 2 more gens, and only 4 new members. Which I don’t really think is the best move for them. Morning Musume should be on gen 12 by now. They would have been on gen 9 if Tsunku just took a girl or two from the first 7th gen auditions. It seems everyone is as tired with the current line up as I am. Which is another reason the last 100k singles were so popular. They all happened during Morning Musume’s peak amount of members. It makes sense the more members you have the more people will listen to you. You could not like 9 members, but when there’s 14-15 you’re bound to like at least one girl. This also correlates with Morning Musume’s sales dropping as members left. It’s about time to add new members now. If not, pretty soon we’re going to be grieving Morning Musume as a whole. Koharu left and Morning Musume went on about there day. “Like ok Morning Musume is Berryz Koubou and C-ute now. We just never change our line up. Three years with the same line up isn’t boring or anything.” Morning Musume REALLY needs new members to spice up their songs and popularity. If die hard Morning Musume fans, like myself, are getting sick of the Morning Musume’s bland songs, imagine how non Momusu fans are feeling.
Their style of songs seems to be a big problem too. Anymore they’re all essentially the same. It seems their best songs are being wasted on albums and B-sides. Bon Kyu! Bon Kyu! Bomb Girl, and Sono Bamen de Bibiccha Ikenai jan are about 100 times better then their A-sides. And would probably outsell their A-sides, because of the sheer fun and energetic factor. And then I hear incredible album songs like SONGS, Guru Guru JUMP, Ame no Furanai Hoshi dewa Aisenai Darou, Moonligh Night ~Tsuki yo no ban da yo~, Genki Pika Pika, and Namidacchi. All of which could easily be powerful A-sides. They are either really fun or really meaningful. I think a lot of people would respond well to them. But they were basically wasted. Because let’s be honest if you don’t like Morning Musume’s singles you’re not even going to listen to their album, let alone buy it.
Another reason for them not being as popular is because Morning Musume is basically geared towards wota and that’s it. If you’re a girl you’re not exactly encouraged to listen to them. You even feel a little weird for liking them at times. I know there are times I do. But I like Morning Musume for their lyrics, both happy and empowering for girls. Johnny’s is so popular because they are specifically geared toward teenage girls. So it becomes ok for all gendered teenagers to like it, and even people of all ages. Johnny’s highest supporters are teenage girls, and 40 year old women. And we all know too well of Japan as a whole being absolutely in love with Arashi despite them being idols. Even AKB48 with it being completely and blatantly geared to wota surprisingly has quite a bit of teenage supporters. If Morning Musume could step away from wota a bit, they’d be more popular. But right now basically the only people supporting them is wota. And there inlays a big problem.
And Morning Musume’s last problem for being less popular then earlier days is the way they showcase the girls themselves. For a while now it’s been all about Ai, Risa, Eri, Reina, and sometimes Sayumi. So those are the only members who get to sing and the only ones who get air times. Seventh-eighth gen hardly ever got to sing at all. Koharu would get thrown a few lines here and there because she was already really popular from Kirarin Revolution, but as for 8th gen they got and continue to get nothing. Aika, LinLin, and JunJun haven’t risen above the bottom 3 popular members since their debut. Mostly because they aren’t given the opportunity to shine. Tsunku is just shoving their vocal powerhouses in your face hoping to sell more singles. But what he doesn’t realize is yes, that’s a quick fix for now, but in the long run it’s actually hurting Morning Musume. The more dependent they are on Ai, Risa, Eri, and Reina, and they more they shove them to be the only popular members the more co-dependant they become. And the more it hurts Morning Musume when they leave. If you think it was bad when Nacchi, Yossie, or Aibon and Nono left, imagine, with Morning Musume the way it is now, how bad it’s going to be when Ai-chan leaves. It’s a significant blow that right now Morning Musume can’t take. And if they keep doing the same things as always, might never be able to take.