“Chokkan 2”: Lowest First-Week Sales for Momusu

Filed in Cult Of Pop 2.0

According to wiki.theppn, "Chokkan 2" racked up first week sales of 43,535 copies. That’s lower than "Osaka Koi no Uta", previously the lowest at 46,945 and a considerable drop from the most recent single, "Iroppoi Jirettai", which had first week sales of 68,009.

Revisiting some of the points I made when "Iroppoi Jirettai" came out and matching it up to developments since then…

The handshake gimmick from "Iroppoi" didn’t help future sales. Of course it wouldn’t, since it created a false demand for that single. Actually, I wonder now if the powers-that-be were even thinking of long-term effects or just wanted a short-term boost to go with the miracle girl’s debut. That said, the drop from the last non-gimmicked single to this one isn’t that precipitous – around 2,500… and it’s still considerably better than any other girl group around. But we’re not talking Koda Kumi or Orange Range numbers, by any means.

Casual fans still love "Love Machine" but do they care about the new Musume line-up? The Kouhaku poll I cited a couple months back – I haven’t seen the final results, but haven’t been looking –  show that there’s still an audience who love and treasure "Love Machine". But are they going to care if the current line-up of Morning Musume performs it? I think most people would be wondering where their favorite members are – whether it’s the eight-member line-up of "Love Machine" or the nine-member line-up of "The Peace!". Of course, it would be possible to have the line-up from "The Peace!" re-unite – they’re all still working for Hello! Project, after all – but again, what would that tell us about the current Musume line-up?

I used to argue before that re-uniting a golden age line-up of Morning Musume would be unlikely because the girls wouldn’t want to take that step backwards in their career… but would it be a step backwards if the sales are good? Perhaps… just perhaps… a golden age Musume line-up – Yuko, Nacchi, Iida, Mari, Kei, Gocchin, Rika, Yossi, Tsuji, Kago – would spark enough nostalgia and curiosity to garner higher sales. Those with thriving post-MM careers may benefit from a kick in sales, and those with virtually no careers can be useful.

And keep in mind, a line-up close to this performed "Love Machine" in concert a few months back. So maybe this isn’t so far-fetched, and maybe that’s what we’ll see in Kouhaku in a couple months.

Koharu Kusumi isn’t the miracle child. Well, not yet, at least. But whatever faith Tsunku had in this girl seems out of proportion still… Which isn’t to slag Koharu, she’s obviously trying hard and I’m sure she’ll become a key member of Momusu over time. What the heck, it’s happened for other girls who seemed marginal, including Tsuji, Konno, and Sayumi.

CD-DVD combo singles may have improved sales for one Hello! Project act already. Check the figures on Matsuura Aya’s "Ki ga Tsukeba Anata" – a noticeable uptick from the past year. Admittedly, there are a couple of other factors to consider: it’s tied into an iced tea commercial, giving it further visibility among non-fans; and it’s the first non-ballad single since the excellent "Kiseki no Kaori Dance". That said, the added value of a DVD with the single – even if it didn’t have the PV for the single – must have helped, though it’s hard to quantify.

Hello! Project continues to drag its feet on this, but I’d argue the economics of it works in their favor. Avex has taken the lead with this initiative, and it’s quickly become a standard in Jpop circles. So give in, already!

It doesn’t look like there was much of a fan backlash on "Chokkan 2" being a rehash of a year-old album track, but I may be wrong. That said, this hasn’t been a sparkling year for Morning Musume singles by any means. The only one I really liked was "Osaka Koi no Uta", and unfortunately I can think of a handful of H!P songs I like even better than that. The flagship group of Hello! Project deserves better than this, but whether or not 2006 will be an improvement… well, we’ll see, I guess.



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2 Responses to ““Chokkan 2”: Lowest First-Week Sales for Momusu”
  1. HANABI.1984 says:

    This is somewhat disappointing, but it’s not a surprise. I like the single, but not enough to buy it. The past year for them has been rough. The singles were good, but not great. Members graduating/resigning. And there’s been plenty of other H!P acts that have released way better songs than Morning Musume. I just wish that they would get some of those great songs too.

  2. ikiMark says:

    Many people guessed around 15K, so 44K is already a success, considering that 77K fans have the song on the 6th album. I’m sure that it’ll surpass the 50K mark, and I’m sure that this song attracted new people that will give a chance to the 29th single 🙂 If it’s good, of course. However, I’m not defending this. Koi wa Hassou was bad, but a re-make wasn’t the solution. The single could have been delayed indefinitely ’till Tsunku would have come up with another song. It’s not like they should follow this strictly 4 singles per year rule.