Why the Japanese Songwriting Industry is Watching Minami Hazuki’s “Breaking the Norm” in the Enka and Songwriting World | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Why the Japanese Songwriting Industry is Watching Minami Hazuki’s “Breaking the Norm” in the Enka and Songwriting World

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on LINE
Singer Minami Hazuki’s unconventional strategy of distributing her music worldwide “ahead” of the CD release has been a great success.

When you think of enka (traditional Japanese ballads) and songs, you probably have an image of ……, where CDs and cassettes are sold by hand at concerts and campaigns. I think such an image is well established. In fact, many singers still sell CDs in this way.

It has been a long time since the CD industry was said to be in a “CD slump” due to a decrease in the number of record stores. Nowadays, many people listen to music through online distribution and streaming. However, we have been selling CDs of enka (traditional Japanese ballads) and songs by hand, partly because many of our fans are elderly.

Although the numbers are not as big as those of successful idols or pop singers, enka and uta singers actually sell a steady stream of CDs, which has been gratifying for the company.

Even if they were not “Kohaku class” singers like Kiyoji Hikawa, a famous singer would sell in the tens of thousands by himself. The style of selling songs by hand frequently at local campaigns was the strength of enka and uta songs.

However, this “solid” sales method changed drastically with the new Corona. However, this “solid” sales method was completely changed with the new Corona, and it became impossible to conduct campaigns in regional areas, which had been one of the company’s strong points.

In the midst of this situation, Minami Hatsuki, who made her major label debut in 2009, took a bold step. She decided to distribute her new songs not on CD but on the Internet.

Originally an enka (traditional Japanese ballad) singer based in her hometown of Niigata, Hatsuki moved to Tokyo in January 2008 with the determination to make her major label debut. However, she was immediately struck by a wave of the new coronavirus. It seemed that her dream would never come true, but after many twists and turns, she made her major label debut in June 2009 with “Kushinnai na…nee” (Don’t Forgive Me…Hey) from TAICHIKU Records.

Then, in September 2010, she released her second song, “Rainy Bus Station,” without releasing it on CD, and decided to distribute it only. When we asked Hatsuki about this, he said, “I was also campaigning for a CD when I was in Niigata,

When I asked Hatsuki about this, he replied, “When I was in Niigata, I sold CDs by hand for campaigns, so I was surprised when the producer told me that the next new song would not be released on CD, but would be distributed worldwide. To be honest, I would be lying if I said I was not anxious.

However, no major enka or uta singer has ever made a major global distribution, so I was excited about the challenge. But without the COVID-19 crisis, I still don’t know if we would have had this change of mindset.”

The first global strategic song, “Rainy Bus Station,” was released in conjunction with TuneCore Japan, Japan’s largest music distribution agency, and was distributed to 185 countries around the world. As a result, the song achieved great results, including two first place finishes in the Apple Music “Songs Top Music Video” rankings last December and this April.

His singing voice is called “magical voice” and has been attracting fans. ……

I think it’s true that fans are confused. Many of them are in the older age bracket, so it is difficult to control them, but there were many who still tried their best. They were very supportive of the challenge of trying something new.

My song was ranked No. 1 on Apple Music in Japan, No. 2 in Taiwan, and No. 14 in Brazil. I am very happy that my songs are being heard in real time in countries I have never been to, and I have learned that good songs are accepted even if you don’t speak the language.

On August 30, “Rainy Bus Station” was released on CD. The sales method of “Lainey Bus Station” breaking the common practice in the enka/uta world of worldwide distribution and then CD release is attracting a lot of attention from people in the music industry.

Many of our fans wanted a CD,” said Mr. Kurokawa, “but to be honest, we were not sure if it would be a hit if we distributed the CD. To be honest, we had been waiting for that kind of feedback since the song became a hit through distribution.

Releasing a CD requires a certain amount of money and a quota of thousands of copies to be sold. So we would have to sing slowly with that song for a year and deliver it to our fans. If that happens, we will never be able to release new songs in a three-month span like we are doing now. In the future, it may come as a surprise that we will release a song once for distribution and then make a CD of the songs that we get a good response to.”

Nowadays, many elderly people also have smartphones. A “distribution strategy” like Ms. Hazuki’s may change the enka and song industry, which is in the doldrums due to the COVID-19 crisis.

She also shows off her flute at concerts. ……
  • Interview and text Norifumi Arakida (FRIDAY Digital Entertainment Desk)

    Born in Saitama Prefecture in 1975. Worked for an evening newspaper and a women's weekly before assuming his current position. Also appears on TV and radio.

  • PHOTO Sun News (2nd and 3rd pictures)

Photo Gallery3 total

Photo Selection

Check out the best photos for you.

Related Articles