A friend and I were having dinner with some Japanese record label types sometime last week and they were interested in knowing our opinion about the possibility of their acts expanding into specific Asian markets. CD sales have been sliding down the slippery slope over the past couple of years in the domestic market, so the obvious answer would be to look overseas. Simple, right?
Well it seems easy enough if we go by the amount of success the Kpop acts are having outside their own country - Girls’ Generation, TVXQ, Big Bang & KARA are all big in Japan and other regions; Malaysia, Singapore and so on. Japanese acts on the other hand…apart from some of the Johnny’s acts, have pretty limited appeal outside their own country.
Asked for my opinion, I pointedly criticized the Japanese approach of sitting and waiting for people to come and approach them (can we get so-and-so to come here?) versus the aggressive Korean marketing machine that pushes their artists front and center. Good stuff ain’t gonna fall in your lap just like that y’know.
And yeah, the Japanese guys know: 日本はKPOPに負けているな。 We had a lengthy discussion about Asian attitudes towards legally obtaining music, how ridiculous it costs for overseas fans to get hold of Japanese releases, how the iTunes stores is pointless here and so on. It seems they have a lot to learn about marketing to Malaysian consumers, and I honestly don’t see a day where Jpop will truimph over Kpop.