So, it’s been pretty interesting watching the most-recent round of Block B promotions in Japan, because it looks to me like Block B is starting to do in Japan what it did a couple of years ago in Korea–namely, shifting from being more focused on selling to the fan base to being more focused on selling to the general public.
What makes me say this? Well, just as in the English-speaking world you have publications that focus on Korean entertainment, you’ve got that in Japan as well. So, Block B has always been kind of a big deal to, say, K-PLAZA for the same reason they’ve always been kind of a big deal to AllKpop.
This time around, though, I saw more coverage from Japanese outlets that do not focus exclusively on K-Pop. So, we had the Premium MelodiX appearance, we had the LoveBox concert, we had the showcase being covered not just by a mainstream television entertainment show but also by other non-K-Pop entertainment outlets, and we have them scheduled to appear in Popteen, which is yet another Japanese entertainment outlet that does not focus only on K-Pop.
While all this has been going on, what hasn’t been happening? A lot of events designed to sell CDs to fans! It’s not like Block B did nothing to push CDs, but they definitely did less than in the past–they have three editions of the Yesterday CD instead of eight, for example. And given the Oricon rankings this week, I’d be surprised if Yesterday sells nearly as well as Toy.
As a CD, that is.
The problem for us nosy types is that the Japanese digital market is more opaque than the CD market–there’s no equivalent to Oricon with digital the way there is in Korea. (And even if there was, it wouldn’t answer questions like, Has making the digital versions of Block B’s Japanese songs available internationally significantly affected sales?) As I’ve mentioned, it’s hard to chart when you’re splitting your song’s sales among multiple editions or even just between the Korean and Japanese versions.
All this makes it hard for outsiders to evaluate what’s going on. Luckily the problem only extends to us–if Block B is in fact doing better among the general public in Japan, then that’s all to the good for them.