The Bonkurasu Brigade

Japanese concerts in Singapore – what fans should know

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Image from animefestival.asia

Just having experienced two major Japanese concerts recently, it made me look back as to how successful the past solo and mixed concerts are. And frankly, it isn’t exactly good. Why? Well, here’s the basic structure as to how concerts are brought over to fans typically.

1. Local companies pitch to artiste management companies most of the time
It is usually the local companies who pitch the idea on bringing Japanese contents to Singapore, instead of the content holders sourcing for overseas companies to handle their global marketing efforts – which is mostly via concerts.

However, recently more and more companies like Amuse and Avex have local offices, and made efforts to bring in artistes within their company. This helps in cutting down costs considerably. Establishing local offices also helps remove any distrust on 3rd party local companies.

2. Bringing Japanese artistes aren’t as cheap as one may think
More often than not, local companies who pitch these artistes don’t know the underlying costs. Things such as artiste fees, staff costs, equipment rental, shipping of equipment from overseas, concert location costs, advertising and marketing costs, part-timers to handle other miscellaneous tasks – these all add up, and are passed onto the concert goer. Naturally, an estimate percentage of tickets sold is set by the local companies, but more often than not….

3. Fanbases not robust enough
… not enough concert goers are able to fork out hundreds of dollars just to attend a concert. Comparing prices with KPop artistes is inevitable, but shouldn’t be practised, as the fanbase is much, much larger as compared to their Japanese counterparts. Naturally, more fans means larger percentage of affluent supporters willing to fork out the dough.

Examples include L`arc~cen~ciel’s concert back in 2012. Back in Japan, they can easily fill venues of at least 50,000 people; but in Singapore, they barely scrapped through 8000 people. Even the recent a-nation played it safe, ensuring the venue is filled by booking a venue with a capacity of 2000 people. Unfortunately that increases ticket prices, which may deter potential concert goers. It’s quite the lose-lose situation at this moment, sadly.

Anison artistes don’t have it any better – May’n played for a crowd of less than 500 earlier this year at TAB in Orchard. Same goes for Yoshiki Fukuyama and Mikuni Shimokawa in the past.

Not all is doom and gloom for local companies and fans, though. The recent Nana Mizuki’s concert in September sold pretty well, as with last weekend’s Perfume concert. AFA’s concerts generally sold well, too.

In short, there are people willing to pay for a concert, just that the fanbase may not be able to sustain expectations from artiste management companies when they hold solo concerts.

Not all hope is lost
From the past experiences, these companies gradually understand more about fans and their spending power within Singapore, and are starting to make more realistic expectations. Keeping it a smaller, more intimate affair attracts not only local fans, but many overseas fans as well. By cultivating and nurturing the local fanbases and giving them options to attend these concerts by proving cheaper, lower tier ticket pricing (since the majority of such fans are tertiary students with no steady income), it will help expand the respective fanbases better.

With all that’s mentioned above, hopefully fans of their respective Japanese artistes can better understand the struggles on bringing your favourite singer to Singapore, and appreciate them(ie. companies bringing them in) a little better.

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