God bless Road to the Deep East. J-Pop has ceased to be something that you can actually listen to, so I am happy to have someone fill me in on the major issues. My only fear is that this blog is not actually a Japanese guy, but some incredibly-accurate J-pop fan from Sausalito of Scots-Irish descent, who created it as a brain-warping meta hoax: gaijin imitating Japanese person imitating gaijin.
Anyway, this latest post on Road to the Deep East seems to bolster my theory that artists who sell well during times of market growth become more “legitimate” than artists who sell well during times of market decline. (And I mean long-term growth/decline, not just short spikes.) To wit, bands that made it big in the mid-late 1990s — like L’arc en Ciel and Porno Graffiti — will have much longer careers than bands that had hits in 2003 — like Orange Range or 175R. Arashi are of the now, but everyone else on the survey ranking pretty much says: this whole J-pop thing is a 1990s revival pageant. Unless you can release some foreigner doing intentionally non-innovative covers/copies of Japanese musical conventions, don’t even bother launching new artists.
An alternative theory would be that your average teenage Joji does not care about J-Pop at all, so bands with intense followings like L’arc or Arashi register as “mass pluralities.” That doesn’t explain Aiko though — queen of bland.
Also, note the idea that Oricon’s numbers must automatically be suspected, and then the double punch of calling fabricated research “Mainichi WaiWai style.”