The Arrival of the Idol Mass-Production Era & The Way Underground idols Fight Against It
Kanon Fukuda, ex-ANGERME, spoke of the word “Idol Warring States Period” for the first time as an idol in August 2010. Suppose her remark was the outbreak of an idol war, more than 6 years have passed since then. The environment surrounding idols has dramatically changed and the term may not be appropriate to the situation these days anymore.
Tokyo Idol Festival 2016 was held on August 5th, 6th, and 7th and there were 301 idol groups for a total of 1492 idols in Odaiba. Compared to 45 groups in 2010, it is evident that the number of idol groups has increased tremendously. Because the interest of idol fans scatters, it can be very difficult that certain idol groups reign supreme above the masses. Rather than a war, they seem to have friendly ties with each other. I here claim the arrival of idol mass-production era.
As shown in this article, the quality of performance is viewed as more important than the previous era. Upstart groups like Idol Renaissance and Kobushi Factory could be seen at the main stage of Tokyo Idol Festival 2016. This clearly shows that such groups with a high level of performance have been gaining popularity in recent years.
However, the benefit of this era can be fully taken advantage of by only a small fraction of groups. The groups introduced above often belong to influential agencies like Idol Renaissance with Sony Music Artists and Kobushi Factory with Hello! Project. It seems almost impossible that new groups without strong support, especially underground idol groups, can acquire high quality performance skills.
To begin with, how have underground idol groups achieved successes? Here we define underground idols as those who do not belong to strong agencies and have not yet made a major label debut. Featuring Dempagumi.inc and BiS as examples, let us look back how underground groups survived the previous era.
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