Stereo Tokyo Protest Stale Idol Culture with Shocking Disbandment Challenges!
Stereo Tokyo is a five member EDM idol group. After their appearance in Heat Garage at Tokyo Idol Festival 2015, they have been one of the idol groups in the spotlight due to their wild live performances. Their official Twitter said that they will release an important announcement a few days before their solo concert held on March 27, 2016. They used the word “Taisetsu na Oshirase” which often means bad news and it was not an exception for this time.
After seeing the news, party people (name for Stereo Tokyo’s fan) must have felt disturbed rather than sad. Stereo Tokyo will be disbanded on May 29th, only if their new single “Dancing Again” sells more than ten thousand copies. Considering their past sales, they are not likely to achieve the goal. Are they just trying to generate buzz with confusing information? I do not think so.
Stereo Tokyo is very different from most of the conventional idol groups. Their songs are deeply rooted in EDM. One of the notable points is that the songs are lacking a strong hook, which should be essential to idol songs. Also, the way that fans enjoy their concerts is different, flying national flags as if they were at Ultra Music Festival. Have you ever seen such an idol group? Stereo Tokyo must be one of the next generation idols to watch out for (if they do not disband).
Let’s get back to the subject. The announcement that Stereo Tokyo made reminded me of what happened with Vanilla Beans’ issue. Soon after Vanilla Beans moved to avex trax, the agency submitted a task that if their single and album did not sell more than 15,000 copies, they will be disbanded. Fortunately, they achieved the number on February 20, 2016. This style of promotion is called “Kaisan Shouhou” (解散商法、Disbandment Sales) and people usually hate it. Unless their fans buy a lot more CDs than usual, their favorite group will disappear. This way of sales seems to prey on the fans’ conscience and apparently won’t be a good method. Fortunately, no groups have actually been forced to disband after failing to reach their goal, as far as we know.
Although idol fans are used to Kaisan Shouhou, this announcement must have confused their fans since they couldn’t understand the agency’s aim easily. If I dare to read between the lines, this announcement can be felt a devastating anti-thesis to the conventional idols. Stereo Tokyo has constantly absorbed new ideas from other cultures as they combined idols and EDM so that it always looks innovative and interesting. This regulation must be like making fun of to the idol industry and its lack of creativity when it comes to sales. In the movie above, they covered Buono!’s “Hatsukoi Cider” and introduced themselves in a very idol-like fashion. This must be sarcasm.
Also, Stereo Tokyo added that if Nanako Miura cannot run a full marathon, Stereo Tokyo will disband. Speaking of idols and marathons, BiS is the first group to come to mind. BiS is the revolutionary anti-idol group that broke a stereotype of idols, and Junnosuke Watanabe, the producer of BiS, thought that a marathon was one of the methods to exclude the preconceived ideas. Stereo Tokyo even adopts the idea and adds their own spin on it.
The idol industry has been expanding but the methods to sell CDs has not changed much since the appearance of AKB48 in 2005. The group introduced benefits attached to the purchase of CD and increased the number of CD sales dramatically. Other idol groups refer to the AKB way and this method was established. Stereo Tokyo might be criticizing and satirizing the status quo, raising an alarm at the wearing down and ossification of idol culture. Viva la revolution!
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