Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rant: "World Tours"

As I grew a little older, I learned that musicians go out and perform lives for their fans. If they're popular enough, they tour all over the nation and sometimes overseas. I've noticed groups like No Doubt, Backstreet Boys, and the late King of Pop Michael Jackson would put the effort (and money) to spread passion to foreigners whether it be in Japan, Germany, or Korea. They called this massive travel a world tour.

Now that I have gotten into jrock and kpop I look out for lives nearby. When I see announcements of musicians taking on a world tour, I expect a various range of a few European and Asian cities, their usual sprinkle around their home country, a city or two in good old Canada, and a spot in the popular areas of the U.S.. Unfortunately, I think some jrock bands mainly that I've noticed haven't gotten the memo.

I understand that the music industry works a little differently in Japan compared to the U.S. CD and DVD sells still matter, but the real money maker is band merchandise they sell at lives and online. Have you noticed jrockers don't have glamorous lives like rock stars here? There's no fancy sportscars lined up in the driveway, big billion dollar mansions sitting on a hilltop, or a maid and butler waiting on them hand and foot. The point I'm making is that I understand that travelling to North America is an investment. There's lots of paperwork and preparations to consider. I understand the hesitation of taking on a full on tour without completely knowing what the reception would be.

Most people take the safe route and stick to anime convention performances. Test the waters and note the response. Some tag along with popular American rock acts and either open for them or join popular tours like Taste of Chaos. Both strategies are smart. You aim for a reliable audience that is familiar with the music genre and/or Japanese culture.

When jrock bands feel confident in their work and/or journey, they want to venture to other parts of the country. Now don't get upset for leaving Europe out of this rant. Europe is a lot closer and gets more exposure to this growing genre. North America is a bigger challenge. Anyway, some bands announce doing a world tour. Fans get excited, but mostly this excitement is immediately killed when the only North American date is in California.

I understand that the Asian population is highest in California, Canada, and New York, but jrock exposure is high in a few other places. We've had success in southern states like Georgia, Florida, and Texas. Even Canada and sometimes New York get left out in the love.

Jrock fans are smart! A good amount of them understand the obstacles bands have to go through, but I wonder if the staff knows about our own obstacles trying to see our favorite bands. When we see "world tour" we expect more than one or two places in California and/or New York. It feels like false advertisement. VAMPS is the biggest offender of this. Maybe they lack the confidence to jump out of their comfort zone, but I've completely given up any hopes of them coming any where near me. Even though X Japan and Ayabie didn't claim a spot in Texas, I give them some credit for being adventurous and stepping out of California. Even more credit to Ayabie for it being their first time here.

All I'm saying is stop lying to us, giving us this false hope. Not all of us can migrate to Califronia for a one night show. Transportation isn't as easy as Europe and California is an expensive flight. Mostly don't distort the true definition of "world tour"!

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