The J-Pop mega-idol group AKB48 is continuing its dominance of the Japanese music industry. The act grabbed the top four spots in JASRAC's (Japan Society of Songwriters, Authors and Composers) Awards for the tracks that earned the most copyright royalties in fiscal 2011.
The collection society announces the top-earning songs in accordance with Japan's fiscal year, from April to March. This is the first time one act has swept the top four positions.
JASRAC said the number one earner was AKB's aptly named track "Heavy Rotation." It earned the most copyright revenue based on broadcast, recorded sales, karaoke usage and other revenue streams. The next three tunes were "Ponytail and Chou," "Beginner," and "Everyday, Kachuusha."
Throughout 2011 and 2012 AKB has been an overwhelming presence on the J-pop scene. In an endless feedback loop these number one singles have led to more and more appearances on the most important Japanese music TV programs like Music Station and Hey, Hey, Hey Music Champ. They are particularly influential in Japan's lucrative karaoke market.
The outfit is the brainchild of producer Yasushi Akimoto, who formed them in the trendy and geeky tech neighborhood of Akihabara (hence AKB), using the idea of 'idols you can meet, performing everyday in the district. Originally there were 48 members, broken into teams of 16, but now there are at least 64 participants.