Ayumi Hamasaki tries to do 'a Beyoncé' with her 17th studio album

Ayumi Hamasaki tries to do 'a Beyoncé' with her 17th studio album | Random J Pop

Ayumi Hamasaki's career continues to decline like the Japanese birth rate, but bless her, she's really trying. At least I think she is.

Ayu attempted to do what everybody now coins as 'a Beyoncé' by releasing her 17th studio album M(a)de in Japan digitally through music streaming service AWA without much warning.

Ayu made no secret of the fact she was recording a new album and openly shared lyrics to songs via social media. Also, Ayu releases albums annually. So it's never a case of if she'll release new music or even when. Because everybody knows it's coming. Ayu's releases themselves are not a surprise. They always drop in cycles and on cue. The biggest surprise would be her not releasing anything for 3 years straight.

The surprise digital release also seems moot in a country who still isn't embracing digital releases fully. Japan has more streaming platforms than in the UK and the US combined, but local album and artist availability is fractured across each platform because labels have stakes in a particular streaming platforms, which then prevents its releases being available on another. AWA is an Avex owned company, but it's still relatively new. Ayu doesn't have the same pulling power that she did 10 years ago to make subscriptions to the service soar in the same way that Beyoncé was able to with the Tidal exclusive release of her 5th studio album Lemonade.

The album was released physically on June 29, and as as per her sales trend, her first week sales were less than that of the album which came before. M(a)de in Japan sold just approximately 30,269 copies in it's first week, in comparison to A One and Colours which sold 34,692 and 39,295 units in their first weeks respectively.

Now, I don't know who Ayu thinks she is, but she ain't the same chick she was in 2006 who could drop a surprise release of sorts and get huge traction. She needs a reality check. Somebody in her team needs to advise her, because she's in the wrong lane and has been for the past 4 years now.

Expect a Random J Pop review of M(a)de in Japoan soon.

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