Monday, September 3, 2007

Some unsolicited advice for PUFFY and their US staff

This is a post I've wanted to write for a couple years now, though I've never been quite sure where to even start. The takedowns of the "Kuchibiru Motion" videos on YouTube last week, though, kind of forced me into action. Somebody needs to finally say something about the way Puffy is being promoted in the west. (And having a long weekend with the wife at work has finally given me some free time to do it.)

I have no idea if Puffy's management or their record label(s) read, or have read, this blog. But it seems like some unsolicited advice is in order. I'm writing this not just as a fan, but as someone who's helped market more than $1 billion worth of products, and helped create brands (Rockstar Games, the Grand Theft Auto series) that are now worth billions more. I know good (and bad) marketing when I see it.

First, a little history of Puffy's entry into the US for those of you out there not connected with the band and who may not remember or know all of it. They debuted here at SXSW 2000, playing as part of a night of "Japanese All Stars" at the yearly music and arts festival. From what I've read elsewhere and heard from those who were there, the show was well-received. They were signed to Epic Records, a major label subsidiary of Sony Music. I'm not sure of the actual arrangement, but indie label Bar/None Records was in the mix as well. Their first US CD release was Spike, quickly followed by An Illustrated History as Epic and Bar/None made a fairly major push in the US for a Japanese band. These releases were supported by the "Rolling Debut Revue" tour in 2002, Puffy's first nationwide North American tour. At that point, they were in their "indie rock" phase and beginning to cultivate a college-age crowd.

Puffy on 2002's "Rolling Debut Revue" tour

After that, things get a little weird. They released Nice in the US in 2003, more or less concurrently with the Japanese release - though with a different cover (as with Spike). I've always thought this was strange, as the Japanese cover actually has a style that seems more in tune with the US fans they were trying to attract at the time, and this was a Bar/None release:

The John Lennon-inspired US cover of Nice


And the much more indie-rock original Japanese cover
(If you can't read it, Ami's shirt says "Hi-Standard", a Japanese punk band)

In 2004, they were recruited by Sam Register to star in the cartoon "Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi", which seemed to take a chunk of their time, sidetracking them a little from their music. They released an album in Japan in 2004, 59, which never made it over to the US. Instead, we got the Hi Hi Puffy AmiYumi soundtrack, another "greatest hits" compilation only 2 years after An Illustrated History. (My guess: Bar/None was initially going to handle Puffy in the US, but had the rug pulled out from under them by Epic. Bar/None released An Illustrated History; Epic released Hi Hi.) It's worth noting that 59 is probably their weakest album, with only six "original" songs, one of which is a Jellyfish cover. That may have figured into Epic's decision not to release it here. (To be totally fair, Ami had also recently become a mother, so I really don't fault them for being a little preoccupied with things other than music.)

59 - the "lost" album for US fans

With the cartoon still going strong and Puffy touring in the US to support Hi Hi, their relationship with Epic abruptly ended, taking with it all that marketing muscle that only major labels can provide. I don't have the story on who dumped whom, but they were then signed to the small niche label Tofu Records, an upstart specializing in localizing J-pop and J-rock acts for the US market. It seemed like a good fit initially, but the marketing budgets had obviously shrunk in the transition, and Tofu was a young company that wasn't entirely stable. Moreover, it seemed to pigeonhole Puffy as "J-pop"; Puffy's status on Epic and Bar/None had given them more of a global status combined with real indie street cred.

Meanwhile, Puffy lip-sync'd their way through the girlie-girl "Friends Forever" during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade in 2005, in what the Cartoon Network probably thought was a marketing coup for "Hi Hi". It was quite excruciating for me to watch, and probably for other US fans over the age of 9 as well, especially having seen how amazing they can be at a proper live show just a few months before.


"Hi Hi" was quietly cancelled in 2006, having started out strongly but never really catching on with the college hipster crowd that Cartoon Network (and Puffy?) had only half-jokingly said they secretly hoped would adopt it as a cult favorite. The little kids that proved its main audience turned fickle and faded fast. In the span of 2 years, Puffy's American presence had gone from a major label artist with an exotic Japan cool factor, the promise of a new TV show and a seemingly bright future, to a niche label artist with no TV show and an audience that thought they were childrens' cartoon characters.

But Tofu Records did initially do some good things. They released Splurge in the US with the same cover as its Japanese release (a Puffy first), they tried to get it college radio airplay, they faithfully maintained Puffy's MySpace page, they uploaded interviews and promotional videos to YouTube and featured a long text interview on their own web site. They seemed to intentionally avoid any link to the "Hi Hi" cartoon.

But after the initial push, Tofu as a whole seemed to drop off the face of the Earth. Their web site was gutted in March of 2007 and has not been updated since. Hit & Fun, Puffy's Japanese "best of" album, has not been released here. In fact, there's been no word on any further US Puffy releases.

That brings us more or less up to date. At this point, there's a lot of confusion in the US fan community as to what Puffy's status here actually is. This is no way to promote a band. The shame of it is that Puffy could have had (and probably can still have) a long and successful career here, assuming that's what they want and assuming they're willing to do what's necessary (e.g. touring, photo ops, etc). They seem to have done their part, but they've been let down nearly every step of the way by their management and record label(s), who don't always seem to have a clear idea what sort of demographic they should be going after here, or how to reach them.

At this point, after several months of growing cobwebs, both their English-language official site and their MySpace page are being updated again - though seemingly by Japan staff, not US. There is no US news at all, at least not yet. Meanwhile, what little US promotion they're getting through fans is often being stifled, ie. the aforementioned takedowns of Kuchibiru Motion videos on YouTube. Here's a little tip, guys: when fans are doing their best to promote your artist, it's probably not a great idea to try and stop them. Maybe in Japan you can exercise that level of control, but this is the wild west. We do things a little differently here. Taking down a bunch of promotional videos just gets you less promotion.

Here's my advice to Puffy the band, their management and their record label, whoever that ends up being in the US:

PUFFY: Don't do whatever your management tells you. I know they made you superstars in Japan, but you probably know the US better than they do at this point. Think everything through and weigh the pros and cons. You need to cultivate an audience, which is difficult in such a large country. That means staying consistent, and not looking like an indie rock band one day and a lip-syncing kid's show the next. And it means a long-term commitment from you - remember that your record label is only after short-term profit. I know your career in Japan took off on day one, but that's not the way it usually works here. Be patient. Don't look for short-term gains at the expense of long-term success.

HIT&RUN: The US is a lot different from Japan. Things that are considered cute in Japan are often just considered dumb by many people here. The act that Puffy sometimes puts on in Japan is neither necessary nor really helpful here. Let them be real. It's much more about the music in the United States. At this point, you're starting with nearly a blank slate again - probably a new record label, no TV show, not a huge fan base. Take the opportunity to refresh their image here, and give us the real Puffy.

I don't know whether it's you guys or Sony that's updating the English-language web sites again, but that's a good start in reopening the lines of communication with the fans. Please give us some word on what their status is here, though. Put an end to the wondering.

RECORD LABEL: I'll summarize first. Puffy's audience is neither 7 years old, nor exclusively girls. Take a good look at who goes to their concerts:

Click on that photo. Study it. This one too:

These are Puffy fans. This is the demographic you should be catering to. This is who Puffy appeals to.

Epic was doing it right at first, before the cartoon persona took over. But Puffy is a band that could hit it big with the right song, provided it's in English. Why not try for a home run? "Security Blanket" is that kind of song; get it playing on the K-Rocks across the country. If that doesn't work, keep hammering colleges. Keep hammering YouTube. Make Puffy accessible. Get the fans involved and encourage them to evangelize. Start a Facebook group and keep it updated. Make sure you're hitting the right demographic. Puffy was starting to build an audience in 2002-2003; go back and look at what they were doing at that point.

Release all of Puffy's back catalog here. Update the covers to some of the early releases if you feel the need to. And it's gotta be said again, release a DVD. People need to see what the live Puffy experience is all about. That's always what convinces any of their fans that they're for real.

Do us all a favor too and fix the US web site. It's excruciatingly slow even on a fast computer. (Clear your cache and load it fresh.) This is your primary interface with Puffy's US fans - you really can't allow it to be such a monster. (UPDATE: This one is done!)

Lastly, I have a feeling this is going to be my most controversial statement (and dealing with it a real long shot), but I think the name "Puffy AmiYumi" is a problem. Stand up to Sean Combs - especially as he's now going by "Diddy" - and take back the name that is rightfully Puffy's. Think about it from the point of view of a true newbie (and we are talking about expanding past the existing fan base here). If you're an American unfamiliar with Puffy AmiYumi's music, you're either going to associate them with a cartoon or you're going to have a hard time even pronouncing the name properly. Same deal with radio - you're never gonna get on commercial radio with that name. Push through a change back to Puffy. Ami and Yumi won't care, their fans will be happy and you'll have a better and more marketable name going forward.

There's obviously a language barrier here that's just never going to be fully overcome. I'm not saying I think Puffy could be the next U2. But they could be the next Donnas or Go-Gos or Bangles; these are (or were) female-led rock bands with long careers supported by a loyal fan base (of both men and women) that occasionally scored top-40 hits.

Well! This was certainly cathartic, and a nice time-killer on a boring holiday morning. But I do hope to see Puffy better-promoted in the US. I think their music does appeal to a broad range of people here; they just need a little more street cred and a little more marketing savvy in order to get their message across properly.

Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments. Or send me an email and we'll chat.

23 comments:

  1. I agree with much of what you said here. The start/stop nature of the official news posting (it was nearly a full year between last year's tour and the time the English sites began updating semi-regularly again) really hurts, and the cumbersome English site really does needs to be re-done. I never got the fascination with all-Flash web sites anyway.

    I still don't get why Puffy don't release a DVD here. I know Yumi said they'd rather their fans see them live, but that's not always possible...especially when Puffy's tours generally stick to the coasts. Releasing a live DVD makes so much sense, but Puffy and their management seem very stubborn against the idea for whatever reason (perhaps their record label is afraid of losing DVD sales in Japan to fans importing cheaper region 1 discs?).

    As for reverting to just "Puffy," I don't think that's gonna happen. The best that could be hoped for is possibly to license the use of the name "Puffy" from Diddy, but even that might not be a realistic option.

    Love the site, by the way.

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  2. Thanks for the compliment!

    About the name, I realize it's a longshot but Sean Combs' trademark on the Puffy name dates back only to 1998. (You can look this up at the US trademark office web site.) It would be probably pretty easy for Puffy (AmiYumi) to get that trademark invalidated if they wanted to push it in court. As I understand it - and maybe I'm wrong, but this is my impression - they really didn't put up much of a fight when initially asked to change their name here.

    Worst case, they change the name back to Puffy and wait to get sued, then drag it out in court for 4 or 5 years, by which time they'll be known by their original name and some sort of deal will be reached. But I think they'd win outright if it came to that.

    And I guess you read the Tofu interview, where Yumi talked about a potential DVD... I also thought her answer was a little strange, but I interpreted what she said as being code for "our record label won't do it, so just come see us." I can't imagine she'd actually be unhappy to have a DVD released here. Unless she's afraid it wouldn't sell. But it's all about building an audience over time, which I know is not what they're used to from their careers in Japan.

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  3. You're welcome for the compliment. I've been reading your stuff for a while now, and I really like it. You're an excellent writer.

    Oh, and I just realized I didn't say so in my last comment, but I'm Pooch from the Tofu boards and what not. Not that it makes a difference...just thought you should know we've discussed Puffy before!

    I didn't know Diddy's copyright only goes back to 1998, so I guess Puffy would have a strong case (I'm not too well-versed on copyright laws). But somehow I get the impression that the courts would side with the mega-huge producer over the indie-rock duo from Japan, even if Ami and Yumi used the name first.

    I do agree that "Puffy AmiYumi" is a bit of a mouthful, though.

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  4. It is a shame, but it's a different world (in the music biz) then when I (or maybe you) were a kid. I made the trip to LA to see another TOFU signed band, POLYSICS, and I really thought they were gonna take off. However......., I don't see how GREAT music is gonna survive in this (US) enviroment. For as sweet as it could be for a 'collect-them-all' re-issue job for PuffyAmiYumi would be, I don't see any label here doing that. Also, their appearence on Jimmy Kimmel was a little 'cringe-worthy'. Maybe a little more involvement would have helped.

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  5. Anthony:

    Oh, hey pooch! Yeah I had no idea that was you. I still check your site every once in a while and occasionally use it for research (and I link to it in my sidebar). I even checked it before posting this to see if you had any personal insights into the Rolling Debut Revue tour, mostly just for my own curiosity. From what you list on your site, I think you've probably got the biggest Puffy collection outside of Japan. So I figured you might have that DVD.

    Anyway, yeah, this blog is basically now my substitute for the Tofu message boards :)

    Vince:

    I agree, the environment here is pretty poisonous. But it's maybe even worse in Japan, and Puffy have managed to adapt there (even if they're not as big as they once were). I think it's just a case of them and their staff still being a little unfamiliar with the different market and making a lot of mistakes. If they had just kept on with what they were doing in 2002-2003, they'd have set themselves up for a long career by now.

    And oh, I saw that Kimmel appearance too... holy crap that was bad! I mean their live performance was great, but the interview was totally embarrassing (on the part of Kimmel). I felt so sorry for Ami and Yumi as I watched that.

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  6. Unfortunately, Rolling Debut Revue is the one live Puffy DVD I don't have, though I've seen the few clips they put on the U.S. version of Nice. It's been a while since I watched them, though I do seem to recall being slightly underwhelmed at the clips.

    As for reissuing the old stuff, Shonen Knife's older Japanese CDs were released in the U.S. a couple of years back, so it's not totally out of the question for it to happen to Puffy. Of course, I think Shonen Knife has more name recognition than Puffy to the average music fan (and Puffy don't have someone like Kurt Cobain to tout them), but they're still pretty much an niche band at this point.

    I also agree that Puffy and their management really need to focus their approach to marketing, instead of the scattershot approach they seem to have taken the past few years.

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  7. Not coincidentally, I'll have the Rolling Debut Revue DVD by the end of the month - just bought a copy on Yahoo Auctions and I'll be picking it up on my visit there later in the month.

    Honestly though, I agree about the clips they put on Nice. Yumi especially seemed really nervous, and her voice was giving out a bit. She's got her head down looking at the floor half the time. That was actually the first concert footage I'd ever seen of them, and it's one reason why I was so completely shocked by how amazing they were at the 2005 NYC show. They were a lot more comfortable. But I had to get this DVD, given that it was their first US tour.

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  8. I thought it was cute when they BOTH had their heads down. It reminded me of the video of CAN's "O Yeah". They looked like two little Damo Sazukis! I also love the genre changes......... Something that's hard to sell to a public, no matter who you are! People want bands to have one sound, ALL THE TIME! Not me!

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  9. I am Andy from Hong Kong. Thanks for your great comment. To many people in HK, Puffy was long gone and they are not aware that Puffy still existed. I was a big fan during Jet, Fever Fever era and then dropped off...I then picked up the Hit and Fun best complication and get back in love with them!

    While it is amazing that they still exist for 10 years in the scary world of Japan Pop (which is much more unforgiving/tough than US counterpart), they really have to shift the attention to music instead of focusing on image, especially they are not youngsters anymore.. I still maintain Puffy is massively underrated and I believe your comment is absolutely spot-on...You should join their mkt team!!

    Btw, also like to say your blog is excellent...Most of the fan sites in HK are gone/not maintained!:( ..Keep up the great work..

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  10. Thanks Andy!

    I didn't even realize they were ever big in Hong Kong. Maybe that's one reason why they agreed to do the ANA campaign for travel to China. "Oriental Diamond" also seems like it's geared towards Chinese fans.

    I think their current image in Japan suits them and I think they look better than ever, but they were promoting a *really* young image in the US for a while and I don't think that helped them here. It would be better to just put the music out there and let people judge it at face value. But I'd still prefer the Japanese look - which I think is probably authentic, and their own style - to be allowed to come through more here. Hopefully it will, now that the cartoon is over, but that's assuming they even get another record released here!

    Thanks for the compliments on the blog, too... I know I started late, but I'm gonna try to help out in promoting them in whatever small way I can.

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  11. Thanks for the feedback. For HK & Taiwan, we have a very strong followings on Jap stars/TV drama,etc...However as in Japan, only the most recently/popular stars get the most attention..:( Puffy, during the time being top of the Japan pop world, obviously become the darling of fans in asia. They actually came to HK for concert at around 1999 and they are..pretty good..

    Thank god that cartoon thing starting to wear off...They certainly look great in the current commercial..(although slightly too glam in my taste..)However I am abit worried about their future...Their last single only went to 48 in chart...I really hope that atleast the new on can go to top 20.

    Last, I agree with u that they still have the potential to crack American market..As like Sheron Knife, may be we need them to sign with Indie label or endorsement from hip indie star..(as in Sharon Knife)

    Btw, may be u should think about doing the retrospective review of their older stuff....I am impressed by your review and will look forward to reading more...Perhaps asking too much, right :)

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  12. Yeah, they're definitely not as popular as they used to be in Asia... which is one reason why I think it would be good for them to keep trying to build a US audience. We don't care as much about watching 15 or 20 year old girls. In fact, we value experience. And most people here that have seen Puffy think they're still teenagers anyway! Asian people always seem to look younger than they are to Americans.

    But I do think their fan base in Japan has sort of stabilized, at least. They've got a core group of fans that will never leave them. So they can still be successful there.

    by the way, I am still going to review their old stuff. Don't worry. It just takes a while to write those reviews and I don't always have time. It's also not always easy to review old stuff, because it's old! But I will get to everything eventually. Watch for a "Run! Puffy! Run!" review soon. After that, I'll be reviewing "honeycreeper" (it'll be out by then), but then I'll go back and do some of their earlier albums.

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  13. p.s. Ok, maybe I went a little overboard when I said we don't care about watching 20 year old girls :)

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  14. This is completely peripheral to the conversation, but there's some nice footage of Puffy's trip to Hong Kong (including bits where they sing both "Ai no Shirushi" and "Kore ga Watashi no Ikirumichi" in Mandarin) on Fever*Fever DVD (I also think there might be some stuff on Jet Tour Extra).

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  15. The cartoon always did well in the ratings, usually beating most shows on the network. Sam Register split from cartoon network and the people in charge didn't get the show and didn't want to pay Sam royalties. Also the toys were crappy.

    The intros for the show only took 2 weeks to film and other than that the girls had nothing to do with it. They didn't even come by the studio when they were in L.A.

    Don't take the show too seriously, it was just a little piece of candy. A lot like the old Beatles cartoons.

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  16. anon:

    Just curious, but would you mind emailing me and telling me who you are? You obviously sound connected to the show, so I'm just curious how. Or feel free to post it here, but it sounds like you want to stay anonymous in public, and that's cool.

    It *is* interesting to know why the show really got canceled. I did read that the ratings had dropped off quite a bit, though, so I wasn't just making that up. Though it may still have been beating other shows on the network for all I know.

    And it wasn't that I had a problem with the show itself. My problem - and this is not strictly CN's fault, or even their fault at all - is that the cartoon is the only thing most people in this country know of them. I know people who didn't even realize they were a real musical act until I told them - they thought they were just characters. It's not at all like the Beatles cartoon, because the Beatles were already well-known the world over when their cartoon went on the air. That's a huge difference. In Puffy's case, the cartoon didn't really serve anybody except Cartoon Network and those who were working with Cartoon Network, because it wasn't a marketing vehicle for Puffy. It was a marketing vehicle for Cartoon Network.

    I maintain that the cartoon did more harm than good to Puffy's rep. They may have gotten a little short-term sales bump out of it, but at this point it doesn't even look like they have a record deal here. And that's after putting out probably their best album in their history (Splurge). There's no way all that kid stuff helped them.

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  17. Your article was very stirring. Like everyone's said, you're a great writer. I really feel the need to be a PUFFY activist right now. I propose we fans take matters into our own hands.

    We should promote PUFFY! Create some kind of PUFFY Street Team. I know Mexico's got one. I'm not sure how well they're doing, though.

    I started thinking; If PUFFY have no US record label, then how will this affect their upcoming live shows? Will they be here on behalf of just Ki/Oon records? Will the shows be properly promoted and sold out? This is pretty scary. I say we help spread the word of these live shows and get potential fan attention. Maybe if they do well with this tour, they'l get a record deal in the US and a larger fan base.

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  18. Every day that goes by, this little west coast mini-tour becomes more of a mystery to me. I keep expecting them to a) announce some east coast dates to go along with the west coast dates, and b) announce a US album release on some new, as yet unspecified record label. Every day that neither of those things happens makes me wonder too both about the point of this west coast tour and its prospects of success.

    Anthony suggested on the PAYW forums that maybe they just wanted a California vacation. I'm starting to wonder about that myself.

    But maybe they're just cutting it close. There's still a chance there's some big announcement coming that'll cause everything to make perfect sense.

    I wouldn't worry *too* much about the shows themselves, though. Hit&Run will promote them. I've gone to see Japanese bands in New York that don't have US record deals and it was fine; Dreams Come True even sold out a pretty big concert hall here.

    But the strategy behind the tour itself has yet to reveal itself to me. I think the jury's still out, though; I think we have to wait to see if more announcements are coming in the next month or so.

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  19. This essay is all well and good but it seems to be based upon the writer desiring something that maybe P.A.Y. doesn't care that much about: saturation of the American market.

    Sad to say, but the language barrier will ALWAYS prevent that. Funny thing is I prefer to hear them sing in Japanese.

    Sure, they could do a long, grinding tour of the US just like many up-and-coming bands do except for the fact that they're NOT up-and-coming! With as much as they've sold they certainly don't need the money and they certainly don't need to "pay dues" that they haven't paid since...........probably 1996! The road can be an unforgiving mistress, especially in a nation as big as ours compared to theirs.

    The best thing that could happen for all of us Puffy Ami Yumi fans is that they remain "our" secret and hope that they appear somewhere close enough for us to actually go see them. They've been to Chicago once or twice (I live in the Midwest) and I would love it if they added some dates around the rest of the country.

    BTW, the photos of the outdoor NYC concert that indicated who their fans are.............I saw a lot of Japanese in those pics!! That would make sense, now, wouldn't it? And it could explain why their tour is limited to the west coast; perhaps they count on a certain number of ex-pats to attend their shows?

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  20. Sorry, but I don't believe for a second that they don't care about being successful in America. They even still continue to promote themselves in Japan as having "conquered America". They drag out that Thanksgiving Day Parade footage any chance they get. They still tour America, they still release albums here. They're not doing that for charity. They've said many times that they want to be a global band.

    As for your last point, I'm sure they're only touring the west this time because they only toured the east last time, and I don't know if they have the stamina for a nationwide tour anymore. But I have no doubt that they will be back; they basically tour all the time. I don't really see how it follows that since you see a lot of Japanese fans in NYC, that means they shouldn't tour the east. Seems to me it would be the opposite. I'm sure they know that; their shows still sell out here.

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  21. Well, I'm sure they would love to be huge in American and sell out big tours and sell lots of products but, as someone who has played professionally for thirty years, I know that there is a law of diminishing returns involved. Japan is a much smaller country than the US and even as such, their pre-US dates promoting this disk are only a handful of dates and the dates afterwards (when they return) are a mere handful too. So it only logically follows that they aren't going to do an extremely long tour of the US to break a market (we call it PAYING DUES in the music biz) when they are already legendary in Japan.

    Sure they want to exploit the market here, but it will mostly be limited to the coasts with and occasional foray into the heartland. They will NOT be playing Nebraska! Oh, I do agree with you that certain marketing decisions could do more to elevate their visibility here......

    A foreign band needs to play in markets with an international sensibility about it.....I've hung out at Buckingham Fountain in Chi-town and have heard languages from all over the world spoken there. I would presume that even a date there would bring out a large contingency of ex-pats.

    Don't think that I don't WISH that Puffy would conquer the world, I just choose to be realistic about it. As much as I dig their music, I think you MAY be a bigger fan of their's than me. ;)

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  22. I don't think we're disagreeing all that much. I wasn't suggesting that they were going to somehow unite America in a common musical cause and ride a wave of popularity to the top of the charts. The music industry is so segmented right now (and it will only get moreso as time goes on) that even the top artists in the country only sell to around 5% of the population (~15 million albums). Or to put it another way, 95% of the country has no interest whatsoever in the most popular musical act you could come up with.

    But a band can be successful for a long period of time selling to a much smaller segment of the population than that. In a secondary market, sales of even 200,000 for an album would be considered pretty phenomenal. And I think that's pretty attainable for them. (Consider the fact that there are 500,000 Japanese in New York City alone at any given time. No, most of them aren't going to be Puffy fans, but some are, and there are more across the country - so they wouldn't even need to be attracting 200,000 Americans to hit that goal.)

    I do pretty strenuously disagree that they've somehow ebbed here. They've been here for 5 years now, and only in fits and starts. 5 years is a long time for a band in Japan, but here it's nothing. That's part of *why* they're here - they're trying to extend their careers by going global. After 5 years here, they're really just getting started. They're still figuring things out.

    They can concentrate only on the coasts and still be very successful, if they do everything else right. The problem is they have not done everything else right up to this point. But it certainly hasn't been for a lack of trying on their part, and they are still trying. They've relaunched their web site (one of the things I hoped for here), they're going on tour, they're releasing a new album here. Hence this post, so they hopefully start being a little smarter about the US.

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  23. I am in total agreement with your advice for Puffy and company. I think they should totally go against Sean Combs to get there name back a long lengthy legal battle "public" battle can only help Puffy at this point.
    Though its a little Machiavellian a public David verses Goliath legal drama if properly orchestrated could bring Puffy more into the public eye.
    In the past I called different college radio stations to try to get puffy played. Another Idea is maybe trying to get Puffy to do a compilation with Prince or another like American artist recently I. E-mail the Ellen Degeneres show trying to get them on.
    One idea spawning in my mind and perhaps others of like mind, is having a semi coordinated effort of online Puffy fans contacting radio stations, television and other relevant media I know I have different ideas of who to contact but I am sure other fans have other ideas and working together perhaps we could get Puffy more into the public eye. maybe working together with other blogs and web sites we Puffy can finally get the recognition they deserve from this country.
    thanks for what your doing! go? Puffy Go!

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