Original article [here].


Shock: Oricon 7th place!! Why Hamasaki Ayumi continues to receive VIP treatment despite 15,000 sales
25 September 2013.

On the 18th of this month, Hamasaki Ayumi released 15th debut Anniversary commemorative album “ayumi hamasaki 15th Anniversary TOUR ~A BEST LIVE~”. As of the 22nd, it had sold only 15,218 copies, a fact that has stunned both the music industry and fans.

The new album is a best-of live CD of sound recordings from her live show in July, and includes 14 popular tracks such as “A Song for XX”, “poker face” and “Voyage”.

In its first week, the album ranked 7th on Oricon’s CD album weekly charts. No.1 went to AAA, a group also under avex, with sales of more than 46,006 copies. The album also lost to releases by Hamasaki’s junior Nishino Kana on her 3rd week on the charts, SPITZ on their 2nd week, Kobukuro’s Kobuchi Kentarou, and relatively unknown seiyuu Miyano Mamoru.

Hamasaki, who holds the reputation of a “big-shot singer”, still receives many invitations to be the closing act on music programmes and large-scale festivals. This month, aside from closing the show at music festival “a-nation” held at Ajinomoto Stadium, she also secured a spot right before closing act SMAP during the 4-hour long music special programme “FNS Summer Song Festival”, where she belted out “evolution”.

Furthermore, to commemorate her 15th Anniversary, she appeared near-nude on women’s fashion magazine “Majesty JAPAN”, with an article announcing her intentions to continue her stay at the top with the words “After a long 15 years, she still continues to reign as top artiste…”

“The topic of when ayu will lose her position as a top star is often discussed, even outside of the industry. Even though her ratings have gone down, her closeness with avex ensures that she still receives VIP treatment. She is often involved in scandals, and with the cushioning of her past successes and her celebrity status, the media cannot afford to drop her.” (source from a programme production company)

Last year, she was the opening act at “NHK Kouhaku Utagassen”, where she performed a special medley of 3 songs. Even with declining CD sales this year, her appearance at Kouhaku will probably still be guaranteed.