AKB48 Debuts at No. 1, back number at No. 2 on Japan Hot 100

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AKB48’s “Ne mo Ha mo Rumor” blasts in at No. 1 on the latest Billboard Japan Hot 100, dated Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, selling 428,608 CDs in its first week. Physical sales points fueled the popular girl group’s 58th single to the top of the tally this week: the track came in at No. 1 for sales, No. 23 for downloads, No. 9 for look-ups, No. 6 for Twitter mentions, and No. 30 for radio airplay.

While the number of CDs sold was enough to launch the song at No. 1 this time around, the group’s previous single that dropped in March, called “Shitsuren, Arigato,” sold 1,414,077 copies in its first week, so how this nosedive in first-week figures will affect the “Heavy Rotation” group’s future direction is something to keep an eye on.

back number, whose “Suiheisen” continues to hold at No. 4 this week, launches another single called “Kiiro” (“Yellow”) at No. 2. The theme of a popular reality dating series on ABEMA TV, the new track was promoted in succession mostly online before its digital release on Sept. 27; the band streamed its first live performance of the song the day before on TikTok, then premiered the accompanying music video on its YouTube channel to coincide with the song’s release, and went on the drop the physical version two days later on Sept. 29.

The song performed well in various metrics as a result, coming in at No. 4 for sales with 26,516 copies sold, No. 2 for downloads (15,559 units), No. 13 for streaming (5,157,173 streams), and No. 9 for video views (1,326,534 views). The new track’s debut also kept “Suiheisen” from slipping from the top position in streaming, where it holds for the fifth straight week.

“Rocketeer” by INI (pronounced “eye-’n-eye”) soars 92-5 this week, logging the first top 5 entry for the brand-new boy band. The audition-born group from Produce 101 Japan season 2 racked up around 3,261,000 streams in the first three days of the chart week and came in at No. 2 for the metric after totaling 7,649,453 first-week streams. The 11-member band’s debut single also ruled video and Twitter.

As these examples show, the number of hit songs born from audition and reality TV show tie-ins is increasing in the J-pop market, and the performance of these tracks on the charts could determine whether these routes will take root as generators of long-running hits in the future.

The Billboard Japan Hot 100 combines physical and digital sales, audio streams, radio airplay, Twitter mentions, YouTube and GYAO! video views, Gracenote look-ups and karaoke data.

The full Billboard Japan Hot 100 chart, dated Sept. 27 to Oct. 3, is available here.

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