‘Flavor of Life’ contender for best-selling digital single
Tokyo, 18 July 2007
Flavor Of Life by Japanese superstar Utada Hikaru has become a strong contender for the world’s biggest selling digital single of all time with sales of seven million units across all digital products and formats - ringtunes, full track mobile downloads, fixed line downloads (including EMI’s new premium DRM-free downloads), ring videos and ringback tones - and two different mixes of the song.
In the rapidly evolving digital music business, there is currently no official industry system for tracking the sales of singles across all digital and physical formats and products, either globally or in Japan. According to the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), the best selling digital single previously was 2005’s Dragostea Din Tei by O-zone which sold four million units, mainly ringtunes. The top selling digital song in the US to date, according to Nielsen SoundScan, was Bad Day by Daniel Powter which sold just over two million units in 2006, but that excludes ringtunes. According to Nielsen RingScan the best selling ringtune ever in the US is the 2.1 million-selling Smack That by Akon.
Flavor of Life is the most successful single of all time in Japan in terms of units sold across all formats with total sales now in excess of 7.7 million. The biggest selling single of all time in Japan was previously the 1975 release Oyoge, Taiyaki-Kun by Masato Shimon which sold 4.5 million units according to Oricon who compile the Japanese charts. Utada Hikaru also holds the record for the best selling album of all time in Japan with her debut, First Love, which has sold nearly eight million copies according to Oricon.
JF Cecillon, chairman and CEO of EMI Music International said: “Utada Hikaru has once again led the Japanese music market into new areas of growth and success. Flavor Of Life has firmly established a new form of hit single – one where consumers can purchase music in whatever ways they choose. In the new music environment we must deliver multiple products for multiple consumers.”
The ballad version of Utada Hikaru’s Flavor Of Life was first released as a ringtune on 5 January 2007 to tie in with the launch of popular TV drama series ‘Hana yori Dango 2’. This show, which debuted on the same day, aired Flavor Of Life in its entirety at the end of almost every episode. Additional digital product types, such as ringvideos, ringback tones and ringtunes of the original version of the song were released in the weeks following, helping the single to sell over two million digital units in total by the time the physical single was released on 28 February.
EMI then further enhanced the growing success of Flavor Of Life with viral promotions such as the creation of a ‘blog tag’ which enabled consumers to paste the single’s video into their personal blogs. In just one month the video was played more than 600,000 times.
Shoji Doyama, president and CEO, EMI Music Japan said: “We will continue to deliver our artists’ music in a variety of product types that is as diverse as consumers’ needs. There will be more and more cases like Utada Hikaru where hits come from a coordinated approach to physical and digital releases.”
According to the RIAJ, the ballad version of Flavor Of Life topped the music download charts in both January and February, before being replaced at number one in March by the song’s original mix. The RIAJ have confirmed that this is the first time in the chart’s history that the same song has remained at the top of the download chart for three consecutive months.
Amanda Conroy, tel: 020 7795 7529
Richard O’Brien, tel: 020 7795 7447
at EMI Group, London