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Total Saikou

VK Fan Turnover rates

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This question has been bouncing around in my head lately. As a small and very dedicated fanbase in an inherently alternative counter-culture, it’s natural that people aren’t particularly drawn into VK as much as say Kpop or Alternative [Western] Rock. That being said, I’m curious about one thing that all fandoms experience: turnover rates. A while back, I stumbled on a Last.fm profile that said we were super compatible, but all their top artists in the last year were Kpop and [Western] Metal so I was really confused. That is until I went to all-time and noticed that our charts and top artists were so identical we might’ve been the same person. So then I wondered; when will that happen? That is, my turnover. When will I stop loving VK and go for the next best thing (whatever that may be to me)? 

 

So that leads me to wonder what you guys think the fan turnover rate is. If you want my two cents, it seems pretty high to me judging by the amount of Last.fm profiles that’ve moved on from VK to Goth, Metal, or Kpop. Something like 60%-70%. The time span, to me, is trickier to tell. I guess it depends on the person, though. I’ve seen some people (mostly on Instagram) go from being VK fans to Kpop Stans in real time, the process took about 6 months-ish? I’ve also seen some people who leave after 5-7 full years of dedication to different western alt genres.

 

Also, do you think there are any warning signs that your taste is changing/ways of knowing that you’re just not as interested into it as much as you used to be? They might be individual to each person, though. One of my biggest signs is when I don’t want to watch live performances or interviews anymore. I used to into funk/disco/hip-hop before VK and right before I fell out I stopped watching lives of my favourite groups because I had no interest in seeing something I’ve heard before but irl. Then I stumbled upon VK and the rest is history. I get the feeling like this is my endgame but I can’t say for certain that I’ll ride or die for life in regards to being a VK fan. I do know for certain that I’m good for now [next year or so]… One last question for those reading, if they wanna answer it: how about you, though?

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I really don't know about how many because I don't care about others. It's up to them what they like and if that changes I'm fine with it.

 

For me I can't imagine to ever stop.

I've been listening to almost VK bands exclusively for the past 14 years. Maybe it's because I've already been 25 when I got into VK. I've been going through a lot of stuff during my youth and that was pretty different. I've been evolving from mostly anything being on German charts in the mid 90s, moved through a three year long very addicitve time loving The Kelly Family (they've been very popular in China back then as far as I remember) and then moved on to rock music. Starting with bands like Silverchair, Bush, but also No Doubt, Alanis Morrissette, Foo Fighters and so on. I also got to Linkin Park and partly System of a down before I got to know MUCC as the first Japanese band, followed by Dir en grey and then lots more all the time (bands played in Germany and even Berlin a lot back then so I also had the chance to see quite some of them easily and I guess that also helped).

I never felt like getting back. Not really. A bit like listening to stuff from "my past" every other year but I've always been getting back to VK bands very soon.

I don't know what's to come some day but from how things have been throughout the past years I can't imagine to ever let go of this.

 

I won't get into Kpop anyway I guess, I'm really not fond of pop music in general. There's not a single bit of interest in me to even try them out.

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Depends on why you were drawn to certain bands in the first place. I was into indie rock, alt rock, and death/black metal before I was a vk fan, so that coloured my taste in bands (nagoya kei + DEG), once [most] of those bands became inactive, I went back to the indie and alt rock I liked before. I'm sure if someone got into the scene with DIV or some cute oshare shit, that Kpop wouldn't be too far off from that sound. Kinda depends on ideology too--if you're an oshare fan BUT you're a weeb--you'll stay into that; whereas if you were into vk for the cute boys, kpop is the next logical step lol.

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1 hour ago, Total Saikou said:

When will I stop loving VK and go for the next best thing (whatever that may be to me)? 

Tbh even tho they're really not vk anymore (although kyo's visuals are pretty much more impressive than 99% of anyone currently active in vk) I imagine I'll lose a huge chunk of interest in music in general especially japanese stuff whenever dir en grey/sukekiyo come to an end

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I had actually left VK for Kpop for some years.

All my favorite Bands had solved up, i liked Jpop groups too, so Kpop was somehow not to far off. (I always enjoyed Rock and Pop and was never really too fixed)

Then i also moved to another country , left my harddrive, that was filled with vk- music,  in my parents home, got married, had kids.... well, and with the kids i started slowly to come back. (I remember my two year old daughter dancing to dir en greys umbrella)

Also  i have to add that most Kpop groups i liked started military service, solved up etc. so serveral things started to come together. 

 

 

Tbh i also think i never got that much really back to vk, because till now i mainly listen to older groups and jpop stuff (that stuff is limited to ldh groups)

 

Something that annoyed always about kpop was also that i wasnt able to sing with it. I mean, my japanese is probably awful but its easier and my ears were used to the words after so many years of listening to it. Its also a reason i came back somehow, as i love singing. 

 

I feel my writing is a bit messy somehow, i am sorry for this. 

 

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2 minutes ago, sleepy coffee said:

Tbh even tho they're really not vk anymore (although kyo's visuals are pretty much more impressive than 99% of anyone currently active in vk) I imagine I'll lose a huge chunk of interest in music in general especially japanese stuff whenever dir en grey/sukekiyo come to an end

I getcha. Watching all the first and second generation VK dudes slowly get older makes me wonder what'll happen when all of them retire and only the newer guys I'm less familiar with are around. I feel like I'll stick around because I like some new school bands and am 100% fine with sifting around through the old bands I haven't heard of/gotten into yet, but then there's also the strange territory of exhausting that list [in the taste comparability/quality sense, I know there's more bands than 1 human can listen to in their lifetime out there lol]

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28 minutes ago, Total Saikou said:

I getcha. Watching all the first and second generation VK dudes slowly get older makes me wonder what'll happen when all of them retire and only the newer guys I'm less familiar with are around. I feel like I'll stick around because I like some new school bands and am 100% fine with sifting around through the old bands I haven't heard of/gotten into yet, but then there's also the strange territory of exhausting that list [in the taste comparability/quality sense, I know there's more bands than 1 human can listen to in their lifetime out there lol]

This reminded me that when I first got into Japanese music, I'd (we'd?) look up the defunct classic bands and see which members were involved with which band, then that band would get popular among the fanbase. Are upcoming og members training anyone anymore? Like I got into Joker/Screw and I'd open the pamphlet to make sure Thanks to Kagerou was on there. Baiser->Rentrer en Soi comes to mind as well.

 

As for me, I was already into late night electronic & alt rock on the radio so it was very easy to transition to most VK bands in HS. I mellowed out a bit in college and I still like like my old homie bay area 106 kmel ghetto beats. Koop is too poppy and their alt rock is... too alt?  But better than the kpop-- but I only listen to Korean music I associate with my stay there. In general, that stuffs not "dark" enough for me lol so I guess you have to already have a taste for it. I do question how someone could jump so easily from Older VK to Kpop but maybe we were listening to dif things or the new VK scene is just That boybandy.

 

I don't think I'll phase out of VK until there stop being Connections. This is the only genre where for some reason I care what members are doing sometimes. I think it's silly but they made it easier with social media!

Actually, maybe I'm already phased out. I don't know the new folks, Screw was the last one I think. Now I just surprise myself with oldies or an album from a band I used to listen to but never got around to X release. I can't justify geeking out about something bran spanking new on the music scene anymore. Or I'm lazy. Or I'm done dealing with new-er stuff. I'm just freaking old already, ok?

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I agree that the rate is really high. I've had a lot of friends who turned away from vk and went into kpop or something else. Few eventually returned to vk while the rest didnt. I've wondered about this before too because its sad to see, but meh happens.

As for myself, i personally dont like watching full live dvds alone and i've stopped reading interviews a few years ago. I've been a fan for... roughly 11 years now???? Anyway, i want to think i will always be a fan but theres probably??? going to be a time where i have to move on. But in a way i'm already doing that. I dont really bother with much in vk anymore, i only focus on two bands. I know OF a lot of bands but i either dont care or am too busy to bother with it. I feel like this happens in general with a lot of fans overseas and domestic? But just my opinion.

I've pulled myself away from a lot of vk fans since i used to always know the drama or be involved in the drama. And imma say its been so damn NICE avoiding all that now and just sticking to a few people. I feel this and just the dark vibes in general might be apart of the turn over rate. While the kpop fandom is bad too, the music is at least more upbeat and if you dont understand korean then youre safe from the lyrics. 

A lot of good stuff has happened in my years and thankfully i never turned to something else fully. At some point i will have to prioritize vk less (i wanna settle down and have a family) but i'm (hopefully) still going to keep an eye on my two favorite bands.... if....they dont break up..... Usually I leave a certain band after 3-5 years but since I found vk and GazettE I've been stuck ever since. Hopefully i continue to stay even longer.

Sorry if my post was hella messy and unorganized lmao

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Sadly I think VK is smaller than ever, when it should be the opposite. I also don't feel that there are many bands left worth really listening too, who keep creating good music. I wonder what went wrong, DEG etc were so big back in 2015.

Edited by dannemannen

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I think one of the reasons VK might have such a high turn over rate is that a lot of people who listen to VK seems to listen to VK only. That's not an healthy way to approach an "hobby", and one is bound to get tired of it. It's also hard to follow bands for a long time since the lifespan of a vk band is shorter than average, so that might be turn off for people after a while. 

 

Also the way VK is "marketed" is closer to idol music than it is to """normal""" music, and just like how people stop following idols at some point, the same happens with VK. I dont consider the visual kei > kpop passage to be moving from one thing to another, but moving to a different version of the same thing. 

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I've been into VK for more than 15 years now and what I find most common when it comes to people loosing their interest in the scene stems from what has drawn them to it in the first place. From my experience, people that started "listening" to vk bands mainly for the looks and - supposedly - to feel "unique" simply grew out of it, adding up to your regular "it was just a phase" stereotype. On the other hand, the ones that, instead of drooling over bandomen pics, actually did focus on the music itself, listen to visual bands to this day.

 

The other thing, that has already been mentioned, is that some people fix their taste on one particular type of music/scene, not willing to discover anything outside of this "bubble". This can often lead to getting fed up with it which later results in them trying to find an alternative stimulator... which they are most likely going to be tired of in a few years as well.

 

As for me, I see no reason why I would ever stop enjoying the music and visuals that I used to in the past. When something is good, it's just... good, it's not going to magically change over the years.

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I'll suggest one of the many contributing factors for a high turnover rate is because VK is quite a 'gimmick' genre/subculture and generally gimmicks will only keep people entertained for so long, genre's like the new phase of emo music with groups like MCR and glam/hair metal had their time in the sun and spawned huge subcultures but died out as people grew up and got tired of it and I'd consider both of those as gimmick genre's where if you stripped back the clothing and tone of the groups, it wouldn't have had as much excitement around it. I think as people grow older things like the clothing and look of a band don't matter as much but they were certainly one of the elements that drew me in when I was younger and probably what draws in people nowadays.

 

As well as people tiring of the gimmick of VK, I imagine people move over to K-pop because it's easier to find communities and like-minded people both online and in reality, I live in a very small city and work in a slightly larger town, I've maybe met three people that liked Dir En Grey but I've meant countless people that like BTS, Shinee, NCT etc.

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if you want a bit of perspective, people were getting bored of vk and moving onto kpop back when kpop was a niche scene (think 2007-ish), most of them never returned; newer fans came in.

 

when @sleepy coffee noted that kpop stans started a cross-over to our underdog glam cumhouse genré I couldn't kinda believe it but times change;

I was surprised that kamijo has new stans in their early 20s and they are men, so I guess VK does something right to bring in fresh blood.

 

I tried branching out in the western metal a few years ago and the potential effort in finding decent sounding bands with somewhat not braindead online fanbases for the most part wasn't worth it.

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This has already been kinda touched upon earlier ITT, but one thing I've noticed within the VK fandom more than within basically ANY of the other music spheres I've dipped my toes into is that a ton of people who get into VK seem to act as if the only bands that exist are the ones that are currently active, and any group that's disbanded/on hiatus/whatever just vanishes into oblivion as soon as the new looks and singles stop popping up. There's this tendency for people to basically treat the scene the same way tons of anime fans treat anime - "if it's not part of the current season then i pretend not to see it". Considering the ridiculous turnover rate that most VK bands themselves tend to have, this can easily lead to situations where people suddenly find themselves left without their faves even within the span of just months. 

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I think a lot of that feeling of people coming and going stems from the western boom years and like other people said, from the fact that it has somehow been hogtied into the same brain rot caravan with Kpop and therefore people tend to become aware of both simultaneously, allowing for lateral movement between the two. Then there's that other breed of us getting into our 30's finally coming to grips with mortality and that this is a very fruitless endeavor, so now there's also these existential crisis' going on with the older guard. This basically goes a long way to explain why everyone in this scene is so fucking stupid, you were either into a dumb fad when you got in or you were dumb enough to stay for too long. 

 

But like, about the psychology of people who come and go, being gya one day and rastafari the next — I never got that. I have, my entire life more or less, liked the same things and I never really dropped out of anything. There's some faux pas you'll find from the times when I was like exploring stuff like western metal when I was 16, but everyone goes through that one way or another when you build your frame of reference and refine your taste and ideas of what music should be about. The people who change every word in their bio on an yearly basis with only the words "I stan" remaining in place can't be counted on for anything. How do they even finish meals is beyond me let alone stick with something when everything they do is so dependent on if the weather is fair. They're the same people who'll abandon their folks into a home, but take a taxi from another city once the inheritance is on offer; just picking the carcass of cultural capital that other people worked for, that other people laboured to put out there. I'm in this shit for the long haul and this relationship will end only when one of us dies, either me or the scene. No matter how reprehensible I think the scene operates or what I think of the fucking people in it, it's still important to me. 

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As you get older you change and so do the things you like. Once upon a time I used to watch harem/ecchi anime and listen to the gazette after. Now there’s one of those things I wouldn’t touch if my life depended on it. So I think it’s only normal for people to let go of something they got into as teenagers. I also think that being unwillingly to explore other music will make you go off vk faster.

 

In my later teen years I went off vk completely for about a year or two, I was just too busy to be involved with the scene, even after I came back to it I still had a year where I went in a deep search to expand my musical horizons. Now things have levelled off and I can move between western music, pop, Kpop, Vkei and everything in between. Another factor that makes people drop off: this scene requires time investment and the older you get the harder it is to make that investment. As your favourite bands die, the only way to keep interest going is by discovering new things in the scene, be it older bands you didn’t know or newer bands. Don’t forget, nowadays the average teen’s attention span is less than a goldfish’s so they’ll move to the next thing that makes them horny without a second thought and considering kpop merch is not only cheaper, but constantly being pumped out and more readily available than vk chekkis will ever be I can’t blame people for not sticking with vk for long. Kpop community is more active and widespread which does a lot to stimulate the senses.

 

What keeps me coming back to vkei is the angst and artistic side of it all. You just can’t find it anywhere else, even if it is fake lol. I don’t know if I’ll ever let go of it completely, like Dispo said I’m in it for the long haul.

 

 

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As for me, it is not about change of taste, but that the scene does not offer anything new and exciting anymore.

All these newer, younger bands done the same tricks and sounds that bands from my generation did already. It really feel that they do not innovate. So I seldom to take likings to newer acts, unless their music is really, really took my interest. I am still in this scene because of those late 90s and the 2000s VK bands that we are all know and love. At least those that's left, since so many already disbanded now, and largely why my last fm stats for VK msuic are very minimal in the last few years.

 

Some people would drift apart when they have something or someone new. But I never been that person, and never will. When I got into something or someone new, I will took liking of it, while keep my older ones along as well. 

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Lots of great insights in this thread, I don't even think I have anything new to add... :D 

 

I would like to echo this so much though, my own experience is/was very much the same:

 

2 hours ago, platy said:

I went off vk completely for about a year or two, I was just too busy to be involved with the scene, even after I came back to it I still had a year where I went in a deep search to expand my musical horizons. Now things have levelled off and I can move between western music, pop, Kpop, Vkei and everything in between.

 

Quote

What keeps me coming back to vkei is the angst and artistic side of it all. You just can’t find it anywhere else, even if it is fake lol. I don’t know if I’ll ever let go of it completely, like Dispo said I’m in it for the long haul.

 

I was one of those guys who dove head-first into vk once I discovered it, and would pretty much listen to it non-stop for years (leaving only veeeery little room for other stuff), and then I kinda burned out on it, but found my way back after a year or so with a cleared mind and more of a musical equilibrium. Although even when I wasn't listening to it I'd still keep visiting MH, lol. Now that I found this balance it's all good, I can enjoy whatever when the mood strikes.

 

I think this "vk or nothing" mentality that's sparked by the discovery of something foreign and exciting might be one of the major factors that later lead people to "fill up" on vk to the point of wanting to move on to other things eventually (ofc there are those special die-hards who never leave thankfully).

Edited by Jigsaw9

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I grew up in the era of nu-metal, then through anime discovered J-Rock and through J-Rock happened upon J-Metal and VK. I was into VK for a good 5 years before the world of Japanese hip hop ensnared me and I stayed with that for probably 5 more years until I came back to VK. My musical tastes are cyclical, I'll listen to something for a while, then onto the next thing, but it's always Japanese, never American or Kpop or anything like that. These days I find myself into the goth and nuwave Japan has to offer and VK is the last thing on my mind as I've replaced the VK on my phone with the likes of Auto-Mod, Roses of Dead Essences, SPEECIES, XA-VAT, ZIZ, Etc. VK is in my blood however and all it will take is a band I care about to bring me back in and the cycle will start all over again. I've never understood the appeal of KPOP, and it's not a language barrier because I loved TRAX and I used to be a big fan of Se7en and Rain, but KPOP is just way too fucking popular, from what I've seen on Twitter it's a fan base of gen Z trolls and it's cringe as fuck and it seems to be based on pushing merch even more than VK and who the hell can keep up with all of these giant groups members anyway? That guy stole the blue hair idea from KOHH first as well.

*Old man rant over*

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My love for visual kei never will fade away. I love the magic happening.

 

However, the music quality of the past 10 years... I've no clue why the hell people like this kind of sound so much.... 

So I switched more to rock bands with members over 40 years who still play that beautiful older "rock/metal" style. or who really can mix down current mainstream with old style. (aka VERTUEUX and NEiN).

 

But younger bands well... it's hard. 

 

Still it's fun to see how visual kei is changing and who knows the older styles are coming back within a few years again. Or we get a completely amazing new mainstream kind of vibe.  

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9 hours ago, nekkichi said:

I tried branching out in the western metal a few years ago and the potential effort in finding decent sounding bands with somewhat not braindead online fanbases for the most part wasn't worth it.

You're killing my dreams here!

 

Whatever year Batsu was supposed to bring over Moi dix Mois is when I first started seeing the shift. It seemed more like if you couldn't get into VK then you'd go for something more positive and poppy like Kpop but your moody friend would be into VK. It's like Disney lovers. VK has cross dressing xP Can't have mom and dad see that!

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Maybe a reason why people shifted from VK to kpop is the fact that the ‚VK‘ idols have always been seeming to be unapproachable. Like, you see a member and think what they do is cool but you rarely find interviews or anything. That always frustrated me, never knowing a little bit of the person behind the music.

I remember with Kpop laughing my ass off during reality shows, a lot of fangirl material asforth. Also, a great translation community on the net - anything gets translated. On the contrary, Dir en grey and the Gazette being the probably biggest VK-band, and still a lot of interviews on the net without translations. 

And yea, maybe the golden era of VK is over. Both musically and visually. I feel all the new bands lack originality in that sense. 

 

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30 minutes ago, cheesy_VK_Freak said:

Maybe a reason why people shifted from VK to kpop is the fact that the ‚VK‘ idols have always been seeming to be unapproachable. Like, you see a member and think what they do is cool but you rarely find interviews or anything. That always frustrated me, never knowing a little bit of the person behind the music.

I remember with Kpop laughing my ass off during reality shows, a lot of fangirl material asforth. Also, a great translation community on the net - anything gets translated. On the contrary, Dir en grey and the Gazette being the probably biggest VK-band, and still a lot of interviews on the net without translations. 

And yea, maybe the golden era of VK is over. Both musically and visually. I feel all the new bands lack originality in that sense. 

 

Oh yes, thanks for bringing it up, I totally agree that the translation issue is one of the main reasons why some people quit early. I've always kind of envied how much material Kpop fans have translated out there, I think we're more lacking in manpower than brains but kudos to their dedication. My passion for VK made me decide that I wanted to really try hard to learn Japanese so I could understand the lyrics and watch/read the interviews on my own (I can do that now! With some, not all unfortunately) but that's obviously a huge timesink and not worth it to everybody. If the passion doesn't hit you hook, line, and sinker then it makes sense why it'd lose most people completely. I can even remember before I learned, I was often thinking "Wtf are they saying? Wtf is the context behind this PV? Is this song actually about kidnapping children???" [well that was one specific PV but PV storylines are always a various jumble of mindfuckery]

 

I honestly a little surprised by the notion of Kpop idols being more approachable than VK guys--imo it's the opposite. No matter the culture, the pop idols of the said culture are so huge, popular, rich, etc. that they can't interact with the fans on a personal level. And this is my own bias but I always get the disconcerting feeling like all pop stars just see me as walking, talking, extra twenty in their bank account. I mean, at least the VK guys get to know my pfp and username [and crappy Japanese skills] so it feels more intimate. And technically, the pop stars don't see me at all. wow just like real life popular people versus the alt people 

Edited by Total Saikou

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