According to Soundscan, Utada’s American debut album Exodus sold 7,105 copies in the United States in its first week. More than I would have imagined, but barely enough to cover the ¥200 million that Shukan Bunshun reports it cost to make the album.
Oh wait, things are not so dire: The album shipped 500,000 copies to Japan! So, this was all a gyaku-yu’nyuu marketing scheme!
I would expect the sales to go down from the first week unless MTV picks up the video or positive word-of-mouth somehow spreads. But again, it doesn’t matter how much it sells in the US, because the American release was just a part of the marketing plan for the Japanese release — which was profitable.
Seeing that Japanese ex-pats Cibo Matto sold around 150,000 copies of Viva la Woman and that indie stars Cornelius and Pizzicato Five both sold around 75,000 of their albums in America, I would hope that someone starts to put two and two together that 1) the content quality of J-Pop is low when viewed on an international stage and 2) if you’re going to export music to America, it has to be a unique product offering in a market with un-satiated demand.