Probably should have made sure to have done this yesterday as I knew I would have plans later to see The Hobbit. But hindsight is 20/20 and all that.
This question comes from Faye:
Johnny's groups are increasing to an unprecedented number. Instead of dropping older groups when they reach a certain age, the organization keeps them and then adds more and more younger groups. Do you think the organization is spreading itself too thinly? Seems as if they can't give enough attention to them all (concerts, DVD and album releases) since there are too many for which to care and promote. Will the organization implode at some point? Do you think there should be an age limit on the groups Johnny's should manage?
I agree that things seem rather crowded when it comes to active Johnny's groups. In fact I wrote a post about the issue earlier this year as well. But since then I have done a bit more thinking about it and have some more ideas about the issue.
From what I can tell Johnny's is willing to keep a group around as long as they want to still be a group and are profitable. While most of the older groups may not sell a lot with their releases for the most part they still bring in revenue from their other work, like commercials, dramas and variety programs and that is where the profit is for them.
An age limit is an interesting idea but since SMAP changed the image of Johnny's from the more limiting prince image to that of a more all around entertainer it more or less opened the door to having group be able to continue on long after they pass the shelf-life of past Johnny's groups. If anything it is more likely for the older groups to follow in the path of Kondo Masahiko and Shounentai and eventually rarely release anything, which will help solve the issue of having so many releases at least.
I think what we are going to see is the less successful groups not release as much or often, much like some of the older groups do like V6, TOKIO and Tackey & Tsubasa. And of course the ones that have lost their number one streak are going to be less of an issue with releases as they can be scheduled whenever with very little worry about who else is releasing.
I am sure Johnny's is just going to expand with the number of groups but hopefully we do not get so many debuts all around the same time like we did with the most recent debuts. And who knows, with some of the members of the older groups hitting forty now perhaps some will want to call it quits for being in an idol group. But in the end it looks like it is most likely going to be a decision left to the groups as Johnny's has crafted their system well to support these aging idols.