On January 30, 2021, Selective Hearing hit another milestone by celebrating 15 years of existence. For an independently run site without any big money corporation behind it, the fact we lasted for this amount of time running on fumes could be considered a miracle.
I had intended to write some long, celebratory bullshit on our 15th anniversary, but I really couldn’t think of anything of substance to say that wouldn’t sound self-serving and a little bit pretentious. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. However, that is not how I wanted to mark that event.
Instead, I’m going to wax poetic on the future of this site as we are at a crossroads. I guess I can say that when I started this site, the timing was right. The Japanese idol boom was in its infancy, so we could ride the wave of momentum of this sub-genre of Japanese pop generated while increasing its popularity overseas over the years.
Of course, not everything lasts forever, and slowly the allure of Japanese idols has faded. In their place is a new generation of Korean Pop idols who have caught listeners’ attention worldwide.
For us, that meant a shift in content. I’m sure the 4 or 5 of you who pay attention to this site consistently have noticed a switch from Japanese Pop to Korean pop when it comes to music coverage.
That is definitely on purpose. The majority of the staff have hopped aboard the K-Pop train, and those who have written consistently about Japanese idols have left, are inactive or are in the process of ending their tenure with Selective Hearing.
For me, I have no interest in basement idols or alt. idols that are all the rage among J-Pop idol listeners these days. I cannot be depended on to cover these acts outside of who I see on my travels to Japan.
My other concern is that (in my opinion) the J-Pop fandom is incredibly fragmented, and fans will usually seek out like-minded individuals who only talk about what they like. Not many will visit a generalist type of site for their needs. So I don’t see a high return on investment to appealing to a niche fandom within a niche fandom.
Does that mean that we as a whole will stop covering Japanese Pop? That’s a stern “No” for that question. For J-pop idols? That’s a different set of circumstances, and all I can say is that we’ll do our best. If something sets the loins of a staff member on fire and they want to gush about it, then you’ll probably hear about it from them.
When it comes to everything else, we will continue to experiment with other types of content and see what sticks. I’m hoping that we can use different media such as YouTube or Twitch to accomplish this. We will also try to think about more things to write about as well.
That’s all I have to say regarding being in business for 15 years. If you managed to make it through all this, congrats.