News browser: what is the popular Japanese music channel “The First Take”?

Ikimonogakari gained attention for performing a song on YouTube channel “The First Take” after they became a two-member group.

The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have on the YouTube music channel “The First Take”.

Question: What is this popular YouTube channel “The First Take?”

Answer: It features videos in which various artists, from emerging singers to big names, embark on a “one microphone in a white studio” challenge. It started in November 2019 and as of September 27, 2021, 192 videos featuring 109 bands had been uploaded. This month, the channel surpassed 5 million subscribers.

Q: It’s amazing. But even though it claims to be a single take, doesn’t that really require a lot of filming?

A: You might think so from the stunning performance of the videos. But there were slippages, like when Taiiku Okazaki made a mistake in the lyrics of “Eclair” and when Huwie Ishizaki dropped his pick in the middle of “Sayonara Elegy”. Despite these accidents, they did wonders.

Q: What are the most popular videos?

A: The most seen is “Neko”, or cat, sung by Takumi Kitamura as DISH //. LiSA’s “Gurenge”, which roughly translates to red lotus, and YOASOBI’s “Yoru ni Kakeru”, which can translate to night running, also have over 100 million views.

Q: How did the channel become so popular?

A: This is in part because more people are enjoying music on their smartphones and computers, as a greater proportion of the public is staying at home due to the coronavirus pandemic and the rise of TikTok and subscription services. Other factors include the chain’s commitment to high picture and sound quality, such as the use of microphones that pick up even the quietest breath and support for 4K resolution.

But the main draw is that viewers can, for free, witness each artist’s true ability and natural expression without any artificial production or redesign.

(Japanese original by Haruka Ito, Department of Cultural News)

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