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  1. Noticed something interesting when I was exploring worldwide trends for the search term "visual kei" on google - that tiny spike earlier this year just happened to be when youtubers react to visual kei came out: So visual kei is dead. And at the rate it is going now, will be even dead-er; A scene stagnating on the same looks and sounds, rarely venturing out musically if at all. But it wasn't always that way. Although it would be appropriate to refer to the 90s golden era of vk to remind us of how opulent the scene once was, I want to bring back memories of 2009. In October 2008, Kerrang ran a feature on jrock, publishing an article predicting jrock to go big in Europe in 2009. And sure enough, google trends highlighted the correlation clearly, confirming that the search terms "j-rock" and "visual kei" did indeed peak between January and March 2009. However, following vk's brief global success was a period of near-exponential decline - to what we see now as the lowest point of popularity vk has ever experienced in a 12 year time-span. Even that spike in August wasn't enough to break above 2004's lowest point. Personally, I'd been a passive fan of visual kei for many years prior to 2009, but it wasn't until 2009 that I became fully engaged. One prominent catalyst was Japanese blogging platform Ameba launching its virtual community ‘Pigg’ that year, becoming a game changer in the way fans and bands could interact. Popular musicians were also given accounts powered by ameba, a la twitter's verified personalities. I remember 2009 as a year that several vk bands were going major and gaining international recognition. It was no surprise that vk reached its global height by being much more accessible through social media and other digital channels. This momentum seemed to be gaining quickly until 2010 brought a sharp turn of unfortunate events within the scene and the emergence of kpop poached a large part of the international vk audience. However, the situation in Japan is a bit different, as vk has been pretty steady since it had already declined by the turn of the century. The search term "ヴィジュアル系" on google trends says as much. A few years ago, major labels published all those visual kei cover albums probably in an attempt to raise the relevance of visual kei, but the hype had pretty much died by then. The drought of talent and variety meant that each band was no better than the other, and was enough for many people to lose interest. Stricter piracy laws also meant that music had become less accessible, with people being reluctant to pay the exorbitant prices of some CDs. Not to mention the discontinuation of many vk magazines as an indication of the scene's current degradation. Marketing and business models that worked in the 90s and early 00s struggle to find significance in the present day, yet management has not evolved to adapt to current trends (or have done so poorly). Now that the last of the influential underground vk labels is defunct, vk doesn't have the backing and budget as it once did. X Japan and Luna Sea are like the only lifeline left for vk - there can't even be a vk festival without either X Japan or Luna Sea in the lineup. I remember reading an interview where Yohio mentioned that he kinda killed western interest in vk, but I don't particularly attribute that to those western vk acts damaging the reputation of this uniquely japanese scene. Bands such as D'espairsRay, girugamesh, the Underneath, Rentrer en Soi, Dio, UnsraW and Black:List etc who laid the groundwork for vk to make its mark in the west are no longer around. I'm surprised lynch. didn't carry the torch. I don't want this thread to sound too much like #resurrectvk, but instead I want ignite a discussion (and maybe create a dialog) - how did the vk boom of '09 affect you in your country, what could've been done differently, or the best things to come out of that little modern renaissance of vk history.
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