Fun With Numbers: CD Singles’ Loose Disk Average Relation

As it does with many others, anime is somewhat intertwined with the music industry. One of the biggest production outfits in the business, Aniplex, is a subsidiary of Sony Music Japan, whose music labels typically get first dibs at on involvement in a show that Aniplex has greenlit. Even outside of shows with blatant music themes tied into vocal superstars, the relation between a show and its associated singers is an interesting topic for study. Previously, I took a look at how a series’ OP/ED CD sales corresponded to the presence of a visible boost in print source material. This time, I’m going to take a look at the same CD sales data, but compared with disk sales.

Specifically, I’m looking at the week one sales of a series’ first opening single and first ending single, via the myanimelist news board.* That is, when they’re both on sale as individual CDs and not bundled with disks like the openings to the second season of Monogatari were (in such cases, I only counted the one towards the average). If a CD didn’t chart, I put it down as a dash and counted it as a 0. If a CD contained both the opening and ending theme, I put that total as the average. Data for disk averages for each show in 2013 is taken from someanithing. It was pulled a couple weeks ago, and it may be slightly out of date, but should be fairly close to the current values. The analysis can be found here, and is summarized below. Note that I decided to exclude series with episode lengths under 20 minutes from the final sample.

There are a couple of different ways to slice this dataset, so it’s probably faster just to open with some key facts from the sample.

-Attack on Titan, your bestseller of the year, also topped out with the best OP/ED first week average. The next three shows (AKB0048, both seasons of Valvrave) all averaged under 6000. Not terrible, but not explosive.

-Ten of the twelve 10k+ shows in 2013 had an averaged first week single total over 6000, putting them in the top 40 of a list containing 109 shows. Really, it’s the top 30, but Arpeggio was just under 7000, beating out Muromi-san by like 14 disks. The remaining two sold ~3100 (Hataraku Maou-sama) and ~5100 (Infinite Stratos s2).

-Only 3 series of the 12 to have no charting single averaged above 2000 disks sold; Servant x Service, Love Lab, and Chihayafuru s2. Only 6 of the top 30 sold below 2000 disks.

-High School DxD s2, Yowamushi Pedal, and Non Non Biyori both put up 8000+ disk averages despite CD singles averaging below 3000 copies. The cupboard below that threshold is still fairly bare disk-wise.

For a broad-strokes look at how disk average scales with CD sales, I binned the average disk average (confusing, I know!) into ten 10-series bins plus one 9-series bin, and plotted them below:


Overall, there does seem to be a fairly clear pattern of correlation between better CD single sales and better disk sales. There are at least a few reasons why they could be correlated. People might buy the CDs as way of supporting a show they don’t have the cash to buy. High-budget productions more likely to become hits might reel in better musical talent. Since CDs typically come out before BDs, people on the fence one month in might buy the CDs and decide the disks aren’t worth it a few weeks later. There are a number of potential explanations, not to mention exceptions to the rule, but the general trend is there.

*I made a text repository file to speed up the process, which I might post eventually – the data do seem to be somewhat useful.

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