How hard is it for the jrock/vk bands to earn money? Seems really hard?

It seems the bands have a really hard time, but how is it actually?

Deviloof that seemed to be the new big band with interational fans kind of did a scam on crowdfounding (alot of that money didn’t go into the DVD, just pure profit).
Julika who just released another killer MV that seems to have high production values - are openly begging their foriegn fans to order their merchandise etc.

And then imagine the bands who are only active in Japan, it cant be easy to make any money on it.

I wonder if even Kyo who is the hardest working mucisican recently in jrock, does he earn any magical numbers like top artits in the west would do?

Anyone know how it works? I Have the impression that these new bands with cute boys give up quite fast then start working as hosts.

How is it to earn money in Japan on music? How is the system even structured, is it different from the west? What is your common thoughts on it? Of course if you sit on some knowledge, please share.

Peace to you all!


Kinda the same issue worldwide: you don’t live on music incomes anymore. Even more, it’s a big loss for a huge part of bands.

Bands hardly get paid for shows, physical sales ain’t that high, streaming income sounds with “full of lulz”, and every single merch is funded by the band, which its income will allow a bit of autofund for next merch. Renting stuff, MV location, everything comes from the dudes pockets… except for the biggest or if you know ppl in there.


It’s the same as everywhere.

Selling Merchandise is income no1 and also having people joining your fanclub.

Selling music is just a bonus for fans, it cost more money than you will get in return.

Even the big people in Japan, don’t get paid from what they sell, no they are just under contract of a label and get paid an amount of money and they kind of live in a dept. Once a band breaks up they have to pay the remaining open costs back to the label.
Japan isn’t that far yet to pay their label artist that fair at least for the bigger labels speaking but smaller can act the same way to.


I guess listeners still think that signing a contract or being in a label give you an income advance $$$ or something like that. BTS, one or both doesn’t even give you a free studio to record songs. It makes finding you where and when you perform with your band, doing all the communication things for you, sh*t like that.

For exemple, we all know how tough being in a kpop band is: the label pays for everything when the kids won’t even touch a single $ for years before being able to pay back what they cost. Well, it’s not that different there : you pay for everything before being able to earn enough before make it fund the next thing.

And if the label paid for something, well… as Rui mentionned it, you’re screwed :rofl:


yup you still can be screwed much in Asia countries.

In Europe and America artist get paid nowadays very well and don’t get screwed afterwards.
But in the past artist made lots of money and then their manager or management flied off with the money.

Before signing everything to a label artist should discuss everything very very well and if they don’t like it well, then just screw it don’t deal with a shitty label who don’t wanna pay you well but put all profits in their own pocket. But many artist are overwhelmed when receiving such contract and sign up anyway. For normal work jobs its kind of okay, but music industry? no… have maybe even a special lawyer of person who checks out the contract first and check out how to make deals or let things remove things from the contract before signing.
I saw once a video from a lawyer who was specialized in music contracts and he said, often in those contracts things are written so vaguely that if you aren’t inside the world you have no clue what things actually do mean in the contract, so always have someone who checks out the contract together with you before even signing it.
And if a label really want you, they will agree with the points anyway, if they don’t they think you suck anyway.


Jiluka is doing fairly well domestically. Most of their fans are well into their 20’s and 30’s, have expendable income, and they keep a stable attendance. But lately a handful of Tiktok teens are begging them to go to the states and with the current travel expenses it would cost the band 15 grand (USD) just to fly there with their basic staff and equipment. So, simply put, if overseas fans want the band to come abroad and play for them they will have to do way more than streaming on Spotify for pennies (that go to the label anyway and not the bandmembers themselves). I’m rather impressed how, knowing this, people still try to promote Spotify more.

Aside from that, as others mentioned, the cost of keeping a band in asia is pretty high with low returns.

Edit: Seems I replied to the wrong comment. Sorry, on mobile and confused :joy:


The most of the income is liveshows (a lot of bands don’t like “netogya” even if they bought all their merch), merch is number 2 or 3 (if they are scumming or selling checkis, japanese are always joking that cheki is literally money from nothing, most of bands are selling tons of them every liveshow)


They have to pay to play in the livehouse and with the number of tickets they break even if enough people come. Merch (sold at shows) remains the number one income.


Of course they have to, but you have to pay A LOT of money to make merch (design, print, record, etc etc etc etc) and even if all cds will be sold out, merch income will be used to pay loans for production.
Well, I can say about my bands, all the members are doing baito or regular work, that’s how they’re living, plus doing records and prints by themselves.

Bookers pay for flight costs etc if a band comes to your country. You cannot beg a band for that, you have to beg your local bookers for such things. :laughing:
And bookers who never do Japanese bands don’t really believe in anything until a band is really popular worldwide but they watch to how many plays MV have on youtube and how many spotify streams are also important.

@etrange merch is number 2 or 3?? Ah… but to make money at live shows you have to sell Merch. And no, production costs isn’t that much as you think. If you sell it for a good price you can make good money. Bands don’t really make money from ticket sales tho. and Cheki’s are Merch for me too

But what exactly is a netogya ? that word is kinda new to me.

Don’t forget that most visual kei bands have to sell an amount of tickets at a night. if they don’t, they have to pay for the tickets they didn’t sell. so for example, they have to sell 30, but only sell 10, they still have to pay for those 20 tickets themselves.


Fans who only fangirling in sns (Twitter, insta, etc) and never come to liveshows.


Cheki are merch and you have the jourens shedding at least ¥5000 per taiban on them. Consider 30 come and spend that and you already made about ¥150.000 on like a ¥30.000 investment. On a good day, of course.

Which you can then put forward on renting a studio and producing CDs and T-shirts, or renting the space for the next gig.


/spends 7-10k on cheki just because they’re super rare for my bands, like, twice a year🫠/


Oh, fans who do buy anything on the webshop and don’t come.
Well sometimes its logical that someone cannot come to live shows, even in Japan. Not everyone lives in or near the city a band plays and has time and is rich enough to follow a band everywhere.

But yes, I’ve seen bandman who totally don’t like such fans; some even say at some poin’t “you’re useless to me I don’t care about you”.

I know many do it to avoid trouble with fans who always come to the lives, because they can feel jealous if a bandman gives more attention to a netogya than to those who always support them in reallife so to say.


Most jourens that go to many shows or support more than 2-3 bands aren’t rich, just have a second job. There’s as much effort put in from the fans as from the bands.

I’m pretty sure bands do appreciate those fans who are vocal online but live far away yet do support with ¥¥¥
Netogya who won’t drop a penny… now those they probably don’t like as much :joy:

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Well nowadays a bunch of vkei bandman love to open their hands for money and expensive gifts(such as necklaces, watches, bracelet, rings etc) to live an easy live they don’t need to pay themselves for.
And most netogya don’t really pay such things before having met a guy.
And that doesn’t mean they appreciate those fans, they are just gentle because they pay them money and give them anything they want, so you always need to be carefully before spending all your money on someone.

Oh, and some guys are pretty open about “I’m not someone to fall in love with” or “I only care about expensive gifts”, or some other open hints that they are actually “players” and not “real boyfriend or friend” material. But some of them who say such thing are still pretty serious about music, its rare but, I know a few guys like that.

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Hooold up for VK bands i got a old price list

I forgot who posted it on twitter long time ago
Thats the costs a VK band can count in.
I am also not sure how much those prices are up to date, because i got that since at least some years saved on my laptop.
Feel free to rip those costs apart now.

If you look at bigger bands, The Gazette, Dir en Grey, even non-VK ones like Crystal Lake, you will notice that a lot of them have bandmembers that do some kind of other stuff outside the band. From apperal brand to bars or cafes
I am quite sure they dont do that to get rich, but more, because it gives them a steady income .
Also if you venture outside the VK area you can find Bandmember who are open about their work.
We got Morby from Victim of Deception who works part time at a convinence store, Gen from Hikage works at a small clothing store, Rei from One Eye Closed works as english teacher and so on…


As hard as all other musicians in other countries. Being in a band is expensive and you have to have a considerable number of fans spending a good amount of money on merch just to break even. Making some sort of profit you can keep for yourself is even more difficult, since most of the money they do earn goes back into expenses for the band.

I think VK bands in specific has a bit of an upper hand in this in that they get away with selling cheki. Cheki is easy profit and jouren girls will spend an average of 5000-10000 yen per show. Merch is definitely the biggest money bringer to any non-major band though.

I think the biggest mistake foreign fans make is that they overestimate how popular these bands are. Most of them are still playing gigs in basement venues the size of a garage and the dudes mostly all still have part time jobs. If you want to know how popular a band is or if they’re still relying on a part time for income, look at the venues they play. Kyo probably doesn’t have as much money as say, Johnathan Davis, but he also probably makes a comfortable amount of money from his bands to where he doesn’t have to worry about a part time job.


Not too different to what sports players do. Or Tiktokers. Or models. Or actors. Idk, it’s their hard-worked money and if bangya want to have a sugar baby it’s on them. You do you. Networking and threading around fans is work in itself, without mentioning rehearsals, gigs, etc. How is sitting 9-7 at an office typing on Excel more of an effort than whatever they do? I, for example, did office work and I’m way more exhausted and worn off (but happy too) as a bartender, even though you could argue it requires “no work”.

Also, not all bangya are in it and spending money in hopes of hooking up. A lot of Japanese gyas I know absolutely DO NOT want to cross that bridge.

You almost sound bitter you can’t pull it off yourself, careful there :joy:

And yes, most VK bandmen have side gigs doing mundane things. Some skilled enough get to write music for other artists or entities, some have side gigs as musicians in completely different genres (one VK drummer I know plays in a jazz bar sometimes).


I know that a few successful bandmen who have “made it” like Sakito from Nightmare, Hakuei from Penicillin, and Sho from Golden Bomber ghost write songs for things like TV shows and commercials. So that probably pays well too if you can do it.