“Underground” boy bands are gaining momentum in Japan by holding interactive sessions that bring them closer to fans — for a fee.
Unlike mainstream idols, underground boy bands, also known as menzu chika aidoru, have relatively more freedom in terms of their work and personal lives. Because they are not under huge entertainment labels, they also happen to be more accessible to the public.
As such, they engage with fans more closely, thanks to meet-and-greet sessions that appear to be more lucrative than their music.
AbemaTV shed light on the matter in a new report, revealing how such fan meetings work — and cost. As it turns out, fans are charged by the minute for various activities.
For one, interacting with a band member costs 1,000 yen ($9.13) per minute. This includes chatting, hugging and even “finger-kissing,” as seen in the photo below.
A photo with a member is worth the same price, although some bands charge up to 1,500 yen ($13.69).
Mainly for such activities, these bands earn “several hundred thousand dollars” a month, according to Kotaku.
If anything, underground boy bands certainly found a dedicated market that is early enough to get to know them up close and personal — if they ever go mainstream, that is.