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News Navigator: What is popular Japanese YouTube music channel 'The First Take'?

Ikimonogakari drew attention for performing a song on the YouTube channel "The First Take" after they became a two-member band.

The Mainichi Shimbun answers some common questions readers may have about YouTube music channel "The First Take."

    Question: What's this popular YouTube channel "The First Take?"

    Answer: It features videos in which various artists, from emerging singers to big names, step up to a no re-shoots, "one microphone in a white studio" challenge. It started in November 2019, and as of Sept. 27, 2021, 192 videos featuring 109 groups have been uploaded. This month, the channel exceeded 5 million subscribers.

    Q: That's amazing. But even though it claims to be a single take, doesn't it really require a lot of shooting?

    A: You might think so based on the videos' stunning performances. But there have been slip-ups, like when Taiiku Okazaki made a mistake in the lyrics for "Eclair," and when Huwie Ishizaki dropped his guitar pick in the middle of "Sayonara Elegy." Despite these accidents, they performed wonderfully.

    Q: Which are the most popular videos?

    A: The most viewed is "Neko," or cat, sung by Takumi Kitamura performing as DISH//. LiSA's "Gurenge," roughly translating to red lotus, and YOASOBI's "Yoru ni Kakeru," which can be translated to racing into the night, also have over 100 million views.

    Q: How did the channel get so popular?

    A: It's partly down to more people enjoying music on their smartphones and computers as a greater proportion of the public stay at home due to the coronavirus pandemic, and because of the rise of TikTok and subscription services. Other factors include the channel's commitment to high image and sound quality, such as using microphones that pick up even the quietest breath, and 4K resolution support.

    But the major draw is that viewers can, for free, witness each artist's true ability and natural expression without any artificial production or do-overs.

    (Japanese original by Haruka Ito, Cultural News Department)

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