You've played Pikmin. You love Pikmin. But enough to write a song in their honor? Or enough to buy one?
"Ai no Uta" (Love Song) débuted in Japan in November of last year, accompanying Nintendo's Pikmin television commercial. It isn't music taken from the game, but rather a sweet little guitar and vocal piece written and performed by the duet Strawberry Flower. Although at first listen it seems uncharacteristic of Pikmin, it in fact sings the praises of those little plant-creatures and their struggles and accomplishments in daily life. It quickly gained popularity among Nintendo fans and music fans alike and was wildly preordered.
Upon release, "Ai no Uta" claimed the number two spot on the sales charts among CD singles for three weeks running, even squeezing out the latest offerings from Hikaru Utada and Ayumi Hamasaki. More impressive, however, is the effect this song had on Pikmin game sales during the end of last year. Pikmin sold strong at release, moving over 101,000 copies in it first week in stores. Nonetheless, during the following six week period between the beginning of November and the release of the "Ai no Uta" single in the first week of December, it only managed to sell between 10,000 to 15,000 copies a week. However, after the highly successful release of the CD single Pikmin software sales rose greatly as well. Pikmin's once stagnant sales doubled following the week "Ai no Uta" was released, moving close to 22,000 units. Better yet were the following sales periods, weeks three and four of December, as Pikmin game sales soared seeing unit sales of 53,000 and 102,000, respectively. CD single sales during the same period were great; "Ai no Uta" sold over 414,000 copies in December.
Whether increased Pikmin sales were due to the release of Strawberry Flower's "Ai no Uta" or the Christmas buying season is uncertain, but it remains fact that the quirky little tune captured the attention of gamer and music lover alike, increasing product awareness and sales for all.