Introducing Oshi: the fan engagement platform for idols, voice actors and VTubers
Oshi is a platform that connects idols like music artists, VTubers, anime stars and voice actors with fans across the globe, offering a new global audience previously untapped and unmonetized. You can read more about the launch in our interview with The New York Times’ Japan outpost — The Japan Times.
Idol culture is a phenomenon born in Japan and now growing fast around the world. It is made up of music artists, voice actors and virtual entertainers (VTubers) — who create content by making use of their voice and characters or avatars only, usually in anime style. Just like their real-life creator colleagues, the voice actors vlog, play video games, and chat with millions of fans around the world. They’re most famous for one thing — their voice.
The idol industry in Japan is currently valued at €4B, with its VTuber sub-market on track to reach €17.4B by 2028 alone. This young market is experiencing early signs of hypergrowth in Europe and the United States, with a growth rate of 800% YoY since 2022. During the first year of testing our monetization strategy, we learned that there is resistance from western audiences to pay for content, while in Asia, particularly Japan, fans invest an average of $107 USD per month on digital content from their favorite idols. The average virtual idol signed to Japan’s Any Color management group is earning $1.4M in fan donations per year alone.
This spending behavior can be attributed to Japan’s unique “oshikatsu” culture, where fans devote themselves to investing in their idols. Oshikatsu culture is a phenomenon where fans not only buy merchandise and content from their favorite idols but also engage in activities that support their idols’ careers. These activities can range from attending live events, buying tickets to handshake events, purchasing merchandise and collectibles, or even financially supporting their idols through crowdfunding initiatives.
Oshi is now live and available in Japan from the App Store, where fans can support their idols by paying for voice clips, virtual meet-and-greets, and digital limited-edition collectibles. The app is fully localised and available in Japanese language with Japanese content.