There have been a few guides posted here on steam and elsewhere about how to stay afloat financially, and many of them work, at least on default difficulty, but they are all focused on purely the financial aspects of the process, such as what contracts to take, and when and how to release singles and concerts. Here, I am going to explain an overlooked portion of the game that is vital for you to understand if you want to truly thrive, or if you want to have a chance of surviving the Unfair difficulty, where money, and especially fans, are much harder to come by.
(I will eventually be releasing a comprehensive guide to surviving Unfair difficulty sometime in the coming days as well.)
The TLDR of this guide is; Each idol stat corresponds to two specific demographics, which combines with your choices when making a single to determine your overall demographic appeal. Targeting a specific demographic and keeping it happy will yield greater fan gain from singles, sales, concert attendance, etc. Being inconsistent with your appeal will generate unhappiness and lower the opinions of demographic groups.
Idol & Group Stats
I'm sure most of you reading this have done at some point what I also did the first time I played Idol Manager;
You started an audition and the first thing you do is look at the Idols' overall stat level, and then looked at the various stats and went "she seems well-rounded, not weak in anything, I'll hire her."
This is where you, and myself, started the long painful path of Idol Group Mediocrity. You try to appease everyone, so you appeal to no one. Guess what, that Idol you hired that is just as good at vocals as she is at dancing? Well, your male fans don't really care that much about vocals, they just want to watch idols dancing. But hey, at least your female fans appreciate it. How good your Idols are at Dancing and Vocals isn't just a generic stat that effects the quality of your songs and performances. Each stat appeals to two specific demographics. You've probably noticed that different genres, lyrics, and dances appeal to different demographics, it is conveniently shown to you when you are deciding on your next single. Stats work the same way.
(If you are wondering, the idol outfits are from Graphite's Punk Rock Outfits)
The 8 stats of your idols combine in their formation, along with chemistry, for a group stat. Now the exact formula isn't entirely clear, but it is basically an average of your group's skills, weighted in favor of the skills of the girls closer to the front of your formation. That is why having a highly skilled girl in the front of your formation has a much higher impact on your group stats than putting her near the back of the formation. This is why you also don't want to just grab as many idols as possible, because the stats are based on the ENTIRE group's stats, not just on the selected idols.
See what happens when one of my weaker idols, Tanaka Maria, whose stats are below the group's across the board, is removed from the formation;
As you can see, even though her weaker stats have been removed, the group stats have actually gone down, rather than up. This is important! This is why you don't just hire any idol you see, but focus on quality audition candidates who are in line with your current group's abilities. I know some people have stated that you should focus on having as many idols as your contract generation can handle, and while that does assist in a contract-focused game style, it will dilute the appeal of your performances and thus lower the success of your singles. Singles will start to outpace your contract income pretty drastically after a few months, especially on default difficulty, and failing to improve the stats of your idols will have long term repercussions.
Also remember, more idols in a group is not necessarily better! A small 5-girl group can perform as well as a full 15-member formation, but the stats of each individual girl have a much higher impact.
Individual Stats And Their Demographic AppealNon-sexual
Alright, now to the meat of the issue; what each stat means for you.
DemographicsFirst, a quick reminder of what demographics there are, organized into mutually exclusive groups;
Fan Type Hardcore - What it says on the tin, the most hardcore of fans. The most enthusiastic, the most die-hard, the hardest to gain, but also the most rewarding on a per-capita basis. If you play your cards right, your hardcore fans can actually buy more CDs than there are people in this group. These fans are also important for concert attendance and the Theatre.
Casual - These are fair-weather fans. Easy to get, easy to lose, they like trendy music, lyrics, and dances. They buy fewer singles per-capita, but their sheer numbers make up for it.Gender Male
AdultThere are some genres, lyrics, etc that will appeal to mutually exclusive groups, such as both to Hardcore and Casual fans, but most will appeal to one or the other, or will appeal to one more than the other.
Please note when it says that something appeals to "Hardcore Male" this means it appeals to Hardcore fans and Male fans not just Hardcore Male fans. Something that appeals to Hardcore, means it appeals to both Hardcore males and females. When it appeals to Males, it appeals to both hardcore Males and casual Males. Thus stats appeal to all four non-age demographics, but to very different degrees. Thus, no stat is "useless", but some are far more important than others depending on your target audience.
Idol StatsAppearanceStatAppealNotesCuteHardcore MaleHow cute your idol is. This seems to refer both to "adorable" cute and "attractive" cute. The former is why very young idols, those who are 12-14, have huge Cute states when hired, well above their potential even, and why it drops precipitously as they age. This stat drops drastically on Idols' 13-15 birthdays, and sometimes later.CoolHardcore FemaleHow Cool and trendy your idol is. Given this is idol culture and heavily tied to Japan, think of it as the "older senpai" that the younger girls look up to, because she's cool and they want to be like her. As such, this stat is very important for female fans. This stat cannot be raised through training at younger ages. This stat can often increase on birthdays, especially at younger ages.SexyHardcore MaleA pretty self-explanatory stat, how physically attractive the idol is, primarily in the eyes of the opposite sex. If you don't know what a gravure idol is, it's this. Risque behavior and outfits, suggestive photoshoots, lyrics, and dance routines. Quite obviously, this is very important to male fans. It is important to note that the Sexy stat cannot be raised, like cool, at a younger age. 16 years old is the limit before you can begin to train this stat, so if you are going for a gravure idol group, keep that in mind when hiring idols. This stat can often increase on birthdays, especially at younger ages, often in tandem with the cute stat decreasing.PrettyHardcore FemaleAn Idol's beauty. This is an Idol's attractiveness in a way. Think of it the way a girl might look at models in a fashion magazine and want to try to emulate their style and appearance, or the way fashion or beauty influencers on Instagram appeal to a primarily female audience. Important for female fans.
AbilityStatAppealNotesDanceCasual MaleThe dancing skill of your idol. Ironically of lower priority for an idol to train, as it does not interact with contracts at all, while appearance stats are equally important in singles and concerts, but also for contracts as well. Further, it has to be trained in a dance studio, which takes 2 room slots, while appearance stats are trained in 1-room Dressing Rooms.VocalCasual FemaleThe singing ability of your idol. Ironically of lower priority for an idol to train, as it does not interact with contracts at all, while appearance stats are equally important in singles and concerts, but also for contracts as well. Further, it has to be trained in a recording studio, which takes 2 room slots, while appearance stats are trained in 1-room Dressing Rooms.FunnyCasual MaleHow funny your idol is. This, along with their smart stat, is important for the success of Media type jobs. You could have the most physically appealing idols with amazing vocals assigned to an internet program, but if they are Dull&Dumb the audience isn't going to enjoy it. This stat increases with age and cannot be easily trained. Manzai performances in the Theatre are one of the few ways to train this stat.SmartCasual FemaleHow smart your idol is. This, along with their funny stat, is important for the success of Media type jobs. Increases with age and cannot be easily trained. Manzai performances in the Theatre are one of the few ways to train this stat.
Using Stats To Build A Fanbase
Now that we know what demographics each stat appeals to, we can use that knowledge to build a specific fanbase that will maximize the effect of our total fan count. On default difficulty, the majority of your fan count will probably come from your daily promotion activity. On Unfair difficulty, you will find that is not going to be the case. On normal difficulty, the 4th level of promotion, which is easily attainable early on, gives 350 fans per use. On Unfair, it is only 200 fans, almost half the amount. Furthermore, due to the increased financial difficulty, you will have to squeeze ever more money-making activities out of your idols, through contracts and performances, and often find that you simply don't have the time and stamina to spend on promotion. As such, squeezing every bit of efficiency out of the fanbase you do have, and growing your fans via singles is vital.
You can choose your genres, lyrics, and choreography to appeal to a specific group, but if your idols don't match that demographic appeal, its not going to be as effective. Essentially, your singles choices add to the stats of your idols for a combined total. This means, at the start of the game you have two options available to you. Either you choose a style you want and find idols that fit that style, or you start auditions and build your style around the stats of your first good choices. Neither is inherently better than the other.
If your idols' stats conflict with your group style (primary genre, lyrics, and choreography), your fanbase will be unfocused and spread amongst the various demographics, as your idols will appeal to one set of demographics, and your style another. You might be thinking, that doesn't really matter, a fan is a fan, as long as the totals are the same, does it matter? Yes. Your appeal might be spread out, but it will effect the opinions of your fanbase. Your smaller demographics will be happier, but your larger demographics will be less happy. Trading happiness in a larger demographic for a smaller one is counterproductive.
Note: This is not entirely true if you are going for a casual trend-chasing style. If you are swapping your genre, lyrics, and choreography to always appeal to the latest trend, and thus getting the extra new casual fans and sales bonus that comes with that, you cannot afford to be tied to a specific style, and thus it becomes beneficial for you to have a more spread out fanbase demographic.
Lets use an example;I hired a 13 year old with low stats in everything but cute (72), cool (40), and dance (42). With those stats she appeals to hardcore & males, hardcore & females, and casual & males. So her primary appeal is Hardcore fans and Male fans.
We started with 140 fans (20 level 1 promotions) and then we produced and released 2 singles. The first was primarily appealing to hardcore (40%) and about even on everything else (0-10%). The second appealed to females (50%) and casual (30%), rest (0-10%).
As you can see, teenagers have a really high opinion across the board, probably on account of her being a 13 year old herself. What is more illustrative is the hardcore male demographic. You'll notice that hardcore males are actually her highest appeal group, at over 30% across all 3, and the highest number of fans. However, outside of teenagers, she is well under water in terms of the happiness of her hardcore male fanbase. Her casual male and hardcore female groups are also unhappy with us. So this tells us that her hardcore fans are unhappy, and her male fans are unhappy, which combines to make her hardcore male fans really unhappy.
We can deduce why this is. Our first single and the idol herself appeal to hardcore fans, so they are interested. Then we turn around and release a single specifically appealing to casual fans and female fans. the Idol's hardcore fans, male fans, and especially hardcore male fans are upset by this. We see the direct result of that; Her fanbase is upset. Meanwhile, casual female fans, whom we specifically appealed to, do have a positive opinion, but not by much, only 57%. Obviously, making our smallest demographic slightly happy at the expense of the larger 3 demographics becoming upset with us is not a sound business strategy.
This is why it is vital to identify and cultivate a specific fanbase, and then keep that fanbase happy not only through a fitting group style, but also through individual idols matching their preferences. A casual female adult is not likely to find a 13 year old cute teenager appealing, she will want a smart girl in her 20s who can sing. That same girl would be less attractive to a hardcore teenage male fan. Meanwhile an adult male would likely find both unappealing and prefer a cute & sexy 20 year old who can dance well.
Trying to appeal to every demographic, or demographics which do not correspond to your idol's stats will lower your fan gain, sales, and concert attendance.
There are some policies that also affect your demographic appeal directly, and some that don't but are indirectly relevant to some strategies involved in target certain demographics. Here is a quick rundown of fanbase-relevant policies and their effects;
VibeVibe doesn't have a direct impact on demographic appeal but it does effect your success. Choosing a vibe that matches your group's primary stat makes that stat have more impact, as well as increase your contract income by having more offers that match that stat.
Cute/Sexy - These two options are tied to Hardcore Male fanbases.
Cool/Pretty - These two options are tied to Hardcore Female fanbases.
Smart/Funny - Smart is tied to Casual Female fanbases, and Funny is tied to Casual Male fanbases.
ImageWhile image does increase appeals to certain demographics, options outside neutral do come with other drawbacks. Personally I prefer to keep this neutral, though it is a good policy to use to rid yourself of scandal points.
Orthodox - This option increases your appeal to hardcore and adult/young adult demographics.
Neutral - No effect, and no drawbacks.
Rebellious - Female and Younger demographics. The contract penalty can be painful if playing on Unfair difficulty. On normal difficulty it is a good choice if appealing to those demographics.
DatingThis is more than a policy aimed at preventing your idols' personal lives from interfering with work. Hardcore fans don't like their idols dating, while female fans find the idea of restricting a young woman's personal life in exchange for the company's success (justifiably) objectionable.
Forbidden - This will increase your appeal to hardcore fans, but really upsets casual fans. Scandals are rare, but they hurt. You will get scandal points and pay out liabilities at some point with this policy, especially if you are primarily using idols over the age of 16. In my opinion, the demographic appeal to hardcore fans isn't worth the scandal and liability danger. I've had unfair runs brought to the brink of bankruptcy due to harsh dating scandals.
Ambiguous - You don't upset anyone, but also don't increase your appeal. You will get scandals, but they won't hurt as much and many can be mitigated to not trigger liabilities. This is the safer option, and honestly better early on, especially on unfair difficulty.
No restrictions - Appeals to female and casual fans, but makes scandals more common, however less damaging. I don't have much personal experience with this policy, so I cannot comment on the impact the scandals may have on contract liabilities.
SkirtsShort Skirts, No Safety - Hardcore fans really like this. Casual fans dislike it. Overall, a pretty good choice if you aren't targeting casual fans.
Short Skirts with Safety - Hardcore fans like this, no one dislikes it. This may seem like a good choice, but honestly you're just trying to appease everyone rather than building a specific fanbase. Personally I view this as the worst choice.
Long Skirts - Good for targeting Female fans, ignore it if not.
Pants - Good for targeting casual fans, or if you are targeting male fans but not specifically hardcore male fans. Most importantly though, this is one of the few ways you can directly target the male demographic through choices. Many policies and choices in creating singles that you would think target the male demographic actually target just the hardcore demographic, both male and female. There are a huge number of ways to target the hardcore demographic, many of which add huge percentages to your appeal. Meanwhile, using sexy choreography is one of the few ways to do that for the male demographic. As such, if you are specifically looking for male hardcore fans and not just hardcore fans in general, this is actually a very solid choice over short skirts.
PerformancesIf you are playing on unfair difficulty, never change this policy. Both non-neutral options increase the stamina use of certain activities, and you never have enough stamina. Pretend this option doesn't exist.
Energy and Enthusiasm - Hardcore fans like this. Your idols' stamina hate it.
Balance and Moderation - I like this. You should like this too. Your idols' stamina will go on strike if you don't use this policy.
Quality and Polish - Casual fans like it. Idols' stamina hates it. Stamina for training is a precious commodity.
More Idol Manager guilds
- All Guilds
- Guide 86
- Guide 76
- Guide 65
- little tips
- How to break early-game progression and have 100K+ fans by end of year 1
- Guide 46
- Never Bankrupt Again()
- Idol Manager Achievement Guide! 100% Achievements
- Guide 31
- Guide 27