Free markets aren't all evil. We can leverage them to our advantage. Firstly, digital and illegal downloading isn't really a thing in Japan. Many of the big publishers have not made their catalogs available on digital services. Japanese media companies actually succeeded at what made American media companies into villains: So Japanese have no way to get their favorite music except from physical media.
Secondly, music publishers participate in price-fixing.
The price for the music is printed right on the packaging, and you don't have big stores trying to sell at a discount e. Best Buy, Wal mart , because they would lose the business of the publishers. Lastly, the market is inflated with special editions. A big part of Japan's music sales comes from obsessive fans of boy bands and idol groups and such that have to buy every single version of a CD single that comes out. So you end up with prices that are high because of lack of competition and high demand. Sure - they often sell blank CDs 15 years ago it was minidiscs right there near the checkout counter.
This seems like the logical answer. I used to rip everything Netflix sent me back when they mailed DVDs instead of the streaming thing. I really wish VAP would put their signed bands on Spotify. I've always wondered why they haven't. On the other hand used cds, books these aren't so expensive even if new , games, movies cost basically nothing. Usually in perfectly good shape too. A new cd might be yen, two years later it's maybe yen.
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A new regular comic book is around yen, used ones yen. I once worked for a label and it always seemed like they were chasing the short term 'gain' rather than focusing on the bigger picture. There are still a lot of executives who lived and worked through the high-rolling industry of the 90's before it started to collapse in the '00s I'm enjoying watching the industry adapt now as younger people who never experienced that now have their chance to revolutionise a stale, dying business.
I remember reading before that regular non-japanese versions of albums sold for next to nothing in markets in Japan, making the artists virtually no money. So the idea of adding a bonus tracks was introduced to encourage japanese people to pay a little more for the bigger albums. And yes, selling below the regulated price is punishable by law. So it's less a matter of not profiting enough and more a matter of profiting more than elsewhere, right?
I'm not so sure about that This is a lot cheaper than the yen domestics but it's still around the price of a new cd in the States, if not a bit more. My band did this.
heetopeenoehon kakikukeko by hasukisinobu
Our label did not have great distribution in Japan and a Japanese label showed interest in putting our last album out there so we worked out a deal. We recorded one extra song, they included a Japanese translation of all the lyrics inside, and put our faces in stores all over Japan.
We ended up selling more albums in the first month there than we did in the rest of the world in the first year. Worked out well for everyone.
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Yep, this answer deserves more up votes. The Japanese music industry is pretty huge. Some teenage wannabe friends in the UK had a fairly ordinary four-piece and a crazy ambitious manager who took them on tour to Japan three times inside a year. Back home they struggled to get a crowd of at their gigs, but over there with a bit of clever PR and they were selling out venues of ten times that capacity, plus off-loading tons of merchandise.
They didn't ultimately make any serious money, because of the high expenses and the deal he'd put them on - but they had a wild time!
Because the entertainment industry in Japan is fucked. For a variety of reasons, ALL cds sold at retail stores are sold at a government-regulated price. It is illegal to sell them for less.
This means that if foreign labels want Japanese retailers to carry their product, they have to give them something that merits the higher price. If the content was identical to the foreign import, there wouldn't be any reason for the consumer to buy the domestic version at the artificially inflated price point and thus no reason for retailers to bother carrying the product. The system, established in , allows owners of copyrighted material to set the minimum retail price of newly released or re-released products , thus eliminating any possiblilty of discounting.
It's not the artists making it, it's the Japanese importer. Japanese consumers have historically preferred album booklets and ancillary materials to be in Japanese, and this necessitates a special run of albums, which is usually paid for by Japanese distributors. The distributor occasionally commissions translations and new art or adjusted art , where appropriate. Those distributors always add the "Obi", that paper sleeve on the left-hand side of the disc's case unique to Japanese releases. All of these things drive up the price of the album, though, since distributors want to make a cut for the service they provide.
To help offset this, and to keep Japanese consumers paying higher prices for localized albums rather than just buying the import in its original language , distributors often negotiate the addition of "B-side" tracks to help add some value. Many artists today are happy to include them, since recording sessions almost always produce more material than is fit for an album, and since it has become a tradition to put B-sides on Japanese discs. Because of this system, and because the Japanese market is very unique, sales of physical media in Japan have not been affected by the internet to nearly the degree that they have been in the rest of the world.
It just occurred to me that Obi literally means "sash", so it may not actually be from the kimono Obi. I'm not sure if they use the word Obi for other things, or just kimono and cd's. It's been done for many years. As stated by others, it helps boost sales of the Japanese version as opposed to import to them versions. In addition, some of those copies are then imported back into the US, for sale at higher prices as import copies.
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In the 90s, this was very common with singles. In order to push single sales and drive a song up the charts, labels would release a CD single with bonus tracks. That same single would be released to Japan and the UK with different bonus songs. Many of those singles would then be sold back to the US.
Vincent's lyrics that it sometimes feels as if the sound they produce is more important than the words themselves. Never is this more true than in the impactful refrain 'Del, Del, Rio' on the Japanese bonus track to her self-titled fourth album. A beautiful and rare gem - find it on the recently release deluxe edition too. Charli XCX - 'Break The Rules Japanese Version ' Sucker : If we're being entirely honest, as we always are, the English-language version of 'Break The Rules' is one of the most irritating songs, both lyrically and musically, that we've heard for a long time.
For some inexplicable reason though, its Japanese-language counterpart is almost brilliant. It's a strange world. It winds down an often relentlessly up-tempo, funk-filled album with a real sense of poignancy - giving the album a whole new dimension. The xx - 'Reconsider' Coexist : From their second album, 's Coexist, comes this characteristically minimalist, haunting gem.
The same can be said of almost any song from The xx, but 'Reconsider' is profoundly cinematic, and proves definitively that someone needs to ask this and to score a film. Florence The Machine - 'Bird Song' Lungs : Slightly lighter on the orchestral heft that Welch is known for, but plenty heavy on the profoundly twisted and imaginative lyrics: "I picked up the bird and above the din I said, 'That's the last song you'll ever sing'.
Held him down, broke his neck, taught him a lesson he wouldn't forget.
Heetopeenoehonnazonazooukokuniiku (Japanese Edition)
Beyonce - 'Dreaming' 4 : It's something of a tautology to ever bother saying that Beyonce's voice sounds amazing, but few demonstrate its quality to quite the extent of 'Dreaming', from the Japanese release of 4. It's a syncopated delight with a baffling blend of humour and pathos. The Libs at their best, and we're keeping our fingers crossed that it makes an appearance on their summer tour.