Neo Kei

For fans of Japanese Popular Music. From para para to visual kei and every genre inbetween!


My thoughts on Japanese iTunes

It had been a while since I bought any music, so I went onto the Japanese iTunes to find some new songs to add to my collection.

On UK iTunes I like to take advantage of the ‘Single of the Week’, where they give away a free song from an up-and-coming artist or artist with new material (previous artists include Alex Clare, Foxes, Naughty Boy and Tom Odell). So I had a little look around to see if I could find something similar. Then I spotted a section that had 00’s songs for 150 yen (87 pence approx), compared with 250 yen (£1.46 approx).

Yes the songs on Japanese iTunes are more expensive than the UK. But the UK has extremely few Japanese songs. For instance AKB48 (one of the biggest idol groups) only had 1 song, and that was only because they were on the ‘Wreck-It-Ralph’ soundtrack. There some new tracks I could find, which really helped me when I started DJing. But I couldn’t guarantee I would find the songs I wanted, and whether they were still current (no point buying a MIYAVI track 3 months after it was released in Japan). And even if I discovered an artist that I really liked (like Capsule or Aural Vampire), I wouldn’t be able to find any of their back catalogue. So the Japanese iTunes account is brilliant to have access to any artist I want.

Also I don’t have to worry about have to import music. Before iTunes I was purchasing my music through YesAsia. I do think it’s a brilliant site for the amount and variety of stock they have. But you pay the cost of importing. Literally. The prices are so much higher for albums and singles. For instance just looking on the site now, the most recent single of a artist I could find was SID’s  ENAMEL (Normal Edition)(Japan Version) is on sale at $14.25 (£8.44 approx). And that doesn’t include the DVD extras or photobooks they like to include. I couldn’t afford the latest music, so I would look at the reduced items of artists that I thought would be popular, even if the songs had been out of the charts for a while. I’d also buy music in bulk, because firstly it would take about 2-3 weeks at least to arrive, and also the purchases had to be over $39 to qualify for free shipping (which I’ve recently learnt can really bite, but more on that later).

I am still a traditionalist and I like to own the physical CD (but oddly I’ve never been interested in vinyl). So if I want to buy an album of an artist I really like, I will still want to buy it in the future. But as much as I love owning as much music as possible, it’s not practical to buy a physical single at over 5 times the cost of a download song. Plus, whilst I might get 3/4 songs with the physical, half of them might be instrumentals or TV edits (because songs are so often TV OPs) and really what people will want to hear is the actual single, not the extra song that came with it. iTunes allows me to buy the 1 song that I know I will include in my mixes (or at least heavily listen to and build my own musical knowledge), so I’d say that  purchase would have a 100% success rate, compared with may 25-30% with a physical single.

I ended up buying 7 songs. I wanted to talk about them all, and what was meant to be a very short introduction into Japanese iTunes turned into another one of my short opinion pieces! So I’ll share this first and write a separate post that just focuses on the music.

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Neo Kei – 27 June 2012

Hi Minna,

How you doing? Actually this week it seems to be all about the releases. Good sign at least for new music!

Release News

  • 20/06/2012 Dream MORNING MUSUME – Dream MORNING MUSUME. Special LIVE 2012 Nippon Budokan ~ 1st Chapter Closed [Yuusha Touch, Shuugou Seyo]~ (live DVD)
  • 04/07/2012 NoGoDTHE 10TH ATTACK ~LIVE TOUR 2012 THE 10TH GAME -FINAL- (first live DVD)
  • 11/07/2012 Called≠Plan Yozora Lion (single with 3 versions)
  • 25/07/2012 ASIAN KUNG-FU GENERATION – Soredewa, Mata Ashita (single)
  • 25/07/2012 Watanabe MayuOtona Jelly Beans (single with 4 versions)
  • 25/07/2012 NICO Touches the Walls – Ground of HUMANIA 2012.3.20 IN MAKUHARI (live DVD)
  • 01/08/2012 Kimura KaelaKAELA WEB TOUR 2012 @ Nippon Budokan (live DVD)
  • 15/08/2012 D=OUThigh collar (mini album with 3 versions)
  • 22/08/2012 AYABIEANSWER (first major album)
  • 22/08/2012 POLYSICS – Lucky Star (single with 2 versions)
  • 22/08/012 & 29/08/2012 Buono!(to-be-titled) (mini-album with 2 versions),  CLIPS Vol.2 (PV DVD)
  • 29/08/2012 sakanaction – Yoru no odoroko (single)
  • 05/09/2012 KameleoKensaku Kekka 0 (single)
  • 19/09/2012 SuG – sweeToxic (single with 4 versions)
  • 26/09/2012 Kra – Kakusei distortion (single with 2 versions)

Live News

  • exist†trace will be releasing their Just Like A Virgin live DVD for a limited period.
  • Golden Bomber are asking fans to submit their own dance videos to 女々しくて / Memeshikute for the chance to see them live.
  • MAN WITH A MISSION will play 4 dates for their US tour.
  • On 23/06/2012 MEG hosted her one man live (shouldn’t that be one woman :P) 10TH ANNIVERSARY PARTY ‘Arrivee” at Tokyo’s SHIBUYA-AX.
  • Sendai Kamotsu (Nightmare’s alter ego band) and Golden Bomber have been added to the Kishidan Banpaku festival line up.
  • SPYAIR hosted a guerilla live on 26/06/2012, which they called Road to Nippon Budokan.

And finally;

  • HearJapan, the Japanese music digital download store will close on 30/06/2012 after 5 years. So with one less outlet, make sure you support your legal distributors of Japanese music.

Be Genki (^o^)y


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Neo Kei – 25 Mar 2012

Artist News

  • Visual kei band Ap(r)il will be disbanding after their live on 03/06/2012 at Takadanobaba AREA.
  • The vocalist Hayato will be leaving BLOOD after their anniversary concerts on 7-8/07/2012.
  • STEREOPONY will be the Guest of Honor at Sakura-Con, the biggest Anime convention in NW US, to be hosted in Washington between 6th and 8th April. In addition Moi dix Mois & Kanon Wakeshima will also be at Sakura-Con, conducting perfornances, autograph sessions and artist panels.
  • The guitarist Hyuga and Hagiri will be leaving VelBet after their performance today (24/03/2012), having just celebrated their 3rd anniversary.

Music News

  • AI‘s track Happiness, chosen as Coca-Cola’s Christmas Campaign track, has reached 1 million downloads.
  • Released late 2011 in Japan, the mini-album Kerguelen Vortex Aural Vampire is available from Bishi-Bishi’s online store.
  • BOOM BOOM SATELLITES‘s song BROKEN MIRROR will be part of GUNDAM anime “episode 5 ‘Kuroi Unicorn'”. This marks 15 years since the band’s debut and first song contribution for the ‘Unicorn’ series of GUNDAM.
  • On 04/07/2012 BORN will be releasing their new single BLASTED ANIMALS. In July they will also start their one man tour.
  • BUCK-TICK‘s first single from their new label “Lingua Sounda” will be Elise no Tame ni on 23/05/2012.
  • On 13/03/2012 FLOW released their new album BLACK&WHITE online through iTunes and Amazon, just in time for their 10th anniversary. They will also be appearing at Anime Matsuri 2012 at Houston, Texas in April and France’s largest anime convention in the summer.
  • Singer/seiyuu Hirano Aya is a collection albumFRAGMENTS due on 23/05/2012, featuring artists such as kz (livetune), Maeyamada Kenichi, Fu_mou and Miss Modular.
  • After the physical release of AKATSUKI last year, HOME MADE KAZOKU is now available digitally. I’m looking forward to listening through the tracks and downloading my favourites, or buying the physical if I love them all!
  • LUNA SEA bassist J has released his new album ON FIRE and will be going on tour in Japan for the first time in 4 years.
  • The fashion magazine KERA will be celebrating their 13th anniversary, and on 25/04/2012 will be releasing a compilation titled KERA SONGS 13th Anniversary Collection. A number of artists will be featured such as SCANDAL, SuG and HIGH and MIGHTY COLOR, as well as the track Fashion Doll composed by AN CAFÉ’s Kanon and lyrics by AN CAFÉ’S miku.
  • On 14/03/2012 Kitano Kie released her mini-album Can you hear me?, which includes her thoughts on the Tohoku disaster.
  • The vocalist from Every Little Thing, Mochida Kaori, will release her double A-single Megumi/Kanashii toki mo ureshii toki mo on 09/05/2012.
  • Nakagawa Shouko will be releasing her best of album Shokotan☆Best――(°∀°) ――!! on 02/05/2012, celebrating 10 years.
  • Piko‘s new single Emiiro Refrain, written by L’Arc~en~Ciel’s bassist TETSUYA, is due on 25/04/2012.
  • Visual kei band UNiTE will be releasing their new single AIVIE on 28/03/2012 , just before their first AKASAKA BLITZ performance on 29/03/2012.l be held to celebrate their 1st Anniversary since their formation.
  • ViViD will be releasing their single REAL in May, just before their first hall tour in May.

Concert News

  • Alice Nine will be releasing their latest PV collection, alice in pictures III on 06/06/2012. No tracklisting is confirmed, but is expected to feature from RAINBOWS to their recent single Niji no yuki.
  • When Do As Infinity start their Do As Infinity LIVE TOUR 2012~TIME MACHINE~, the tour t-shirt will feature Kumamon, the mascot of Kumamoto prefecture where vocalist Ban Tomiko is from.
  • girugamesh have just completed 13 consecutive sold out performances at Shibuya WWW.  But not content with that, they’ll now be doing a tour throughout Japan in July/August.
  • HITT will have 2 new singles, For Myself and For My Lover available during his European tour.
  • Already on their world tour, L’Arc~en~Ciel have added 2 additional dates at the National Stadium in Tokyo in May.
  • LM.C. are starting their world tour on 30/04/2012 and as part of this, the members Maya and Aiji will appear on MJPTV with their live program LM.C TV, airing 25/03/2012 at 21:00 (JST) on the MJP website.
  • Plastic Tree have had to take on a support drummer whilst Satou Kenken is hospitalised for acute hepatitis. After discussion the band have taken this decision especially as the band had to be inactive last year due to Ryuutaro (Vocalist)’s throat issues.
  • In May SuG will start their first Asian tour, visiting South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan.
  • UVERworld have their Christmas concert DVD due on 04/04/2012. UVERworld 2011 Premium LIVE on Xmas will also be available on Blu-ray on 02/05/2012.
  • VAMPS will be back on tour with 10 cities and 13 shows at ZEPP TOKYO alone.