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 – 23 May 2012

Artist News

  • Ayabie’s vocalist Aoi has his new solo project 168 -one sixty eight.
  • In time for their single release Lady Luck / Dilly Dally on 13/06/2012, K-Pop group AFTERSCHOOL will hose their own Japanese radio program, starting on 26/05/2012. AFTERSCHOOL PLAYGIRLZ RADIO is a 90 minute show including songs from the latest album and discussions such as about their troubles in Japan. If you want to share your thoughts on Korean artists in Japan then let me know in the poll.
  • Although there’s no new details about Amuro Namie‘s latest album on 27/06/2012 , but it has been announced it will also be released as a PLAYBUTTON, a new tin badge sized media/music player with pre-recorded content.
  • Anna Tsuchiya will be appearing on the track no options! on INORAN‘s new album Dive youth, Sonik dive.
  • ART-SCHOOL have changed labels to Ki/oon Music and have a new album planned for the summer.
  • The memorial service for Dragon Ash bassist IKUZONE at SHIBUYA-AX on 06/06/2012.
  • King Records has started a new record labelSukuIku for releases aimed at kindergarten children, parents and teachers.
  • As two members of MORNING MUSUME. graduated on 18/05/2012, it was announced that auditions for the 11th generation would be held for new members, with particular focus on real beauties.
  • Although NightingeiL will disband on 03/06/2012, vocalist Kon will start his new project CELL.
  • rhythmic will disband on 31/05/2012 and will continue in the industry as individuals.
  • Jokes were made on 19/05/2012 when SID posed together with Sadako at the Sadako 3D stage greeting and the director suggested that she tours with the band. They have recorded the film’s theme song S.

Releases News

  • amazarashi has their new album love song out on 13/06/2012.
  • Creature Creature have announced details on their next set of musical releases. The fifth single Rakuen e / Ataraxia is out on 20/06/2012, followed by Kurumeki / Sexus on 08/08/2012, with their third album in October.
  • Fukuhara Miho is releasing her third original album The Best of Soul Extreme, including collaborations with Miura Daichi, AI and AKIKO WADA, on 13/06/2012.
  • GALNERYUS have their new single HUNTING FOR YOUR DREAM out on 18/07/2012.
  • girugamesh will be releasing their new single Zecchou BANG!! with producer TAKUYA on 04/07/2012. Be warned, it’s only available for a limited time and all sales will be stopped on 31/12/2012.
  • Ex punk Midori member Goto Mariko will release her pop debut album 299792458 (read as Goto Mariko) on 25/07/2012.
  • Seiyuu Horie Yui will release the single Natsu no Yakusoku on 25/07/2012. I still hold a soft spot for her as she was the lead character in the first anime I ever watched, Fruits Basket.
  • Enka singer Jero has his fifth cover album, appropriately titled Covers 5, available on 04/07/2012, with new versions of period drama songs. He certainly doesn’t look like the traditional enka image, yea for breaking stereotypes!

  • The theme for the NHK’s kid’s music program Minna no uta will be Kalafina‘s latest single moonfesta, out on 18/07/2012.
  • KAT-TUN‘s next single will be TO THE LIMIT on J27/06/2012.
  • Mizuki Nana has her single TIME SPACE EP due out on 06/06/2012. This will be followed by an untitled single on 01/08/2012 that will be the theme for the anime film Mahou Shoujo Lyrical Nanoha The MOVIE 2nd A’s.
  • Morning Musume will be One Two Three / The Matenrou Show on 04/07/2012.
  • MUCC are celebrating their 15 th anniversary by releasing the album Aishuu no antique, featuring re-recorded tracks from their oldest two old albums on their anniversary, 09/06/2012.
  • Idol group PASSPO have their fourth single Next Flight available from 13/06/2012.
  • The tribute album PUFFY COVERS will be released on 07/07/2012, featuring new versions of PUFFY tracks from artists such as Fujifabric, Guitar Wolf and the pillows.
  • Gothic siblings Rose Noire will release their second mini album, Neo Renaissance -1st movement-, on 25/07/2012.
  • The sixth single from UNISON SQUARE GARDEN will be Ryuusei no Squall on 25/07/2012.

Live News

  • More Namie Amuro news now. Artists who will be performing at her 20th anniversary live on 16/09/2012 include VERBAL (m-flo), AI, ZEEBRA, Mummy-D (RHYMESTER), Kaname Kawabata, and Anna Tsuchiya.
  • As reported earlier, DIR EN GREY will share their UROBOROS via USTREAM, and now the times have been announced. In the London time zones the screenings here will be at 06:00, 14:00 and 22:00 on 27/05/2012 (there will be charges involved).
  • As GLAY release their 45th single Bible today (23/05/2012), they have announced they will have 2 lives, Super Welcome Party and Big Surprise Party at Osaka. In partnership with the sweet brand Glico, they will have their band logo changed to match Glico’s signature font.
  • Nightmare will be joining forces with baroque and hosting three joint performances at the end of July.
  • The final Discover Japan Tour date will be available on DVD from TOKYO SKA PARADISE ORCHESTRA on 04/07/2012, entitled Discover Japan Tour ~LIVE IN HACHIOJI 2011.12.27~.

Be Genki (^o^)y