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Old Nov 14, 2011, 08:23 PM   #1
applefan289
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All Avex Trax artists pulled from the U.S. iTunes store

I just checked multiple J-pop Avex Trax music artists on the iTunes store, and was shocked to find that they were all pulled.

I have bought more than 50 songs by artist ayumi hamasaki from the iTunes store. I check every few days to see if they updated it with a new album, but I see that all Japanese artists under the Avex Trax label were pulled. That's terrible! I thought iTunes was heading in the right direction by having a variety of J-pop music, but they just ruined it!

I wonder why this happened.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 08:27 PM   #2
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Probably from record labels being... record labels. And Apple, being... Apple.

So you're that "one guy" on earth who acquires legit j-pop. It's a pleasure to finally meet you.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 08:28 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Big-TDI-Guy View Post
Probably from record labels being... record labels. And Apple, being... Apple.

So you're that "one guy" on earth who acquires legit j-pop. It's a pleasure to finally meet you.
ayumi hamasaki was on the first page of most popular J-pop albums on the iTunes store...trust me, I'm not the only one.

And it's a strange coincidence that I noticed this after updating to the latest iTunes version today.

What this means is that I can't re-download all the 100 songs I've bought over the years. That sucks. I'm going to have to back up what I have.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 08:38 PM   #4
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Ahh yes! The iTunes sharing thing, yeah, definitely record labels being record labels. I could see why they'd be in a tiff over this.

Is bummer.

I'm only joking about the j-pop thing. I know some people who are huge into Japanese pop culture. They complain that they can't get X, Y or Z in the US, all the while they torrent tons of it. They justify saying: "well it's not licensed in the US, so it's not illegal to do this". I can't make them understand that it's this exact behavior that ensures it never will get licensed. Chicken and egg thing.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 08:51 PM   #5
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Ahh yes! The iTunes sharing thing, yeah, definitely record labels being record labels. I could see why they'd be in a tiff over this.

Is bummer.

I'm only joking about the j-pop thing. I know some people who are huge into Japanese pop culture. They complain that they can't get X, Y or Z in the US, all the while they torrent tons of it. They justify saying: "well it's not licensed in the US, so it's not illegal to do this". I can't make them understand that it's this exact behavior that ensures it never will get licensed. Chicken and egg thing.
Oh, you mean iTunes Match? Is it because of that?

A few days ago BTW, I bought my last ayumi song. Went through all the albums on iTunes and downloaded all the ones I wanted over the years...have bought the ones that are not on iTunes on CD.

It's really a shame that Japan's best music is no longer on the iTunes store.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 09:04 PM   #6
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I'm willing to bet it's likely because of iTunes match.

You could go old-school and dig up some CDs off of Amazon.

Holy (#*$#*@#(!!! A ton of her CDs are $70+. Wow, people like their imports.

I've got some friends in Japan, maybe we should set up a business venture?
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 09:09 PM   #7
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Just out of curiosity I checked iTunes NZ and there are 111 ayumi hamasaki songs on there. I wonder how widespread the disappearance is.

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Originally Posted by Big-TDI-Guy View Post
I've got some friends in Japan, maybe we should set up a business venture?
Or just buy them from amazon.co.jp
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 09:10 PM   #8
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Has iTunes Match launched over there?
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 09:14 PM   #9
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I'm unsure. I had an iTunes Match thingy in the sidebar but it gave an error when I clicked it. Now it's gone completely.
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Old Nov 14, 2011, 09:16 PM   #10
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Yeah... but, Um... I'll get my CDs shipped over in used panties!

Beat that, Amazon!
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 03:30 AM   #11
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Just checked on my iphone-yup we can still get them here in Europe (well Switzerland at least).

Never really listened to J-pop, wonder what I'm missing.
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Old Nov 15, 2011, 08:41 AM   #12
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Yeah... but, Um... I'll get my CDs shipped over in used panties!
Haha, I know what ya mean!
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Old Dec 17, 2011, 03:29 PM   #13
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Theives!!!

I purchased Ayu's 'I Am' Album, and several of her other songs. I can still get Utada Hikaru, Hyde, KOKIA, and even Do As Infinity and Namie Amuro...but NO AYU?? Why would Apple sell any J-Pop collection without Ayu???...ever since I updated my phone to iOS5. I was able to pull everything from Cloud except Ayumi Hamasaki...I PAID FOR THAT MUSIC!! I think that's CALLED STEALING!!
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Old Dec 19, 2011, 04:35 AM   #14
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Unfortunately Japanese record labels don't seem to 'get' the internet, and most artists consider only their home market.

There are been some interesting blog posts recently on the Neojapanisme blog concerning 'The Fear of... The Internet' and 'The Great Shift in Japanese Pop Culture'. This second series of articles has been fascinating - with the author discussing how Japan's pop culture is now aimed at groups in society that really have no equivalent in the West - and as a result is becoming much less marketable internationally.

In the UK iTunes store we have Ayu's 'Guilty' album, her 'ayu-mix' and all her videos, but nothing else. Contrast that with well known K-Pop artists like T-Ara, Kara, SNSD, 2NE1 etc. that seem to have pretty much every release there. I do try to buy all my music legitimately... and unfortunately it's the same story if you want to buy CDs: Japanese albums on YesAsia cost $$$$ ($37 for Jasmine/Gold) while there are eBay sellers selling pretty much every K-Pop release for half that ($18+$3 shipping for 2NE1 first album).

I don't think this is going to change any time soon. Take an artist like Perfume... they don't do any digital downloads at all, and they can easily sell 250k CDs in a week when they release a new album. Why change, when you can still make money the old-school way?
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Old Jan 20, 2012, 10:17 PM   #15
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I was also a bit surprised to find most of avex's artists not on the US iTunes store. seems only one left is koda kumi's 49th single. I would just go and create a new apple ID for iTunes japan, but it can be a hassle since it requires an address in japan. There are a few guides out there on sites that sell iTunes Japan gift cards that tell you how to go around the address requirement (which is basically using their business address in japan). this seems the only legit (or not) way to get j-pop in the digital form for the time being till they get it back in the US store. Only downfall, switching between the Japan/US iTunes store and logging in to each when ever you want to buy something.
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 03:52 AM   #16
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I have a bad feeling iTunes match is never going to come to Japan, along with iTunes in the Cloud, or allow their songs to be in store which has iTunes match and iTunes in the cloud.

Reason: Japanease Record Labels are very, very conservative about piracy.

Back in 2005, when iTunes store launched in Japan, many record labels in Japan was against iTunes store in general, due to very lax nature of FairPlay DRM. Before iTunes store was launched, all the music CD that were launched were encrypted with Copy Control, so when users puts in the disc into the PC, instead of Audio CD portion being played out, it goes straight to Data CD portion, and require users to authorize the computer to rip the songs to computer first. And the ripped files were encrypted with DRM, to be played on that computer only.

The worst offender of Copy Control CD was Sony, which actually charged users to rip the songs from CD if they do it the second and third and subsequent times.

Well, thanks to explosive adoption of iPod over there, and many users complaining that copy control CD actually damaging the disc drive on their stereos and computers (don't know how that happened, but there are actually stories regarding that), all record companies in Japan have switched back to regular audio CD. But more importantly, Apple kinda forced record companies to abandon the copy control discs, when they started asking record companies about joining iTunes store. Avex was the first one to say yes, and for them, it was kind of experiment to sell songs at lot lower price then the competition, as long as there was some form of DRM.

And rest is history. Except for the DRM part. Almost all record companies in Japan are still stuck in the stone age regarding copy control and wants DRM in their songs. And they believe that iTunes match and iTunes in the cloud actually encourages piracy. Until their attitude change in regards to DRM and piracy, Apple will never introduce iTunes match and iTunes in the cloud for music in Japan. (Unless Apple plays hardball, and threatens to shut down iTunes store completely unless record company comply with Apple requiring DRM free songs and allow use of iTunes match. All record companies in Japan who has contract with Apple for iTunes says that iTunes is their lifeline, since most of profits comes from iTunes)
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 04:20 AM   #17
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Alchemistmuffin - whatever the Japanese labels are doing, the problem is that the Japanese people seem to be happy to go with it. Internet record stalls (Amazon, Play etc.) over here have forced CD prices down, and the competition of digital downloads has done the same. Record companies know that if prices went up too much, people would start torrenting more.

Take two example albums. Perfume's 'JPN' and Coldplay's 'Mylo Xyloto'.

I'm not a massive Coldplay fan, but I like Perfume, and I just bought 'JPN'. I was surprised at the high cost so I checked to see if I was paying a lot just to export - but no, the album is expensive in Japan too.

Perfume 'JPN' - ¥2800 in Amazon Japan = £23.40
Coldplay 'Mylo Xyloto' - £8.99 in Amazon UK = ¥1076 (actually ¥1288 in Amazon jp)

The Yen is pretty strong against the pound, but still £23.40 is a very high price for a simple CD album... and this isn't an obscure artist - this is a #1 selling album. Probably a lot of fans decided to buy the DVD limited version too - which is £48!

Even older albums are crazy-expensive. Utada's 'Heart Station' is her last Japanese album from 2008 - but that's still selling for ¥2150 = £18!!

Some very new CDs in UK Amazon can reach £13 (¥1555) but maybe 90% are £8.99 or less. There's no way that a UK consumer would pay £18 for a 4 year old release.

So it seems that while Japanese record labels can continue to sell large quantities of CDs (>250k for Perfume in the first week) for high prices, they don't have any competition to worry about, and they don't have to make any changes!
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Old Jan 23, 2012, 10:20 AM   #18
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I almost completely forgot one thing:

Many record labels in Japan consider FairPlay DRM WAY TOO LAX.

In regards to DRM ripped songs from copy control CD, you couldn't burn it to audio CD, or even sync it to any mp3 player at all. So, in Sony's case, if you accidentally deleted the song, well, your f-ed, unless you pay around 300 yen, or about $3.50 per song, (my estimate based on exchange rate back in the day)

The fact that Apple even convinced the record labels to abandon the copy control CDs and sell their songs on iTunes store using FairPlay DRM back in the way, from Japanese American point of view, is something of a miracle in my opinion back in the day. Almost all record labels in Japan hated iTunes store when it was launched in US, not because of concept, but the DRM they were using, it proved that it was in fact reducing piracy to some extent. But even today, they still think FairPlay is not enough to combat piracy, and DRM free, in their minds, means encouraging piracy.

These record labels wouldn't budge and all Japanese people kinda were convinced that Copy Control CDs were here to stay, which means using unauthorized method was only way to rip to mp3 to be transferred to iPod.
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Old Feb 9, 2012, 11:16 AM   #19
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Regrettably, some MAX, Satomi, and Rin tracks are throwing errors when I try to upload them to iTunes Match, so when Apple's support people suggest that I re-download those purchases from the iTunes Store, I want scream because they are not available, and Apple has been unable to come up with any other suggestions on how to fix the issue with tracks throwing errors.
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Old Feb 13, 2012, 01:40 PM   #20
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That's a shame, back when I listened to J-Pop/Rock I would use US vouchers from eBay to get them through the US Store. Right now the UK Store selection sucks, for Ayumi they only have Guilty and Ayu-Mi-X 7

Also, just checking...how can they have more Gackt then L'arc en Ciel?!
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Old Feb 28, 2012, 02:47 PM   #21
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Breaking news today...

Perfume have just switched record label to Universal - and they're going to be releasing a new single soon, with a global release on iTunes!

http://www.tokyohive.com/2012/02/per...er-new-single/

They also just launched a global website: http://www.perfume-global.com/

And a new YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/Perfume

Their latest album JPN will be released on iTunes on March 6th (previously only available as a CD from Japan).

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Old Feb 28, 2012, 02:58 PM   #22
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Has iTunes Match launched over there?
Update: Match launched here a month or two ago and ayumi hamasaki songs are still available.
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Old Jul 21, 2012, 11:06 PM   #23
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Update: Match launched here a month or two ago and ayumi hamasaki songs are still available.
So Avex Trax management are just being a bunch of spoilsports then…. (open channel so not wanting to be profane; but this is really annoying).
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 02:54 PM   #24
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So Avex Trax management are just being a bunch of spoilsports then…. (open channel so not wanting to be profane; but this is really annoying).
They're gone now.
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Old Jul 22, 2012, 04:24 PM   #25
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They're gone now.
How one company can have acts I love and management I loath….
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