entertainment

Hikaru Utada advises fans not to buy her album

51 Comments

Japanese singer Hikaru Utada, 27, has advised fans not to buy her 16-track "Utada the Best" album, produced by Universal Japan, when it goes on sale Nov 24. She made the announcement via a Twitter message. The album is available for pre-order, but Utada said, “I don't want to make fans pay for this because my heart is not in this release.”

She added, “Anyone who wants to pre-order it, please hold off for now.”

A collection of singles will also be released on the same day from EMI studios, titled “Utada Hikaru Single Collection vol. 2.” Utada told fans that this release is the one she truly endorses, but added, “ I don't think it's a good thing that the production companies chose to release these albums on the same day.”

On Oct 25, she “tweeted” again, “I hate the idea of fans having to buy two similar products at the same time. So, the Hikaru collection gets my personal seal of approval.”

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she can sometimes be a little strange,,,although she is really a good singer, and i have many of her CDs

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Sounds like some people at Universal Japan made a mistake.

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...and rubbed her up the wrong way.

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Reverse psycology in marketing...brilliant

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She's lost her mind

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Lovely girl, id take her anytime over Ayumi, AKB48 or Koda Kumi.

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here here

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So, the Hikaru collection gets my personal seal of approval

"Eat that Universal. Meanwhile, I'm gonna get back into these Big Macs."

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I respect her for writing her own music, singing it, etc., instead of just being the usual Johnnies talentless hack. I also respect her English language ability and the fact that she lived overseas and has a wider perspective on things as a result.

I would have respected her even more if she said: "Please don't buy it -- my music should not be for profit. Download it for free!" haha. :)

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I don't listen to her, but she is one of the artists here who actually do more than show and sing through vocal pitch correction units. She has a lot of talent and seems strong and willful. Good for her to state her mind.

Just have to say. AKB48 scares me with their 30-40yr old guy fans all nuts over teenage girls. Ayumi deserves a lot of respect, though I don't like her music, she is clearly the Madonna of Japan.

Koda Kumi is a scary troll. I have no idea why anyone listens to her after her comments about women over 30. Creepy, scary creature.

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Good advice.

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mrskit, she is a good singer? Surely you jest (and I am calling you "surely"). By what standards is she any good? Her vocal range? Her attempts at sounding soulful?

Don't buy her album, she asks? Wow, that's a load off my mind.

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Something about this smells of "shut up girl, your record company now has a potential breach of contract claim against you because I'm sure there is a provision about promotion and not dissing your own crap."

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tweet, tweet, tweet.

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She said, "I'm not against the release of a hits album, but from a music industry point of view isn't this decision just senseless and rude?" She added that, as an artist, she wasn't prepared to just stay quiet and accept it.

From "japan-zone" i cant put the exact address...

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Aw, how cute, she thinks her opinion matters to the recording companies :)

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Sell your work, sell your soul.

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I've never been a huge fan, but she's not a bad singer. Good for her, speaking out. Whether it does any good doesn't matter, as the artist, she should have a say.

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Interesting. I'd like to see a follow-up on this; backlash, sales, fan's opinions.

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The labels are insane putting out two collections on the same day. Even more bizarre: nothing she recorded for Universal even came close to resembling a hit. She's right. It makes you wonder what the point is.

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yes bababooey,,,,i like her singing,,,,each to there own :D

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Go Hiki!!

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The "Utada" one included some of those horrible English songs like "Easy Breezy" ("your easy breezy and I'm Japaneezy...") No wonder she does not want more reminders of what some short-sighted promoter thought would work for a Japanese artist in the west. I totally love Hikki but "Easy Breezy" and "Come Back To Me" were two very bad songs. The English J-POP covers she did for "Kingdom Hearts" were much better.

I would love to see Hikaru Utada reboot in the west (under her full name) and with a better song selection. The west is ready for JPOP. Bring it on!

Michi from J1 Radio

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Lawyers gonna have a field day with this one.

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How many common folk people lost their shirt by producing this album. She is selfish and remains rich as a hog.

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horrible English songs like "Easy Breezy" ("your easy breezy and I'm Japaneezy..."

I know she was born in NYC and spent a long time there but all her English lyrics are really weak. No depth and overly literal as if they were written by someone with a somewhat limited knowledge of the language. As a result, I think she should stick to the Japanese market and not tick off a record company trying to sell her material.

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She is a kind of a lady I would love to marry. I am some how in love with Hikaru. I don't know why.

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This article is a little misleading. She's not really telling fans "not to buy her album," in the sense of "I made an album but I don't want you to buy it." Instead, she's telling fans that her old label is putting together a sloppy compilation of her two English albums with no new material, and releasing it on the same day her current label is releasing a hits CD that she oversaw and placed several new tracks on. It's a rather shady decision by her old label, and I think she's doing the right thing in telling fans the deal.

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I have always been in love with this lady, she's the perfect girl next door, smart, cute, a bit chubby etc etc. Hope i run into her on a plane or at an airport in the near future

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Thanks for the info. I guess I'm gonna have to buy this unrecommended album now.

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I think Malloy at 3:11 has it right. It is shady, and looks like Universal might even be trying to pick up some sales from any confusion among the punters. Never heard of a "best of" drawn from two albums before.

I've always kind of liked her, and consider her a big step up from most J-pop, but that song "Easy Breezy" is really a dreadful, cringe-inducing song. There has got to be some kind of story behind it. Never understood why she didn't just write English lyrics for "Automatic" and release that either, seems much simpler and with a much bigger chance for success (obviously).

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Who BUYS ALBUMS anymore?

You download the music and usually get it for free!

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Checked out this girls recent activity from jt. Aug: taking a break from music. Sep: doing a cm for the first time in 5 yrs. Oct: in dispute with production company over best of albums.

She's very busy for someone on break!!

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I know all of you thing Utada is a great singer, but if you could hear her without all the remixing and back-up singers you would really think differently. Go to one of her concerts and see for yourself, or download some music editing software and separate the tracks. You would be surprised at what you hear.

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@islandview:

Musicians need to make a living. The notion of downloading/sharing music "for free" when somebody spent time and effort to produce it just shows the shitty morals of our day and age—it is theft, nothing else. If you want it, pay for it. If you don't have the money, well... then you can't buy it.

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I think she is a great singer though... and I have respect for an artist such as Utada Hikaru just because she speaks up her mind. That's good... so Go HIKI!

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Musicians weren't paid snot for their music for centuries and it didn't make any difference :(

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Musicians weren't paid snot for their music for centuries and it didn't make any difference :(

You are naive - its not about just the singer making money. Today we have companies and many average paid JOBS supporting production; artists, mixers, producers, stage developers, branding, graphics, translations, writing, promotion, technology, sales staff etc. Just to name a few.

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Anyone want to know her First Love Boy Friend's name? He was my student.

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Obsolete industries disappear all the time. Why is music such a big deal?

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I see her motives but that's a first: an artist that doesn't want to sell. Eliminate the improbabilities and you'll get to the truth.

Junnama: I approve of obsolete industries disappearing, given time they will. I hope you did not imply that music is obsolete.

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@Junnama at 11:11 AM JST - 29th October "Aw, how cute, she thinks her opinion matters to the recording companies :)"

Hahaha thats funny

@michichan at 02:00 PM JST - 29th October "I would love to see Hikaru Utada reboot in the west (under her full name) and with a better song selection. The west is ready for JPOP. Bring it on! "

Really??? Just from observations, it seems that its time has come and gone in the US. It had a better chance when anime was a lot more popular in the US. I also think she would get completely crushed by the competition if she tried to get in now.

@islandview at 04:36 PM JST - 29th October "Who BUYS ALBUMS anymore? You download the music and usually get it for free!"

agreed

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Got nothing but respect for the girl. Many fans may have not realized the deal. She will get some flack from the record co though. In English, as a vocalist myself, the way she sings is different from Japanese. Not just the obvious resons like language but the way pitch is used and the strain put on the voice of young girls (and older) to try to sound "young" and girlish. Her English productions were not good from many aspects and they did not know how to fit her into the North American market as she does not stand out. Competition here is tougher. In Japan, the record companies still "brand" like the old days and pretty much tell listeners who is good. People don't buy much that is not famous or accepted by everyone else. (Of couse there are always a few exceptions).

You music thieves......I understand it. Music is everywhere you go so why pay? It's on the elevator,at the doctor's office, the club...the grocery store...etc,etc. So why pay? That artist is rich blah blah blah. 99% of artists will never be rich and the reason why is they can't get enough money. as a fan you want them to tour and to sell product and make new product etc. Well they can't if they never sell. Music is cheap on Amazon/emusic/itunes etc. At least give your favorite new artists a chance. why contribute to a whole industry of people losing jobs? if it was you or your family you would think differently. It is one thing to borrow a cd that someone paid for...an artist may gain a new fan. But to purposefully never pay is shallow. At least Utada was helping fans not waste money.

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I know all of you thing Utada is a great singer, but if you could hear her without all the remixing and back-up singers you would really think differently. Go to one of her concerts and see for yourself, or download some music editing software and separate the tracks. You would be surprised at what you hear.

I have to agree. I have worked in many studios back in the states and I say for sure without a doubt, if Utada sings raw, her voice would probably shatter crystal! There are musicians out there that can sing dry. At best her singing range is decent, not even average. As a person who has worked for 20 years in the industry, a voice like that, I would be sure NOT to put her on shows like SNL. Not unless you want another Milli Vanilli scandal. To be fair, I love Duran Duran, but the lead singer Simon LeBon when you hear him dry, unedited cannot sing and I like the band. Then you have Celine Dion. I can't stand the woman-period!!! But the woman can sing, there is not doubt about it. Utada can't come even close. So some people naturally have a beautiful voice with or without music, others don't.

You music thieves......I understand it. Music is everywhere you go so why pay? It's on the elevator,at the doctor's office, the club...the grocery store...etc,etc. So why pay? That artist is rich blah blah blah. 99% of artists will never be rich and the reason why is they can't get enough money. as a fan you want them to tour and to sell product and make new product etc. Well they can't if they never sell. Music is cheap on Amazon/emusic/itunes etc. At least give your favorite new artists a chance. why contribute to a whole industry of people losing jobs? if it was you or your family you would think differently. It is one thing to borrow a cd that someone paid for...an artist may gain a new fan. But to purposefully never pay is shallow. At least Utada was helping fans not waste money.

There are reasons why many people download, on one hand you can all it thievery on the other hand, you have to face reality downloading is here to stay. It is convenient and in these economic times, there are people that either don't have a credit card they they need to make online purchases or how about when you buy a CD and out of 12 songs only 2 are good, but the rest suck. Also often you can find certain songs, rarities or compilations that maybe difficult to find. Living in Japan, I have to admit itunes suck, but I can't download from the US site, I would love to pay for many songs or TV programs, but can't. So the other alternative is to download. One problem with Japanese artists is that they usually come out with sometimes 3,4 or more albums in a year. Quantity of music sales trumps musical quality. Yes, Utada doesn't fall in that category, but at best, she does fall under the mediocre category.

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her music is bad now.

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Purchasing and downloading is one thing, downloading "free" is another. How do you expect the recording artists to make a living? So keep downloading the P2P stuff and watch all the bands and musicians and music go away.

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how about when you buy a CD and out of 12 songs only 2 are good

Where's the problem in paying for just the 2 you want on iTunes?

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Bass4..I see your point. I can't use amazon when I am in Tokyo without a proxy. I used itunes with no problem though and I use emusic.There are a ton of other sites. I say to those who are broke as i know the feeling...pay what you can when you can. But to never have the intention of paying....that just doesn't sit right.Hell even if you rent something from Tsutaya..the more popular something is, the more they actually have to buy and licence the original material to have enough copies. There are certain cd's that are always rented and the store bought several copies. japanese artists like Utada (but maybe not her in particular) even have deals with rental shops like Tsutaya. But I feel that as a creative person what goes around comes around. that is why i try to contribute to the music world. I have a sister who downloads. i give her crap but everytime her favorites are on tour she is the first one to buy front row and t-shirts at least.

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Respect.

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I heard celine (or was it whitney?) sing with a very famous opera singer - her voice was utterly straining - he didn't need amplification and she was struggling to hit the same volume WITH amplification...but not everyone's an opera fan.

Kudos to Utada for speaking her mind - but I'm sure the public favoring of one contractual label over another (especially telling fans NOT to buy a particular label) is contractual suicide - if she's lucky. If she's REALLY unlucky - Universal Japan's gonna sue her.

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Well in retrospect releasing best of albums isn't anything new in Japan. In addition to collaborations which are far more common here then let's say in the west. I kinda like the idea and wish more artists stateside would do that. Although that can be overdone as well no doubt. Koda Kumi is a another artist which releases get recycled far to much. Not saying some aren't good like "Best Second Session," which I love and was one of the best selling compilations that year. Although I can understand where artists like Utada would get a bit annoyed by all this. If you aren't releasing any new material which hasn't already been released previously then what's the point? She said it's tacky not to mention disrespectful which I of coarse agree. She does not want her fans to have to pay for something unnecessarily which her heart wasn't into. Us fans so respect that and it is about time someone stick up to record labels which get away with this far to often.

I agree about the point of committing contractual suicide though. Most artists would just keep quiet for fear of this. Universal Japan is not who she, adjectives aside should be upsetting here. This might explain Utada sudden hiatus and departure from the music industry, at least for now. If Universal Japan does drop her she can always go to Avex. Though likely not much better there either in this respect. Utada stated she has yet to grow up and says she needs to do so as a "person" rather than then as a "musician." She thanked fans and the staff at her EMI label for their ongoing support and asked for their patience and understanding. I don't think it's Utada that has as much growing up to do as it is her record labels lol. It's about time though she take a break!! It's not like she doesn't deserve it no doubt lol. In closing I hope this isn't the last we see of Utada. That would make me very very sad! :( We support you Utada get rested up and come back better then ever. ^_^

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