entertainment

Japanese music and vocaloid content disappears as YouTube rolls out new paid service

27 Comments
By Jamie Koide, RocketNews24

Japanese and overseas communities have reacted to YouTube disabling U.S. access to content, as Google pressures Japanese labels and rights-holders to sign up for paid service YouTube Red.

In Japan, where copyright laws are much stricter than those of many other countries, it’s not uncommon for new music releases to only get partial airplay on the radio or a short promotional video as a means to prevent piracy. Marketing methods like these, along with including special CD-only merchandise or perks, have contributed to CD sales still making up the majority of Japan’s total music sales, despite the format slowly becoming obsolete worldwide. No doubt this is one reason why the country got off to a much slower start when it came to embracing free online streaming sites, such as YouTube, and capitalizing on the global market the way K-pop set out to do.

But just when it felt like more and more Japanese companies were finally jumping on the YouTube bandwagon, the video-sharing behemoth decided to roll out YouTube Red, a premium, ad-free subscription service that includes the ability to view videos offline or download them to your mobile device for up to 30 days.

Although YouTube claims that they have 99% of creators on board with the new subscription-based system, unfortunately a large number of Japanese labels are part of the one percent that has yet to sign on, and as a result their content is now unavailable to American fans—a development with came as quite a blow to fans of Japanese music in the U.S.

While fans have the option of choosing whether they would like to keep watching free videos with ads or upgrade to a more optimized viewing experience, if creators want to keep making revenue from their content, they have no choice but to agree to the new YouTube Red system.

Some labels have yet to respond to YouTube’s requests, and until they sign on, their content has been region-locked from American viewers.

Here’s an incomplete list of labels that have yet to agree to YouTube Red’s terms:

Currently Blocked

Nippon Columbia (J-pop, rock artists) Sony Music Japan (J-pop, rock, visual kei artists) AKS (AKB48 and sister groups except NMB48) Up-Front/zetima (Hello!Project groups) Pony Canyon (male and female idol groups, J-pop artists) P-Vine (J-pop, blues, jazz, and punk artists) Teichiku (Japanese enka, kayokyoku artists) Danger Crue (J-rock, visual kei artists) Stardust (J-pop artists, including Momoiro Clover Z) Dreamusic (J-pop artists) Zankyo Record (J-pop, rock, and jazz artists) Dir en grey (and possibly other bands managed by Free Will)

Currently Available

Avex (J-pop, rock artists) Universal Music Japan TOY’S FACTORY (Idols and J-pop artists, including BABYMETAL) A-Sketch (J-rock artists, including ONE OK ROCK) HIP LAND MUSIC (most artists)

This is problematic for Japan, since offering offline viewing and downloading capabilities isn’t something that Japanese streaming services are familiar with, and it makes it harder for Japanese companies to monitor when, where, and how content is being used in accordance to Japanese copyright laws.

Unfortunately it not only affects labels that create content, but also labels without license rights, such as Sega’s Hatsune Miku Channel, which posts Vocaloid music owned by Incstoenter.

But unlike regular music content, the Vocaloid community thrives mostly on user-created content made from Vocaloid software, and a number of U.S.-based Vocaloid content creators are also suffering as a result. Many fans say they now plan to move over to Niconico Douga, Japan’s leading video-sharing site, to get their Vocaloid fix, but for creators this could seriously damage their viewership numbers.

Recently the Japanese Vocaloid community caught wind of the issue, and many of their reactions have been less than sympathetic.

“Isn’t this good news for Japan?” “This is great opportunity for Niconico to get more popular in America.” “What’s the big deal? They should just move to another platform.” “This is all the work of other Asian countries that are anti-Japan. They’re trying to get Japanese culture content removed.” “I hope they block more and more anime. They should put a stop to illegal streaming. If they want to see it, they should pay for it.”

Because copyright policies are so strict in Japan, it may just be a matter of waiting for labels to sort through YouTube Red’s new agreement before content is restored, like with Victor Entertainment. Still, considering how most Japanese labels are reluctant to sign other similar services such as Spotify, there’s a chance that many will not.

For the time being, since YouTube Red is only available in the U.S., and therefore only affects American users, Google has plans to expand the service to other international markets from 2016. At that point, only time will tell whether Japanese music-related content will still be available in your country or not.

Source: Yurukuyaru

Read more stories from RocketNews24. -- Hatsune Miku appears with J-pop legend Namie Amuro in new music video -- Super Mario Maker level recreates intense Vocaloid hit with carefully positioned music blocks -- Looking for some new Japanese music? Virtual boy band Eight of Triangle is about to blow up

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27 Comments
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Seems, as usual US companies have put the cart before the horse by blocking or restricting content to regional, there are thriving Japanese diaspora that will promote alternative Japanese sites, not just in the US. Japanese music amature makers will find a way, be it by pushing NicoNico in to the global scean and therefore Japanese music. Vocaloid producers caught up in the mess will benifit from YouTubes heavy handed attitude while YouTube will suffer in its monitoring persut.

-5 ( +5 / -10 )

wildwestDEC. 05, 2015 - 07:32AM JST Seems, as usual US companies have put the cart before the horse by blocking or restricting content to regional, there are thriving Japanese diaspora that will promote alternative Japanese sites, not just in the US. Japanese music amature makers will find a way, be it by pushing NicoNico in to the global scean and therefore Japanese music. Vocaloid producers caught up in the mess will benifit from YouTubes heavy handed attitude while YouTube will suffer in its monitoring persut.

I disagree. Japanese music publishers are far more greedy than any other in the world and control over customers access comes second to making their artists music more accessible.

9 ( +12 / -3 )

In Japan, where copyright laws are much stricter than those of many other countries

Who'd a thought it, eh?

7 ( +8 / -1 )

I have had issues with YouTube in the past. I was making my own music and taking my own photos and making video music slide shows out of them. Twice YT wrote me and told me I was copying other people's work and thus breaking copyright laws. Bull Dinky! It was all my own work. So, I gave up, pulled all my work, and gave up my 5 million views and a ton of fans. Quite upsetting that YT would do such a thing.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

One of my videos from a trip to Amanohashidate has been blocked in the US because of some footage that contains a AKB48 track that was playing whist I was on the cablelift.... That's pretty annoying.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Youtube should post a video witnessing its own end.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

@Kariharuka

I hear ya, I always find it annoying when I am subjected to AKB48 music in public.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Looking at the above list of blocked content, I can't say I really care. They can block all the manga, AKB and music they like. I don't feel like I'm missing out on anything.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

wildwest: "Seems, as usual US companies have put the cart before the horse by blocking or restricting content to regional, there are thriving Japanese diaspora that will promote alternative Japanese sites, not just in the US. "

You must not have been here very long. The US is not the first to do this, and are largely doing it in response. Japan has been far more protectionist for a far longer time. If you don't believe me, try buying something from an Amazon that is not Japan to have shipped in. Even books you now have to wait a few years for them to come to Japan, at a markup of more than double, to buy from Amazon Japan, and cable stations here play old content, movies come late, etc. etc.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

That's interesting stuff. I'm concerned how this will affect us viewers here in Japan when YouTube Red goes global. Are we still going to be able to access content or will free users get little or nothing? There won't be much reason to visit YouTube at all in the latter case.

I do know I'm not paying to watch stuff there regardless. Strange how a free service that generates money already has to add another layer of gatekeeping so the owners can make still MORE money. But that's the game we play these days. I don't begrudge anyone a profit-- especially not the musicians and songwriters themselves because they're the ones creating the things we love and SHOULD be the ones making the most money off it-- but there was a time when we didn't have YouTube at all and life was just as good, just as sweet.

And like some of the posters above, the copyright issues have already caused me a little amusement, too. I recently posted a short video of some action at an amusement park and within an hour I had a notice the copyright holders for the music playing in the park had "monetized" my video and people in Germany wouldn't be able to watch it. And this was for a short snip of music I had little control over-- although I suppose I could have pasted over the ambient sound with public domain music or something.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

This is problematic for Japan, since offering offline viewing and downloading capabilities isn’t something that Japanese streaming services are familiar with, and it makes it harder for Japanese companies to monitor when, where, and how content is being used in accordance to Japanese copyright laws.

Greed greed greed is what labels and producers are most familiar with. They could easily set up a system for this but, they instead are more concerned about making sure they reap 95% of the profits.

Do NOT make the mistake in thinking that Japanese copyright laws are strict to protect the artist in any way. It's because Labels and producers here are basically the WORST.

6 ( +9 / -3 )

content is now unavailable to American fans—a development with came as quite a blow to fans of Japanese music in the U.S.

No biggy. Aint' that many fans of japanese music anyways.

1 ( +7 / -6 )

Just wait till TPP and all its even stricter copyright "protections" gets implemented.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

YouTube under Google has been a disaster for many. People that worked on their accounts for years had their channels shut down, losing many friends and emails in the process. Many of them were my friends and became bitter over the heavy handed Google controlled YouTube. Before Google took over, YouTube was like a paradise.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

YT doesn't own the content, if JP labels allowed people to listen to it then who is YT to say otherwise. I think JP labels could sue YT

1 ( +1 / -0 )

...people do realize all it takes is a simple plugin to download content from Youtube right? ..and that if people cant get it at youtube they will just go elsewhere a la daily motion or veoh?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

So like I just went to YouTube to see if this was true and was able to access everything lol

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Youtube is yet to turn a profit. Ever.

The issue seems to be that, unlike the other major music labels, the Japanese music labels are dragging their feet to sign on with Youtube Red.

To the Youtube viewers, it wouldn't make a lick of difference. They could still view the videos for free after the music labels sign on with YT Red.

The music labels just need to sign on, then everything will be back to normal.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

This one could really backfire. Especially if music fans revolt with their money.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

@yutaka

Listen, person, the fact you don't like manga and vocaloid music is your problem, not mine. There is absolutely no reason for you to post that comment. It makes you come of as one of those nice people who want nobody to be able to watch something because they don't like it. I for one like vocaloid music and anime and stuff (Otaku here) and so do all my friends. Anime conventions here in the Netherlands are almost every months, all have 1500 or more attendees and the biggest one has 8000 unique visitors every year. In a country with half the population of Tokyo metropolitan area.

And to think that here it's (otaku culture) "small" compared to other European countries and the USA. Small still means about 10 yearly huge conventions, two or three cosplay meetings per week, a permanenly open manga library, five clubs, dozen or so yearly smaller events, a wildly popular magazine running for 10 years now, and an internet forum with 25.000 users.

So a lot of people, probably about a million in total , are affected by this. It's also sad for vocaloid creators who work their ass of and now have their platform taken from them in a scheme designed to extort big companies out of their money. These people are passionate and often make great songs (look up the evilicious series for example, awesome!) and now have less of a platform for no reason.

The fact that you don't like does not interest any of us otaku one bit and is totally irrelevant to the issue at hand. Please stop trying to sound like a stupid hater who doesn´t want other people to have hobbies. Thank you!

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

Ahh, here it comes. When Google purchased YouTube for $1.2 Billion in Google stock, I wondered when the behemoth was going to turn the screws and recoup their money. Enter "YouTube Red" - red representing the blood squeezed out of their users.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Youtube has gotten worse. Niconico and Dailymotion are becoming better alternatives lately.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Youtube changed their rules months ago for small content providers, because they wanted to run ads. Many vid-casters left over that, even when their content was 100% self-made. Video-gamers posting guide were hit very hard too by "Content-ID."

Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc posted to their blog. It reads,

“We at Oddworld Inhabitants, Inc. would like to reassure YouTubers that we continue to give our explicit permission to anyone on the service to broadcast using Oddworld games, including Abe’s Oddysee, Abe’s Exoddus, Munch’s Oddysee, Stranger’s Wrath, and the upcoming New ‘n’ Tasty (and any updated, HD versions).This includes Let’s Plays, commercial trailers, and screen shots.

Other game creation studies have followed.

Seems to hurt the people trying to make a living out of youtube videos through pure viewer counts, not smaller people like me posting how-to guides or conference recordings as a separate service to clients i.e. ZERO monetization from youtube.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Youtube gets to decide how to fund the server farms and transport they are using to broadcast the content, and what to broadcast for free or for pay. Depending on variation of protectionist | socialist | capitalist local laws.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

In any case, this is just par for the course for Youtube. It was ruined by Vevo years ago & is only getting worse. Mix that in with Japan's archaic, insular & greedy music industry and fans won't get a thing. They know their 75%-of-sales-are-CDs business' days are numbered.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

>igloobuyer I disagree. Japanese music publishers are far more greedy than any other in the world and control over customers access comes second to making their artists music more accessible. Sorry I dont understand your objection to my comment. Using my comment to promote your own ideas is lowbrow. Where do I say anything about JP greed or control? YT is an established source that is changing its rules, not the JP operators. JP operators is not the issue here.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Irrelevant to the vast majority, and it will only hurt the chance for this "music" to make it into international circles. People who truly care about this will have ways to dodge the region blocking.

Meanwhile Japanese media companies can enjoy their last decade of existence before the parents of the current fans pass away, leaving them starving without an income in their dilapidated houses.

Oh well. Perhaps it's the dawn for independent Japanese artists.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

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