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Music streaming business targets CD-crazy Japanese

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I personally think one thing that could hurt physical CD sales in Japan is the constant rumor that Apple is working on a new, much higher quality version of the Apple Lossless format, with sound quality equivalent of the 24-bit 96 kHz sampling rate of sound tracks used on Blu-ray video discs. If Apple starts releasing such high quality music on the iTunes Store for newer iOS devices (anything that uses the A6 or newer system on a chip CPU), it would be a major leap up in sound quality and could entice a lot of people now buying physical media to switch over to digital downloads.

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i haven't seen ever a single japanese person with a cd player. i have seen lots and lots of japanese with earphones connected to cell phone or other digital player. maybe they buy cd, rip to digital file and copy wherever they like.

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Raymond, in general I think that people that don't care for digital format now is not going to change because a new digital format comes up to the market. People buys physical media because they like to own it, with online downloads you just pay for data. Besides, that's already old news, they want to get us into the new system or pay-per-listen. But streaming music is going to eat fast the bandwidth limit everyone has these days on their iphone plan.

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But streaming music is going to eat fast the bandwidth limit everyone has these days on their iphone plan.

This, the bandwidth limit is a huge issue and a big obstacle for streaming services here.

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Let's face it, Japanese are not particularly tech-savy and they don't trust something they can't physically see and hold in their hand. Even today, a lot of even young Japanese are afraid of spending money in the cloud.

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Japanese are not particularly tech-savy

I absolutely agree with you. Never ceases to amaze me.

10 ( +11 / -1 )

Like I have been saying for AGES! Japanese are good at making PARTS for stuff but are not so big on actually using high tech products that are made

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Line users are young, I think this service will work

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They announced this on a morning TV show last week, and then 5 minutes later reported that due to the influx of users from that announcement, the Line Music server had crashed. Not a great start!

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seriously why anybody would want to buy CDs nowdays is beyond me. on one SD card i can store hundreds of CDs. this is just more proof of Japanese being afraid not wanting to change with the times.

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People buy CDs because they want to permanently own the music, not rent it. Having a CD means you can put it on whatever player you have at any given time.

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I've slowly been transitioning from CDs to digital download only. CDs are still good because all one needs to do is buy it and make a copy to a PC or any other HDD and I can redistribute it to all of my other devices. No internet connection required.

I have been buying a lot of albums from Amazon Music though, and as long as I purchased the album I have unlimited DLs. Plus for the CD, you always own it as long as it doesn't get damaged and can copy it once and leave it on the shelf forever. Heck, back in the early 2000s I even had a Mini Disc player/recorder lol. But MP3s and digital music totally wiped that out.

Online digital DL music you have to have an online account. Some Japanese songs I've wanted to buy but can't because my Amazon music account (US) comes up empty if I type in a Japanese artist or title or some really obscure title that they just don't carry or hasn't been digitized or licensed for sale by them.

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I guess when you have a collecting culture its understandable. How do you show off your collection of say Beatles music when all you have are files sitting on your PC. Secondly you are no different from anyone else however if you have original vinyl and CDs with coloured or limited edition sleeves you can see the appeal. Its may not be economical or efficient but collecting never really is.

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The whole Internet experience in Japan feels at least 10 years old. Even the look and feel of sites is dated.

Coupled with the preference for physical cash and tangible consumer goods, as well as some restrictive copyright rules, it is hard for formats to change.

Dating that, I quite like browsing CD spa and like the permanence of the format!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Buying a CD, opening it up, reading the liner notes is all a part of the experience. I drive, have a CD player in the car so stick to CDs. Even downloading music and burning it on a CD.

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Whenever I go to Japan I always end up going to TowerRecords to buy CDs. I love the experience of buying it, unwrapping it, trying not to damage anything (those CDs can be quite expensive), and going through the content while listening to the music. I love the suspense. On one hand it is great that over the Internet you can buy any music you desire, on the other hand physically buying CDs either in Japan or from one of many Internet music shops makes the whole experience special.

I don't remember the last time I bought a cd of an artist from the 'west'. Their CDs are just a CDs .. when you buy Japanese or Korean music CDs there is always something extra, a nice photo book, a photo card, I even found an air freshener. The record companies make an effort to lure the music fans into buying something that is physical rather than virtual and I am grateful for that.

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world’s second-largest music market

Only because Japanese sales are CD based sales which are much more expensive than digital downloading. In the meanwhile rest of the world has moved on, and they depend most of their sales on digital downloads.

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wtfjapanJUN. 15, 2015 - 11:54AM JST seriously why anybody would want to buy CDs nowdays is beyond me. on one SD card i can store hundreds of CDs. this is just more proof of Japanese being afraid not wanting to change with the times.

Why do you believe this? There is nothing remarkable about even Apple's "lossless" format for downloads. And since sources for Apple's downloads may not be remastered, you aren't guaranteed of finding a digitized copy of something that has any better fidelity than the CD version. And unless every bit music you own is cloud protected, which requires paying Apple a fee for sufficient storage space, a catastrophic crash of your phone, iPod or home computer can wipe out your collection. Further, it doesn't matter to Apple that they have record of you buying the download(s) from the Apple Store as you'll just have to pay for the replacement.

DaDudeJUN. 15, 2015 - 01:18PM JST Buying a CD, opening it up, reading the liner notes is all a part of the experience.

Don't know how old you are, but it was a positively a rapturous experience with LPs as you could actually read all the details without a magnifying glass and the album art was often something special. Know a number of people who have been buying vinyl for years now specifically for that since most include a download code so that you can have a portable copy as well.

I drive, have a CD player in the car so stick to CDs. Even downloading music and burning it on a CD.

Okay, you crossed the line there. ; )

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the majority of pirated albums are not even distributed with artwork, or anything more than a low quality thumbnail of the front cover. you'll generally see this when consumers are buying them digitally too. you may get a medium to high quality cover and some services give you a choice between various compression formats, but in most cases it is not a complete collection of artwork, and not how the artist intended you to experience the album.

when i pull a CD off of my shelf, i remember where i bought it from, other various details of acquisition such as saving my lunch money for a week just to afford it, how long ago it was, and what it felt like to rip the cellophane off and pop it into the CD player for the first time. i remember thumbing through the artwork, being either amused or baffled by it at times, and reading the lyrics sheet as the song plays trying to extrapolate the message it was conveying. i have special memories such as buying all the music of the artist whose music i pirated and subsequently fell in love with, and opening the inlay to read the artist's actual handwriting explaining the conception of this entirely instrumental experimental album i love, even explaining what hardware he used and revealing it was made entirely in his bedroom during a weekend. tiny details like that actually changed the entire way i experienced the album and would have been lost to me if i'd never actually bought it; even so if i had decided to buy it digitally.

i have to ask dominantly digital music consumers: do you still think of music as art, or is it just another mindless distraction? are you paying $2 for that album to hear a message, to gather an experience, or is it just white noise?

i think we are not meant to break down, rip apart and destroy the standard experience of an album, divvying out partial ownership to a compressed copy of the original. this practice is dangerous to the concept of music as an artform, and is badly damaging the music business for collectors. vinyl collectors already have a hard time buying modern music on vinyl, as it's always marked up as an expensive "collector's edition." i'll be furious the day that digital download partial ownership practices are not only dominant but considered normal and i can't buy a physical compact disc anymore without paying a baseless fee for it; the CD version being considered an "audiophile's collector's edition." i'm determined to not let it come to that by voting with my wallet. vinyl was once king, now CDs are king. digital ownership is still barely an apprentice and not yet worthy of taking the throne.

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the end result is that the Japanese market supports artists better than other markets because the CDs are not sold at a bottom dollar or penny. Corporations won't listen to Japanese customers and their preferences and I hope people will stick to their habits

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sf2kJUN. 16, 2015 - 02:33AM JST the end result is that the Japanese market supports artists better than other markets

More so in than in the U.S., the market for music in Japan is completely fabricated by the music companies, but I digress.

because the CDs are not sold at a bottom dollar or penny. Corporations won't listen to Japanese customers and their preferences and I hope people will stick to their habits

Don't know what Apple charges per track in Japan, but in the U.S. $.99 - $1.29 is typical. Figure $14.00 for a CD, even from Amazon, and downloads cost more, unless Apple is running a special on the full album, but you don't, of course, get a physical copy or anything that goes with it.

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Why not just listen to internet radio? Thousands of stations to choose from, all free.

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I buy my favourite music which happens to be PASSPO and Palet and a load of other great JPOP and JROCK on CD and always go for the CD+DVD deluxe editions because they are beautifull things to have as well as listen to, and watch, I'm a music fan not a music consumer. I live in Australia and purchase from cdjapan and hmvonline, digital is for the casual consumers who don't appreciate the whole package, the experience of a new CD from your favourite artist .... it's the facebook "like" version of listening to music.

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the end result is that the Japanese market supports artists better than other markets because the CDs are not sold at a bottom dollar or penny.

CDs in Japan are maintained at high price artificially by cartel not by free market; stores aren't even allowed to give deep discounts. Also, most of that CD money don't go to the artists anyways but goes to the record labels and agencies. Artists make their money off concerts and live performances.

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Every person has different perspective! I still listen to CDs because I just can't trow them away. I still buy CDs because I find great deals on old music I love at a second hand stores. And actually I have NAS and MP3 library but j can't find the time to make everything in flac and software is still not perfect so either I have to buy new AV amp (don't want to part with my vintage amp) or music streamer.

And average Japanese (my wife for example) couldn't care less for the quality or for the CD. She wants me to get rid of CDs but she listens all here music via YouTube on a PC speakers depending on the mood. I believe this is very big part in the declining profits.

In the same time we've seen new performers and went to concerts, etc. so it is a good thing!

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I buy music when the spirit moves me, either in digital or CD form depending on what is available and how desirous I am to have the physical object for that particular artist or work. But somehow I can't work up any enthusiasm whatsoever for a streaming service. I guess because I already have enough monthly bills and I just want to listen to music when I'm in the mood, not because I feel like I have to in order to get my money's worth from the monthly fee.

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All of my physical CDs are in the US. As someone who has frequently moved in the last 10 years, I HATE piling up collections of physical objects that are easily digitized. I'd really like to ship my library back to the States as well but most of my books aren't available as PDFs or e-books yet so I can't replace them.

My music collection of 20,000+ songs exists on my external hard drive and on my iPod. I predominantly use music as background noise while I drive (via my iPod and an auxiliary cable). If I'm doing some computer programming work, I stream music, typically Youtube mixes of drum&bass/EDM/trance.

I pretty much only spend money on music when I go to concerts, which is rare, since most of the black metal/death metal bands I listen to don't come to Japan at all, let alone the area I'm in.

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