SanyuteiEntyoZensyu (Japanese Edition)
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The percentage of internet users has been higher in Japan than the US since at least I'm not sure where this idea comes from that "most" households don't have computers. Perhaps it's based on some outdated information and then people forget the world changes, everywhere. Everyone has a phone though, so piracy or buying a digital album wouldn't exactly be difficult.
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As someone else had pointed out in the thread, a lot of domestic Japanese music labels simply do not make available their albums for digital sales. This makes buying a digital album a bit difficult. This may be different for, say, buying American songs being available on iTunes, but a majority of their music market listens to domestic music. Your point about piracy is true.
It's pretty much illegal anywhere and everywhere these days, but anyone that wants something is still going to do it. Back in my day no song was available digitally, yet we still managed to download music through Napster. My wife's family has a laptop, but it sits in a drawer. My 27 year-old brother-in-law has no interest in computers.
I've probably downloaded hundreds of gigs worth of stuff since coming here. They don't care about piracy except on paper to look good to America. I think this has happened maybe once since the new laws passed, and that was just to keep up appearances.
The Japanese Version
Piracy is looked down upon like anywhere else but iirc japanese, unlike most of the world, mostly buy physical media. How does this regulation work for digital music? Can I go on Amazon. As far as I'm aware the laws only apply for physical medium, and hasn't "caught up" to digital sales yet. However because the culture of price fixing is already there, their digital sales are costly as well. The average cost of an iTunes song in Japan is higher than other places in the world.
I've read that the average is yen. Furthermore a lot of Japanese music simply isn't made available to be purchase legally online. One more thing to mention is that they've got a lot of "goodies" in place to discourage digital sales. But why would the artists care? Do they get money from the japanese government for that? Because it looks like the artists would still get their money no matter where the release is from. Not every consumer imports his music.
They simply will reach more fans and even get known by more it is overall the better decision if they want to grow their fanbase. CDs are extremely expensive in Japan, to the point where it's cheaper for a Japanese person to import an album from America or Europe. Japanese labels and publishers will therefore try to add something extra to the Japanese version to discourage people from going that route.
I don't think they can. There are laws in Japan regulating prices for things like books and CDs. Selling them below the mandated price is illegal. It does nothing to enhance competitiveness. Not only are you reducing competition between different retail outlets, but you also make your domestic products less competitive against foreign products, thus the imports. Stability, perhaps, but whoever wrote that either doesn't know the meaning of "competitiveness" or is deliberately doublespeaking.
No, it shifts the competition to what kind of additional value the retailers can provide.
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If it's the same price at your store as it is everywhere else, then why should I buy it at your store? Do you have a better atmosphere? Friendlier or more knowledgeable staff? Will I have to stand in line to check out? What else can I purchase while I'm there? Personally, I'm way more interested in THAT kind of stuff being the winning strategies to succeed in that kind of market. It's similar to what grocery stores do here in America, it's wasteful, and it's why more people are going to no-frills, low-cost places.
You say that but since a significant amount of people in Japan import anyway it seems the trade-off isn't worth it to many. Bottom line is for most shopping you go to the place that sells you what you need at the lowest price. Price floors should really only be used in emergencies to be honest. What's the problem with allowing stores to compete by lowering prices to generate business this like macroeconomics If you've ever bought a Japanese CD you'll find they have many incentives designed to win purchases.
AKB48 and its sister groups have a minimum of 4 versions of each single. Each single contains the main track as well as minimum 1 b-side. Consider now there might be a fan club edition with a special track, a special Family Mart alternate cover, a bonus track only available from the version bought from mu-mo shop etc and each single ranges in price from JPY to JPY. Collectors will buy them, most fans will just buy the "most complete" version and casual fans will rent it so there is an obvious motivation to release as many versions as possible. It protects mom and pop stores from big retailers.
This prevents a big chain retailer from undercutting small stores until they're forced to go out of business, only to bump prices back up now that they have no competition. That's a whole other thing, though. It a very important difference. But if the price is fixed to a lowest price, isn't the consumer loosing out on further possible discounts?
It makes sense to regulate pricing on necessities. These regulations are different, because they are designed to protect the consumer from artificially high prices or gouging. I think it's absurd to regulate luxury items in the opposite direction because it only pushes them further out of reach of the lower classes. Free markets aren't all evil. We can leverage them to our advantage. Firstly, digital and illegal downloading isn't really a thing in Japan.
Many of the big publishers have not made their catalogs available on digital services. Japanese media companies actually succeeded at what made American media companies into villains: So Japanese have no way to get their favorite music except from physical media. Secondly, music publishers participate in price-fixing. The price for the music is printed right on the packaging, and you don't have big stores trying to sell at a discount e. Best Buy, Wal mart , because they would lose the business of the publishers. Lastly, the market is inflated with special editions.
A big part of Japan's music sales comes from obsessive fans of boy bands and idol groups and such that have to buy every single version of a CD single that comes out.
So you end up with prices that are high because of lack of competition and high demand. Sure - they often sell blank CDs 15 years ago it was minidiscs right there near the checkout counter. This seems like the logical answer. I used to rip everything Netflix sent me back when they mailed DVDs instead of the streaming thing. I really wish VAP would put their signed bands on Spotify. I've always wondered why they haven't. On the other hand used cds, books these aren't so expensive even if new , games, movies cost basically nothing.
Usually in perfectly good shape too. A new cd might be yen, two years later it's maybe yen. A new regular comic book is around yen, used ones yen. I once worked for a label and it always seemed like they were chasing the short term 'gain' rather than focusing on the bigger picture. There are still a lot of executives who lived and worked through the high-rolling industry of the 90's before it started to collapse in the '00s I'm enjoying watching the industry adapt now as younger people who never experienced that now have their chance to revolutionise a stale, dying business.
I remember reading before that regular non-japanese versions of albums sold for next to nothing in markets in Japan, making the artists virtually no money. So the idea of adding a bonus tracks was introduced to encourage japanese people to pay a little more for the bigger albums. And yes, selling below the regulated price is punishable by law. So it's less a matter of not profiting enough and more a matter of profiting more than elsewhere, right?
Want to add to the discussion?
I'm not so sure about that This is a lot cheaper than the yen domestics but it's still around the price of a new cd in the States, if not a bit more. My band did this. Our label did not have great distribution in Japan and a Japanese label showed interest in putting our last album out there so we worked out a deal. We recorded one extra song, they included a Japanese translation of all the lyrics inside, and put our faces in stores all over Japan. We ended up selling more albums in the first month there than we did in the rest of the world in the first year.
Worked out well for everyone. Yep, this answer deserves more up votes. The Japanese music industry is pretty huge. The extra tracks are there to provide an incentive for buying the domestic version. Without the extra tracks, Japanese retailers are reluctant to sell the CDs knowing that a large portion of the potential purchasers will simply be importing the product.
Here in the UK some record labels will put extra tracks on CD's to encourage people not to buy cheap imports from America or Asia. I doubt this is the case in Japan posted by dodgygeezer at 2: I'm looking at cds at amazon. I always assumed it had something to do with Japan's consumer culture - they will pay the extra money to get the 'best' possible version of the CD. It may not be twice the price given shipping and import costs, bringing the price to within a couple bucks might be enough.
GeekAnimator - for a really thorough explanation, see here warning, Geocities. I was gonna answer this, but instead I'll just say that Gortuk above is pretty much on the money. CDs in Japan are so damn expensive because the government says they have to be. A third confirmation of Gortuk's reasoning.
The bonus tracks are to encourage Japanese to buy the Japanese edition. So how about CDs released in Japan of Japanese artists? Are they also as expensive as the CDs released in Japan of foreign artists?