I see a lesson in the Japanese market for American and European musicians, especially indies who
self-release. This assumes there is more profit in selling $10-12 CDs than peddling downloads, which
I think result in very little profit for the record labels or performers but much profit for Apple
and Amazon. Again, assuming the CD is still the most profitable release medium for a self-releasing
performer, the idea of including concert tickets or other freebies may be a good way to boost sales.
Heck, what about just autographing every 10th CD, so that a buyer stands a 1 in 10 chance of getting
a collector's item.
The reaction of record companies to declining CD sales -- especially in the case of single-CD
releases, has been to cheapen the physical product so no one wants it. Sure, you can sell it for $8
that way, but the market has shown no interest in paying even that for cheap-looking junk.
One more comment on the Asian markets, regarding classical music. The reason there are two Mercury
Living Presence box sets, and a third one coming, which will bring all of the CDs plus other
material back into print, is because the Korean unit of UMG cobbled together the first box out of
existing artwork and manufacturing parts already at the CD plants. It would never have occured to
the "main office" to bring the original material back into print in a discounted box set, which
turned out to be a very good business move. I was told that the same thing happened with the Sony
RCA Living Stereo box, set which collected the CD layers of the SACDs into a single discount-priced
product. This box has been available for several years and I bet sold more copies than the hybrid
SACDs (mainly because many people never understood the concept of hybrid discs and figured SACDs
were of no interest to them).
-- Tom Fine
----- Original Message -----
From: "MATSUBAYASHI 'Shaolin' Kohji" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, September 17, 2014 9:13 AM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Japan - still in love with the CD
> Hi Tom-san,
> I believe it's sort of "fetishism", crazy love for physical medium.
> This might apply to both generation - young ones who loves AKB48,
> the other elders who loves "original" format.
> Recently hi-reso download is becoming popular among people in Japan,
> while collectors (like people in Europe and in the States) stick with
> original pressings.
> On the other hand, ordinary people in Japan gave up the heyday of physical
> while CDs still sells extremely well these days, especially AKB48s, not
> because the music is
> quite high quality, but because the CD includes "handshake" ticket with
> "idols" or
> "election/vote" ticket.
> On Wed, Sep 17, 2014 at 9:31 PM, Tom Fine <[log in to unmask]>
>> I can say from some experiences with classical reissues that the Japanese
>> market is definitely unique, as stated by several people in the article.
>> When you put something out that they like, it's a very lucrative market and
>> Japanese executives and consumers are wonderfully enthusiastic about the
>> product. The trick is figuring out exactly what they like.
>> I can also understand why downloads don't resonate with Japanese. For one
>> thing, many Japanese are serious music listeners and probably don't like
>> the bad quality of lossy sound. For another, Japanese culture celebrates
>> physical objects, especially beautiful ones. CD packaging can be very
>> appealing. And, Japanese consumers like to have a lot of textual
>> information with their music purchases, and downloads usually include NO
>> documentation (a minority include a PDF of liner notes).
>> -- Tom Fine