Why do the Japanese versions of albulms always seem to have bonus tracks not available in North America?
June 16, 2004 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Why do the Japanese versions of albulms always seem to have bonus tracks not available in North America?

Also, why do the Japanese get this and we don't?
posted by hughbot to Media & Arts (14 answers total)
so that people buy 2 copies of the cd.
posted by andrew cooke at 2:36 PM on June 16, 2004

I find that extra tracks tend to be the case with most imports, not just japanese ones, and I'm pretty sure andrew cooke is right on the money.
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:39 PM on June 16, 2004

According to a friend who runs a small record label that occasionally does business in Japan: it's because it is invariably cheaper for Japanese buyers to import CDs rather than purchase them in their local record store. 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.
posted by Gortuk at 2:47 PM on June 16, 2004 [1 favorite]

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 2:47 PM on June 16, 2004

a slightly-related question: does anyone know why cds/dvds in japan are so damn expensive? I'm looking at cds at amazon.co.jp right now, and they're topping 3000 yen, which is like 28 bucks.
posted by GeekAnimator at 2:53 PM on June 16, 2004

is it an incentive, or is the idea that by making them noticeably different it's easy to see who's selling the imports and somehow pressure them into stopping? i think the general argument makes more sense than my cynical comment, but i can't see how someone would pay twice the price for two more tracks.
posted by andrew cooke at 3:02 PM on June 16, 2004

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).
posted by Gortuk at 3:14 PM on June 16, 2004

I think my favorite Japanese evtra was for Spirited Away, it came with it's own DVD Player
posted by Tenuki at 4:33 PM on June 16, 2004

I was gonna answer this, but instead I'll just say that Gortuk above is pretty much on the money.
posted by punkrockrat at 5:56 PM on June 16, 2004

CDs in Japan are so damn expensive because the government says they have to be.
posted by kenko at 7:26 PM on June 16, 2004

A third confirmation of Gortuk's reasoning. In Japan, an import from Europe or the States sometimes is half what a domestic CD. The bonus tracks are to encourage Japanese to buy the Japanese edition. An import buyer I used to know in my record store days hypothesized more Japanese editions are sold to US OCD collectors than in Japan on some titles.
posted by spartacusroosevelt at 8:41 PM on June 16, 2004

So how about CDs released in Japan of Japanese artists? Are they also as expensive as the CDs released in Japan of foreign artists? Do they have "extra" tracks too?
posted by spacehug at 10:15 PM on June 16, 2004

In Japan, the CDs of foreign artists and the CDs of Japanese artists are both equally expensive. They don't have extra tracks--although sometimes the production values are a bit nicer than those of American CDs; you get a very nice lyric book, or your CD in a nice box. CDs by Japanese artists don't have an "import" version to compete in the marketplace, so they don't need to have the extra incentive to induce people to buy the Japanese version.
posted by Jeanne at 4:22 AM on June 17, 2004

Also - Japanese music industry is more singles driven than in the us. J-pop artists can release several singles before the album is out, and often the album is just the collection of singles. Many consumers won't bother buying the cd because they already have the singles.
posted by quibx at 7:35 AM on June 17, 2004

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