Tuesday, November 20, 2012

discovering Japan

hi there

something of a bone of contention for many enthusiastic music fans and record collectors would be the infamous "exclusive to Japan" release. that would be, as you can guess, versions of records, both singles and albums, released in Japan that feature tracks not released anywhere else in the world.

there are two schools of thought as to why this happens. most fans assume that as certain record labels are based there, in particular infamously anti-consumer Sony, they get certain perks. this is certainly true in regards of the Manic Street Preachers. not only do the standard Japanese editions of the albums come with extra tracks, but they also recently had re-releases of all the albums featuring a 2nd disc with all the b-sides on - something that the shambolic "Complete Singles" box set did not manage.

others, with some knowledge of the music industry, say Japan-only exclusives exist to lure Japanese people into buying more expensive manufactured in Japan versions rather than cheap imports. this kind of makes sense - about 10 years ago bands started randomly dropping a track or two from the European versions of albums to stop UK fans ordering it in cheaper than it was on sale in England.

the truth is probably somewhere in-between the two and, considering the astronomical costs of getting your hands on a Japan only release, one can understand why exactly so many are tempted by, or even turn to, bootlegs and downloads to hear tracks by their favourite bands and artists.

all of this is a nice excuse to bash Sony and other stupid labels that refuse to let fans buy music, but an even better reason to show off some class finds by the one they call Stef!

as far as i am aware one of these particular Frankie Goes To Hollywood releases feature any "exclusive to Japan" tracks, but it would not be a surprise. they are, however, very nice things to have indeed, and most record collectors would jump at the chance of getting their hands on the records shown above and below.

nice finds, Stef!

make no mistake - Frankie Goes To Hollywood have suffered the same "exclusive to Japan" fate for a few tracks. to date, the only place that the 'Urban' mix of Welcome To The Pleasuredome has featured has been on the 1985 release Bang!, which remains a Japan only release. some four or five recent releases from their label ZTT have featured rare and unreleased tracks, but no sign of this one yet.

and speaking of re-releases, ZTT have managed to annoy Frankie fans a great deal by sneaking out a Frankie Said Japan 2 CD set that differs from the rest of the world release. in particular with regards to the cover

ZTT, who must have read the same book that Sony did about how to annoy customers, recently tried to justify the Japanese version by saying the only extras were things that had been released in the rest of the world anyway. erm, not so - the Japanese get Watching The Wildlife (Movement 2) and the horrid version of Every Kinda People that the band wisely never released on CD. whereas in some countries you can buy (if you insist) Every Kinda People off the iTwat store, in regards of this mix of Watching The Wildlife your choices are limited to the 12" record from 1987, an expensive Japanese import or an illicit download.

for the aspiring record collectors reading this - if you see for sale any item that look like the ones Stef took pictures of, and they don't have to be Frankie but sealed is better, then they are always a wise investment. for any record labels reading this - all the money fans are spending on couriers and import tax for these Japanese releases could mostly be yours if you would only allow the fans to give you money for them. and stop crying about downloads and bootlegs if you refuse to actually sell the songs yourself.

cheers again Stef!

be excellent to each other!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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