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The Insanely Great Songs Apple Won't Let You Hear

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the let's-hear-it-for-blumchen dept.

Media (Apple) 341

FunkeyMonk writes " has an article by Paul Collins explaining that the iTunes music store has thousands of tracks that you can't buy in the U.S. From the article: 'The iTunes Music Store has a secret hiding in plain sight: Log out of your home account in the page's upper-right corner, switch the country setting at the bottom of the page to Japan, and you're dropped down a rabbit hole into a wonderland of great Japanese bands that you've never even heard of. And they're nowhere to be found on iTunes U.S.' The article goes on to mention a few workarounds if you want to purchase foreign tunes. But this brings up a good point — why shouldn't iTunes be the great mythical omniscient music repository where all the world's music is available instantly? Is this simply a marketing decision?"

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Licensing, licensing, licensing (5, Insightful)

barcarolle (581253) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751198)

This is just the way the music business works. Apple can't change the fact that labels only license to certain territories. Just like you can go into a music store in Japan and buy thousands of CDs you can't buy elsewhere, Apple's iStore is contractually bound to operate the same way.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (5, Informative)

hkgroove (791170) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751592)

This is exactly it and it drives me insane, especially with some of the independent (dance) labels. To make it even better, it's not even by label, but by the track. Artist A might sell a track to two different labels - one for the EU and the UK and another label for the US.

What makes it even more retarded is that the remix / version you want is always on the other label which you're not allowed to buy.

Most of the other stores are smarter, unfortunately, and you just can't go and change your location. So, you get to have fun finding a proxy that truly is in the territory from where you want to pretend to be.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752688)

It's god's way of punishing you for liking dance 'music'.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (1)

saskboy (600063) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751722)

The music business works that way, but the Internet doesn't. Mind you, I'm a little perturbed by all of the Asian anime crud showing up in the Top rated category on YouTube lately, so to each his own I guess.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (5, Interesting)

Nogami_Saeko (466595) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751756)

I suppose the bigger question is "why do Japanese labels want people to pirate their music?". Because if you don't offer people a legit way of downloading tracks, then people gravitate to the alternatives.

Doesn't really bother me much, but makes me curious about their business sense.

As an aside, Apple/iTunes/publishers also do the same thing with video content that's available to US customers only, and not to people from other geographic regions. The reason? Who knows, but I do know that it's costing them money from people like me that would prefer to purchase it easily rather than using alternatives...

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751818)

This is just the way the music business works.


This is just the way the music business worked or has worked.

I doubt today that there is anything on iTunes US or Japan that I can't get in hours or at most a week for less than $0.99.

Does anybody here think this is a hard challenge?

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751836)

This is just another example of the insane way the music business works

FYP. If you can make any sense out of the notion that you have to get (read: buy) permission to hear song X in each region in which your ears happen to find themselves, you need your head (and prolly ears) examined.

Region-specific DVDs are the more familiar example; did we as a society just decide to surrender completely to that one?

We were never asked (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752266)

And I never bought a DVD until the cracks were easily available on linux.

Only AFTER that did I buy DVD's and then after that, I bought a player and a TV to watch it on.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751880)

True, of course, but iTMS really highlights the problem. Back when the way of selling music was to press it to a record (or other physical medium) and sell it in a shop, it made sense to have different distribution deals for different countries. Company A might have access to retail channels in the USA, while company B might have access to retail channels in the UK. Giving either a worldwide licensing deal would be a problem, since neither would be able to exploit it. Giving both a worldwide deal might cause them to step on each other's toes in some areas, which would be bad for business.

Amazon started to change the rules. They had almost the same store in a large number of countries. You could even get them to ship products to you from their stores in another country using the same account. They were not bound by the distribution contracts, since they were buying from the authorised distributor and selling them elsewhere.

The movie industry tried to 'fix' this, rather than embracing it, by introducing region codes. Now, the DVD you bought from the USA wouldn't play on your player (although most stand-alone DVD players sold in the UK are now region-free, laptop drives are often not, which is irritating).

A bigger problem than music and film, however, is TV shows. These are typically broadcast in one country up to a year before they are syndicated elsewhere. There is no option to buy them legally through any channel[1], but you can download them from the Internet within a few hours of their original release. The movie industry woke up to this and started launching things at the same time worldwide, but the music and TV industries are still stuck in the regional distribution model.

iTMS simply serves to highlight the fact that entire industries are clinging to an obsolete business model. Now that worldwide distribution is a reality, they are still trying to enforce regional supply chains.

[1] This, to my mind, means that they should not be protected by copyright. If you intentionally exclude a region, then it is not in the best interests of that region to grant you a monopoly on distribution.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (2, Informative)

Nevyn (5505) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752210)

The movie industry woke up to this and started launching things at the same time worldwide

While I agree with most of what you said, this is obviously wrong. US movies still mostly take a few months to get to the UK, and any UK movies often take more than 6 months to get here. Sure a few very big movies have world wide releases, but then that was happening 10 years ago.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (1)

hjf (703092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752702)

A bigger problem than music and film, however, is TV shows. These are typically broadcast in one country up to a year before they are syndicated elsewhere.

Just a quick correction. I live in Latin America (Argentina) and we get most US shows 2 to 4 weeks after broadcast in the US. Most of them through Sony Entertainment Television and The Warner Channel. (Desperate Housewives, Top Chef, ER, Grey's Anatomy, and many many others. The prime time is from 9 to 12pm, that's 4 sitcoms and one 1-hour show every day). We have FOX too, but they start broadcasting the Simpsons only after the season is over.

E! News Live is live every night and translated the next day.

My point was that if there is ENOUGH interest, companies will sell the show even before syndicating it.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (4, Interesting)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751884)

I think the other reason they don't let people buy tracks from other countries is because the pricing is different. In Canada a song costs $CDN 0.99. However in the US, the tracks cost $US 0.99. So you could buy a track for about $US 0.85 if the Americans were allowed to buy tracks in Canada. I'm not sure what the prices are in the UK. If they are GBP 0.99 then I don't think anybody would be shopping there if they had the ability to go to the Canadian store and buy tracks there.

Re:Licensing, licensing, licensing (4, Insightful)

zentec (204030) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752176)

If you do that, make sure you do it with gift cards and not a credit card. Your $.99 Canadian iTunes purchase will result in a $3.00 foreign currency exchange fee on your credit card. Plus, the $.99 for the song.

credit card foreign fees (2, Insightful)

Matthew Bafford (43849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752456)

If you do that, make sure you do it with gift cards and not a credit card. Your $.99 Canadian iTunes purchase will result in a $3.00 foreign currency exchange fee on your credit card. Plus, the $.99 for the song.
If that's not hyperbole, then you should look at getting another credit card. The two cards I use for foreign transactions both charge me 2.89% of the purchase price (which is high in my opinion) plus a slightly-higher than market exchange rate for such transactions. I think paying an extra $0.03-$0.05 on the song is acceptable to most people.

Nothing new... (4, Insightful)

sugapablo (600023) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751216)

Back in the 60's, British and US releases had different songs on them.

British had "With the Beatles" while an album with slightly different tracks called "Meet the Beatles" came out in the US.

The British version of "Are You Experienced?" by Hendrix had additional songs, such as "Red House" which the record company felt would go over better in Britain than the US, even though it was a straight blues track and blues was born in the US. *shrugs*

So while in the age of the internet, this seems silly, it's nothing new.

Re:Nothing new... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751410)

This practice was done (at least in the Beatle's case) to produce an extra album. Their earlier albums had 14 songs on the British releases but the American equivalents had only 12. They would eventually take these extra tracks and put out an additional album.

Re:Nothing new... (1)

hackstraw (262471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751902)

Back in the 60's, British and US releases had different songs on them.

British had "With the Beatles" while an album with slightly different tracks called "Meet the Beatles" came out in the US.

The British version of "Are You Experienced?" by Hendrix had additional songs, such as "Red House" which the record company felt would go over better in Britain than the US, even though it was a straight blues track and blues was born in the US. *shrugs*

So while in the age of the internet, this seems silly, it's nothing new.

Right, its now 2007. Back in the 60s if you bought music, you pretty much had to listen to at least 1/2 an album at a time. In 2007, there is no reason a consumer in a free market cannot buy an electronic copy of all of the tracks from an album that is over 30 years old with a 50% probability that the creators of the music is dead.

There is no reason I can't download any track for $0.10 to $0.99 of an over 30 year old Beatles track individually from iTunes. But being that the music people don't want to sell the stuff, that way we are forced to get it other ways.

Re:Nothing new... (2, Interesting)

butlerdi (705651) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752466)

The reason that the name was changed and an additional song or two added , different artwork whatever, was so that you went out and bought the "import" version as well....

Re:Nothing new... (1)

ruffnsc (895839) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752388)

I think its rediculous because they are making the assumption Americans only like a certain range of music. Kind of reminds me of that song by Elvis Costello "Radio, Radio" except in this case it can be called "iTunes, iTunes"

Devil's in the Contracts (4, Informative)

necro81 (917438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751248)

One possible reason why that insanely great band from Japan (love the hyperbole, by the way) can't have its songs show up in the U.S. version of iTMS is that the label that produced the music hasn't licensed Apple to sell it in the U.S. I'm not sure why that would be, but there are all kinds of idiotic details in music contracts. There may also be weird export and tariff issues at stake - different country, different laws. Ever notice that the import version of a CD on amazon tends to be 2x-3x more expensive than the domestic release, if you can even find it?

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (2, Interesting)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751350)

the label that produced the music hasn't licensed Apple to sell it in the U.S. I'm not sure why that would be

Possibly because the label itself doesn't have rights to distribute the material in the US. There's often different publishers for different regions on the same medium.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (3, Funny)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751426)

>>>"Possibly because the label itself doesn't have rights to distribute the material in the US. There's often different publishers for different regions on the same medium."

OR, think of the outrage from the industry if a Japanese track made #1 on the US charts.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (1)

faust2097 (137829) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752344)

Fortunately for the major labels they have the US pop charts completely sewn up and it's impossible to have a #1 single without giant piles of marketing money and *cough* "independent promotional fees".

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (0, Troll)

mgblst (80109) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751370)

It really sounds like this issue was brought up by some teenager from japan, who recently move to the US.

Firstly, these Japanese pop bands, just like pop bands outside of the two major music producing areas (USA and UK, with exceptions now and again), are very simple and derivative. Even by pop music standards. They are only really popular, because people want to hear songs in their own language.

Secondly, just because Apple can sell those songs technically, doesn't mean they can legally. You addressed this issue.

Slashdot, maybe we can stay away from the teenage blogs.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752766)

Guess some j-pop fans caught mod points today. I feel your pain about Japanese music, though. "Insanely great " might be stretching things.

Vox Populi (1)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751566)

"Voice of the People"

The point of publicizing this is not that it's happening, it may be that if enough consumers say "Hey, why not let us have the access to purchase that" the companies involved will work something out. So the article could be trying to get the word out so /.'ers and other iTunes users contact Apple and demand access.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (2, Interesting)

retrosteve (77918) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751596)

My question is -- if I buy a Japanese CD through iTunes US, will I have to pay an "Import" price on it? Will it cost me 3x as much?

Can I get the "domestic" price by switching to the iTunes Japan site?

Are the bits cheaper that way?

Well, of course not, since everything costs the same on iTunes. But I bet the labels would prefer it this way. This may be why those "import" tunes are just unavailable on the US store instead.

Region restriction = profit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751832)

What do labels offer to artists? Distribution. They say "sign on with me, and I will get you played all over the country."

Now, it might sound ever better to say "I will get you played all over the world," however, if they do that for all their artists, that means that each artist faces even more competition. Basically, the labels wind up making their own products compete with one another, which will naturally drive talent away.

This is the same reason that labels stop selling old albums. They don't want their dead artists to compete with their live ones, so they make that music unavailable.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (1)

JulesLt (909417) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752262)

And quite often it's the bands - typically the bands manager will ensure the publishing and distribution contracts are limited to specific territories. One reason behind that is that when you start out as an unknown in your home territory, it's difficult to negotiate a great contract, but once you've got success, you can get better deals in a second territory. Of course, these days the nature of the business has changed dramatically - but I think it would be wrong for Apple to force publishing companies (and therefore musicians) into global contracts, much as it may benefit US consumers.

Re:Devil's in the Contracts (2, Insightful)

Llywelyn (531070) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752306)

Ever notice that the import version of a CD on amazon tends to be 2x-3x more expensive than the domestic release, if you can even find it?

It actually is often cheaper to order the CD from the local amazon (e.g., and have it ship them to you.

Isn't it the record labels doing it? (2, Insightful)

dorzak (142233) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751250)

Isn't it the record labels limited things?

I seem to have seen a post about that at some point on Apple's discussions boards.

From that, iTunes works with the whoever hold the distributions rights in that country. If those bands don't have a U.S. distributor.

One band I like "Growing Old Disgracefully" recently made the jump from the U.K., to the U.S. iTunes store by working with CD Baby.

Re:Isn't it the record labels doing it? (5, Insightful)

KFW (3689) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751386)

Exactly. Apple/iTunes is an easy target, but they're obliged by their contract. This is the same reason that iTunes was available in different countries at different times - it took a while to negotiate the contracts (even in the EU each country's music distributor had to be negotiated with seperately). Honestly, do you think Apple wants to turn away money? I don't believe iTunes is the only store with this issue. So while there are a lot of legitimate complaints about iTunes (esp. the DRM, which isn't entirely driven by the studios), this article was just a cheap shot at an easy target.

Fuck twofo (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751256)

Twofo [] Is Dying
It is official; Netcraft confirms: Twofo is dying

One more crippling bombshell hit the already beleagured University of Warwick [] filesharing community when ITS confirmed that Twofo total share has dropped yet again, now down to less than a fraction of 1 percent of all file sharing. Coming hot on the heels of a recent Netcraft survey which plainly states that Twofo has lost more share, this news serves to reinforce what we've known all along. Twofo is collapsing in complete disarry, as fittingly exemplified by failing dead last in the recent Student comprehensive leeching test.

You don't need to be one of the Hub Operators to predict Twofo's future. The hand writing is on the toilet wall: Twofo faces a bleak future. In fact there won't be any future at all for Twofo because Twofo is dying. Things are looking very bad for Twofo. As many of us are already aware, Twofo continues to lose users. Fines and disconnections flow like a river of feces [] .

N00b Campus users are the most endangered of them all, having lost 93% of their total share. The sudden and unpleasant departures of long time Twofo sharers fool_on_the_hill and Twinklefeet only serves to underscore the point more clearly. There can no longer be any doubt: Twofo is dying.

Let's keep to the facts and look at the numbers.

Sources indicate that there are at most 150 users in the hub. How many filelists have been downloaded? Let's see. 719. But 1621 IP addresses have been logged, and 1727 nicks have been sighted connecting to one user over the last term. How many searches are there? 600 searches in 3 hours. The highest sharer on campus, known as "firstchoice", or in real life, was sharing over 1 TiB, despite working in ITS and not being on the resnet. He's only there so people off campus who think they're too good for bittorrent can continue to abuse the University's internet connection.

Due to troubles at the University of Warwick, lack of internet bandwidth, enforcements of Acceptable Usage Policies, abysmal sharing, retarded leechers, clueless n00bs, and ITS fining and disconnecting users, Twofo has no future. All major student surveys show that Twofo has steadily declined in file share. Twofo is very sick and its long term survival prospects are very dim. If Twofo is to survive at all it will be among p2p hardcore fuckwits, desperate to grab stuff for free off the internet. Nothing short of a miracle could save Twofo from its fate at this point in time. For all practical purposes, Twofo is dead.

Fact: Twofo is dying

Music marketing doesn't understand ubiquity (1)

NixieBunny (859050) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751270)

The folks in charge of the music industry have a view formed by decades of paying for bands to record, then pressing a bunch of records. That makes a barrier to carrying an artists' work. Currently, the only barrier is the addition of more data to a database - nearly zero cost.

Re:Music marketing doesn't understand ubiquity (0, Offtopic)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752148)

I'm not even sure the barriers existed even then. I enjoy the music of Tom Lehrer [] [1], and he has done reasonably well without the backing of a label. He began singing to a few friends at parties for his own enjoyment, was persuaded to sing at clubs and later got a run of records pressed privately. He never advertised, and his records were all sold by word-of-mouth marketing. I came across his music because my parents owned two of his LPs. They live in the UK, so word of mouth had travelled a long way (apparently Princess Margaret was a fan, which helped his popularity in the UK). He now sells a CD boxed set of his complete recordings [] , which I have bought and enjoyed.

His later records were published by Reprise Records, but they did not enter the picture until he was already fairly well known and had self-published some LPs. His decision to sign with a record label seems to have been mostly motivated by laziness; he couldn't be bothered to handle the distribution himself, because it wasn't something he found interesting. The barrier to entry was small enough that he could do if himself, it was just more convenient for someone else to do it for him. These days it's even easier, but it wasn't very difficult even in the '50s.

[1] Definitely music-for-geeks; a Harvard mathematician singing satirical songs in the 50s and 60s.

Unfortunately, but hardly marketing (3, Informative)

Holmwood (899130) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751274)

Music is licensed on a per-country basis. Often, different organizations/people hold the rights in different countries. A Canadian band, for instance, might keep (or buy back) Canadian rights, but a major label would have the US rights, and a Europeans subsidiary of that label -- or another label altogether -- might have the European rights.

Selling all music globally is something no one's ready for legally, and probably won't be for years, given the glacial rate at which the *AA's seem to be evolving to embrace new technologies and opportunities.


Re:Unfortunately, but hardly marketing (1)

Cauchy (61097) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751332)

Hence, the supposed justification for region codes on DVD. Though the more skeptical amongst us might believe that region coding is to allow for 'more efficient' pricing around the world.

It's probably a legal decision. (4, Insightful)

foxtrot (14140) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751290)

Apple has contracts with various record houses that allow Apple to sell their music.

Sadly, while the Internet is world-wide and country borders are merely speedbumps, the legal world hasn't figured that one out yet...

So their deals with Japanese record houses probably only allow Apple to sell their music in Japan.

Seems short-sighted to me. If you're making a deal with the guys who sell 80% of the online music sold, why not let them sell to as many people as possible instead of holding back rights? You get a cut on each...

Marketing? No. Legals (0, Redundant)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751294)

It has nothing to do with marketing and everything to do with the selling rights granted to stores. A label in the US tends to only have the rights to sell the track in the US (and Canada). Labels in the UK usally can only sell in the UK. Even if the labels are global you still need to gain the rights to sell from EMI UK (to sell to the British), EMI France (to sell to France) and so on and you are constrained by the limits placed on you when you are granted the rights by the label.

This has been the situation for years and is not just limited to digital music. And it's been discussed on slashdot before, on why it took Apple so long to open iTunes outside the US, why the Zune store is US only and so on.

Re:Marketing? No. Legals (1)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752058)

What I want to know is, in this world where large companies of all kinds make so much noise over globalization, why cant we have a world where instead of there being an "EMI France" and a "EMI US" and a "EMI Australia", there is just "EMI" and which country an item is sold in is no longer relavent.

I suppose that will happen the same day as airline pilots report seeing pigs out the window, the devil has to place an order for warm jackets because hell has just frozen over, osama bin laden walks into the US base in Kabul with a signed confession showing that he ordered the 9/11 attacks and Microsoft releases the source code to Windows under the GPL :)

Re:Marketing? No. Legals (1)

Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752408)

"I suppose that will happen the same day as airline pilots report seeing pigs out the window, [...]"

Flying pigs and music promotion: been done. A giant, inflatable pig was flown for the cover art of one of the Floyd albums (Animals, IIRC). It got loose from its tethers and floated into the Heathrow Airport approaches...

Is this simply a marketing decision?" (-1, Redundant)

falcon5768 (629591) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751298)

Or maybe its because legally they dont have the right to in the other countries due to licensing issues.

Christ it took Apple years in Europe to figure out the licensing issues there since some countries could have certain music from one company, and have the SAME artist licensed to another company (or even unlicensed) in the next country over.

Maybe its more a great example of how fucked up region coding is in a world with no borders and how the public needs to force companies and governments to open them up.

It's the licensing, stupid (1, Redundant)

Maury Markowitz (452832) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751322)

Ever song is licensed by a different company in different geographical regions. Those firms are typically under an international umbrella group, but that doesn't change anything. General Electric Canada sells different products than General Electric (US), and no-one finds that odd, so I'm not sure why anyone would be remotely surprised here.


Because with binary data on the internet there are (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751718)

no borders. Music is universal, and it's quite possible to enjoy something in a language you don't speak - that goes from opera to J-pop. That's why it's different to electric goods, which run on different voltages with different plugs and conform to different safety standards around the world.

Yes, it's plain old licensing, but in the modern age music companies are doing it purely to be jerks, without the slightest hint of an excuse.

Re:Because with binary data on the internet there (1, Troll)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751890)

no borders.
YES ! abolish them!

For an iTunes J-Pop/J-Rock fix (5, Informative)

realinvalidname (529939) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751330)

JList/JBox [] has been selling Japanese iTunes [] cards for some time, and frequently advertise them in their ads in magazines like NewType USA. Right next to the hentai/bishoujo games and Domo-kun plushies.

big freaking deal (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751364)

So you do not get to listen to Japanese music (or african or East Indian or Russian) big fucking deal. Make a story out of it and waste thousand of man hours.

Uh, it's the Record Companies (5, Insightful)

MacBoy (30701) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751368)

I mean come on! Do you really think it has anything to do with Apple itself not letting you hear the song? Oh yes, Apple engages in musical censorship. It's the record companies, people. If a band doesn't have a record distribution deal in the US, then guess what! you can't buy their music on iTunes either.

Re:Uh, it's the Record Companies (1)

ResidntGeek (772730) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751992)

I mean come on!
Wait a minute.. what did you say?

Re:Uh, it's the Record Companies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752444)

Who's blaming Apple? I think this is worth discussing - why do things work this way? Why do the record companies feel the need for this model?

It's about copyright ending at the border (4, Informative)

dschuetz (10924) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751416)

why shouldn't iTunes be the great mythical omniscient music repository where all the world's music is available instantly? Is this simply a marketing decision?

It *should* be a simple, global, find-it-and-buy-it repository. Unfortunately, the way that copyright has been worked, the right to sell a particular work (music, movie, tv show) only extends to a country's borders. If you want to sell that work in another nation, you have to somehow acquire the rights to sell there as well.

This used to be a real problem trying to buy import albums and CDs. If a particular overseas-only album had a local rights-owner who didn't have the title in print, that rights-owner could prevent you from importing the CD for purchase. (Naturally, they could also prevent you from importing if they *did* have it in print, but generally then you wouldn't want the import in the first place.) This didn't always happen in practice, but it did make things more difficult at times.

Today, they try to restrict trans-national media purchases via things like region coding.

Honestly, I think this is another of the ridiculously outdated aspects of copyright law that really needs to change. In my mind, if I purchase a legally-produced copy of a CD or DVD (or iTunes download), then somehow, somewhere, somewhen the artist was compensated for that purchase. Maybe not directly, and maybe not for that exact purchase, but at some point the artist's rights to sell the track were transfered to someone else who got money from me. It shouldn't matter if I'm buying a German pressed CD while visiting in Japan and holding a US passport. As long as the German CD was produced with the approval (or delegated approval) of the original artist/rights-holders, then it should be treated as legitimate and proper.

Of course, if you've got a situation where some country is permitting the sale of tracks for which the original artists have *not* delegated their rights to whomever made the [cd, dvd, file], then that shouldn't be permitted. Certainly, this isn't what's happening in Japan, but it is sort of what happened with AllOfMP3 (or so I understand -- I haven't followed that too closely).

I believe this is also why it's taken so long for new iTunes stores to open in new countries. It's not just a matter of arranging the financial-side of things for handling payments, currency conversions, etc., or even of getting servers and such set up for faster local access, but I bet a whole lot of it is securing the appropriate approvals from whomever "owns" the publishing rights for each track in that country.

Re:It's about copyright ending at the border (1)

FellowConspirator (882908) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751888)

This was (more or less) true until 1996. In that year the US became signatory to the World Intellectual Property Organization International Copyright Treaty. Under those new rules, all such restrictions are eliminated as was legal protection for region-based access control (like region-coding).

It's not that companies don't artificially segment the market for marketing reasons -- they do. There's still region codes on DVDs today despite the treaty basically saying that the countries agree to not enforce any law that validates or protects the practice (e.g., you can legally circumvent the region-locking of DVDs).

Today, market regionalization is nothing more than an artifact. It's simply a gentlemen's agreement to not dilute local markets with foreign content which might compete with the local stuff. I'm sure that in the case of iTunes, Apple has been requested to maintain the artifice as a condition for the rights to resell the content. The practical result being that consumers see a view of the music scene prepared carefully prepared by the industry for local consumption to maximize profit.

It's about Market segmentation as well (1)

giampy (592646) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751994)

Yes you aree right it is about copyright laws. But one of the reason such laws are the way they are is that the music industry wants to reserve the right to charge different prices in differen countries for the same product. These degrees of freedom (for the various **IAA allow a greater gain than would otherwise be possible), It's called "Market Segmentation".

Now in the iTunes case that is probably not true, however the general idea is still the same.

No surprise... (0)

Sqweegee (968985) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751456)

"why shouldn't iTunes be the great mythical omniscient music repository where all the world's music is available instantly? Is this simply a marketing decision?"

I imagine thats exactly what it is, a marketing decision. The average customer has very minor interest in foreign music (i.e. in a language they don't understand) so rather than inundating them with the latest hits from around the globe they stick with what will sell thousands of copies, not 10-20.

Of course they are losing out on business if you can't even search for these bands in certain areas, but there may be licensing and copyright issues for them to consider also.

No, it's a label decision. (3, Insightful)

l-ascorbic (200822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751474)

It's not a big scary conspiracy. They need to be granted rights for each territory by the labels. They evidently don't have US licences for all the japanese stuff. But if you prefer you can pretend that the government is stopping Apple corrupt the nation's youth with cheesy J-pop.

Re:No, it's a label decision. (0, Troll)

polar red (215081) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751534)

They evidently don't have US licences for all the japanese stuff.
So, you need a license to be able to sell music ???? Is this 1984 ?

Bollywood Music (1)

xRelisH (647464) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751490)

The reason why Apple doesn't have the worlds music on iTunes is probably because it takes a lot of work to get Record Companies to sign on and whatnot and the time taken to accomplish that might be better utilized on some other things for now at least.

However, I think it would be very beneficial for iTunes to start offering things from Bollywood (movies and music, priced to compete with local stores). I think India is one of the few places where the movie industry isn't going (relatively) downhill.

YMCK! (1, Interesting)

Apocalypse111 (597674) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751492)

While they may not be "insanely great", one of the Japanese bands I've found a while ago that I enjoy listening to is YMCK [] . Its a chiptune band, so it sounds like old Nintendo music combined with vocals. I can't understand the lyrics, or not much of them anyways, but its fun to listen to. Samples are available on their website (linked to in the above wiki article).

Is this simply a marketing decision?" (1)

IWantMoreSpamPlease (571972) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751500)


I mean, are US youngsters (who undoubtably make up the bulk of the iTunes music store purchases) really ready for Japanese tunes such as "Yatta"?

I mean, won't somebody think of the children!

This is the same from canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751510)

In Canada we have iTunes also, but we have a greatly reduced selection of music, Most of what is available on the US iTunes site is not available in Canada. It Pisses me off that the big music groups seem to think that we don't like US music...

They are liars and thieves (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Admin (304403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751582)

They say you can move your music around and play it anywhere, but then provide it only in a protected proprietary format. Who cares whats on Itunes? Only a complete idiot would buy music from them.

Re:They are liars and thieves (0)

sottitron (923868) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751710)

Only a complete idiot would buy music from them.
Or, you know, someone who doesn't take themselves so seriously over a $0.99 purchase.

I wanted to buy "American Pie" (0, Offtopic)

hsmith (818216) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751586)

But, you can only purchase it with the entire album, which I did not want. So, instead of getting my $0.99, I went and downloaded it for free.

Stop pulling that stupid shit, i don't mind paying for music but don't try and fuck me.

Re:I wanted to buy "American Pie" (2, Funny)

eltonito (910528) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752236)

Waaaaah! Oh, so sorry that you are upset with iTunes because Don McLean or his label requires that Apple sell you the entire album instead of the one popular song he has to his name. What an injustice!

Petulance is no excuse for engaging in illegal activity and then acting like a jackass. If you don't like it then go buy the single somewhere else.... what? It's out of print? How dare those bastards pull shit like letting a single from 30 years ago go out of print!

Contrary to popular belief, it is not your god-given right to take your Chevy to the levee for free.

Yes, it's licensing (1)

iainl (136759) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751612)

As others have pointed out, it's because a band's music is licenses to a publisher in one country, but that publisher may not have rights elsewhere in the world. So they only sell distribution rights in turn to Apple for the relevant country's store, because they don't own them for worldwide distribution.

To even out the flamewar somewhat, this is exactly the same reason you Americans can download films from the XBox Live Marketplace, but I can't with a UK account. There are ways around that, too, although Microsoft keep making rumbles about dire consequences if you try.

Mind you, there's also the small issue that if I could buy music from the US iTunes Store, I'd be paying $0.99 a track, rather than the rather more expensive £0.79 for the exact same data file. I can't see Apple being too keen on that bit.

how is this limiting choice? (2, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751636)

If Borders books refuses to sell a CD, is this limiting choice? Does borders book exist as the sole music purveyor in any market? Can't a consumer just go next door and get the music from someone else? Same thing for tower records. The few times I have been to a tower, and there are none in my town, it was a fun place to shop but the indies that existed then had a better selection of non-mainstream records. At the end of they day, it is not like WalMart censoring music, which does have an effect becuase Wal Mart does strive to be the only retailer across a number of markets and demographics.

A more accurate presentation might be that DRM and restrictive licensing is limiting the choice of music, which does have an element of truth, and Apple does bear some responsibility. But even this is far from unclear. If we are talking about music downloads, the only thing effecting music choice is the artist, not Apple. Apple certainly effects exposure, but not choice, except in the sense that one cannot choose what one does not know.

But certainly anyone can go onto a P2P network an download music, and it will play on the iPod and work in iTunes. Any artist can go to Youtube and upload a video. If a song is insanely great, it will generate insanely great buzz, and people will hear it.

I also wonder about the definition of insanely great music, and people expecting have such music handed to them on a gold platter. We are so used to having sanitized music spoon fed to us. The ability to download music is just going to exacerbate this problem, and lead to the increasingly sanitized of music. A better article would be how increased music delivery in destroying insanely great local music, and replacing it with moderately interesting sanitized corporate music.

Re:how is this limiting choice? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751976)

but what if i own an ipod?

ipod owners arent allowed to buy japanese music online? bleh...

Another legal way to buy Japanese music (3, Informative)

Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751652)

I know of another legal way to buy Japanese music. You can buy Japanese CDs in an English web page at []
I have no financial interest in this company. I am merely an occasional customer. Of course, if you are under, say, 25 years old, the idea of actually buying a CD will be anathema to you as you'll have to wait for it to arrive by mail and you'd rather slit your emo wrists than do anything that doesn't lead to instant gratification. And if you want to just buy individual tracks, this isn't the answer you were looking for either. However, if you are over 30 years old and not afflicted with ADD, this might be an option for you should want to purchase that CD that is only available in Japan. Sometimes Japanese CDs come with bonus tracks not released in other markets (usually this means the US), so hardcore fans of various Western singers/groups might be interested in Japanese CDs for that reason too.

Re:Another legal way to buy Japanese music (1)

Qzukk (229616) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752762)

Sometimes Japanese CDs come with bonus tracks not released in other markets (usually this means the US), so hardcore fans of various Western singers/groups might be interested in Japanese CDs for that reason too.

People think that the only thing coming out of japan is manufactured pop (and a lot of it is, it's worse than America in some genres over there with entire groups dedicated to nothing but churning out idol after idol) but Japan seems to be where a lot of Western 80's musicians go to die or something. A while back Pet Shop Boys released a Japan-exclusive album, and they're not alone in doing this. I visited on a company trip back in 2001 and record stores at the time were advertising some Whitney Houston album as #1 (I assume it was #1 in some chart or another, all I could read was her name and #1 ;) Apparently right now, country music is really big in certain niches.

Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751670)

For all of you arguing "because of licensing issues", please explain this: What is the advantage (for the band, OR the label) of not licensing a track to be sold in the US (or Europe) by anyone?

We are not talking about Apple not being allowed to sell the tracks, because it's on Zune Store (or whatever), but the tracks not being available anywhere. "Licensing issues" does not explain it, because somewhere someone made the decision to NOT license it. It's not a mountain we are talking about, licensing issues don't just exist by themselves, they are created by humans.

So, why don't they want us to hear the music? Why don't they want our money?

"It's not just a question of changing a value in a database" Yes it is. It's as simple as that someone who makes the decision calling Apple, and saying "Hey, could you add everywhere we are not already selling this to the list?". It may not earn shitloads of money, but the money they do make will be for free. The work has already been done.

Re:Question (2, Insightful)

exp(pi*sqrt(163)) (613870) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751752)

Yes it is
No it isn't. Complex webs of contracts have been set up. You might imagine the studio has complete control over its tracks but it doesn't. A simple example: They may have signed various types of contract with a variety of distributors all over the world. If studio X has given distributor Y exclusive rights to song Z in country W for a certain time then X might not be able to sell the song on iTunes because Apple then becomes a competing distributor to Y breaking the exclusivity contract. Sure, X might want to sell the song, but it's not in Y's interest to let them do so.

Re:Question (1)

blowdart (31458) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752022)

OK I shall try to explain.

Rights are complicated, they are not owned by a single person. The tune and lyrics authors and/or their publishers own authors' rights, which is the classic copyright. The artist that performs that music has certain perfomer 'related rights'. Finally the record label typically owns the copyright or producer's related rights in the particular recording of the song (and generally paid for the recording of that song).

A label may not have a distribution network in another country; so what happens is the artist, or the label grant redisribution rights to another label/company. EMI UK, for example, may license EMI US to distribute tracks in the US; but it needs the agreement with every rights owner for a track. EMI the parent company holds no rights, it's EMI UK, EMI US, Parlaphone etc that own the rights. Now getting everyone to agree is sometimes an exercise in herding cats, as renumeration will change on a per country basis.

So it not as simple as changing a flag; it needs everyone's agreement. And contracts. And methods put in place to make sure rights payments are made.

Re:Question (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752214)

Or we can just use emule. In this day and age if they can't figure out how to sell tracks, we will just get them from another source.

Bullsh*t. It's not Apple's fault. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751672)

From my experience, it extends to *ALL* electronic music stores out there and it is one of the reasons I don't like pay-to-download music that much. Besides the lesser quality, incomplete catalogues, partial albums (${deity}, do I hate that!), and so forth, all these virtual music stores have brought us back to before the internet when it comes to buying music. Artificial barriers have been erected for reasons I can't fathom right now, that prevent me from purchasing downloadable music from outside my country of residence. Whilst I can order a rare *PHYSICAL* cd from, say,, I can't buy a song sold in non-physical format from them.

One example: try to purchase anything from [] if you are in the USA. You will be refused because you don't have a credit card with a french address.

This is why pirated products are superior (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751712)

I've never seen DRM, region BS or anything similar in pirated copies of anything...

Customers who pay for such bizzaro-world limitations are victims.

Jesus, keep this shit on Digg (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751736)

Christ, how did this one make it through? I'd expect this kind of thing on digg, but Slashdot is usually a shade better about posting uninformed hyperbole. It's not Apple that won't let you hear these so called "insanely great songs" - it's the record companies in Japan. Apple is only authorized to sell those songs to residents of Japan. It's not big, bad Apple keeping the little guy down, or some vast racketeering conspiracy by the RIAA or anything like that. It's just standard protocol - different distribution agreements for different countries. If the record companies of Japan felt like there was money to be had in selling these songs across the pond, they'd negotiate that with Apple and you'd see these songs in the US-version of the iTMS. To act all indignant because you browsed the Japanese iTMS and were not allowed to use an American credit card/gift card is just absurd. Different countries have different factors (e.g., blank media tax) to consider in distribution that make articles like this seem so uninformed and naive that it's embarrassing.

Perhaps it's more a UI thing. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751772)

In any given country, you can probably bet that most of the people are going to want to look for music that is "released" in their country. So, if I search for "Turning Japanese", I probably don't want to see 10000 tracks of indecipherable hiragana characters. I probably also don't necessarily want to hear those either.

So what did this do? It cluttered up the UI, and put a huge burden on the iTMS infrastructure for a decrease in customer satisfaction. Not really a win-win.

Duh... (1)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751774)

"...why shouldn't iTunes be the great mythical omniscient music repository where all the world's music is available instantly? Is this simply a marketing decision?"

Isn't the answer to this obvious? The most logical answer, even to an outsider who isn't privy to the legal arrangements Apple has made with labels/artists, is that they have the online distribution rights to those songs in Japan and not North America. They _CAN_ sell the songs in Japan. They _CANNOT_ sell the songs outside of Japan. Seems pretty simple to me.

All the "logical" reasons are wrong (1)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751786)

Readers have mentioned licensing and other reasons why American's can't dive into the amazing bounty of Japanese bands on the store. But I think it's part of an evil plan to inflict pain and suffering on Americans. What else could rationally explain their attempt to keep thousands of insanely great Japanese pop tracks out of the hands of Americans?

Do the math... (4, Funny)

biglig2 (89374) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751792)

A copy of Britney's Greatest Hits (as a random example) on the US itunes store is $8.91.
On the UK iTunes store it is $15.75 (i.e. £7.99)
On the Canadian store, $8.47
New Zealand, $12.61
etc. etc. etc.

On the Japanese store, by the way, they don't sell it at all. Guess they saw the video for "Hit me Baby" and figured "Like the schoolgirl outfit, but needs more tentacles. Or cowbell."

Opportunity (1)

Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751806)

This problem is an opportunity.

Clearly, iTunes is restricted due to licensing arrangements not of Apple's making (see other posts in this topic). Equally clearly, these restrictions don't benefit Apple: it costs them little to offer extra tracks, even for low-volume sales (also noted in an earlier post in this thread). Therefore, cannot Apple use their commercial leverage to get the licensing changed? The record companies may listen if they think they're going to be trading with the Master Music Archive of all time.

then use myspace music from all over.. (1)

PermanentMarker (916408) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751808)

then use myspace music from all over.. and its free too (most)

WTO?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17751906)

Goddamit... wheres the WTO when you need it?

Canada..... DMCA (1)

obsidianpoet (978026) | more than 7 years ago | (#17751978)

Its worse for us Canadians. Though we do get access to most of the same music, we cannot purchase movies or tv shows from iTumes at all. One theory is that if those movies and shows were release in Canada, they would not be protected under the DMCA the same way they are in the US.

Re:Canada..... DMCA (1)

Undergrid (21142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752248)

Its not just Canada, here in the UK we (and I'd guess most non-USA countries) don't get access to TV shows or movies either. So while Jobs is boasting in keynotes about the number of tv episodes or movies available at the iTunes store we are wondering if we will ever see them and if Jobs realizes theres a whole world outside of the US.

The Pillows! (1)

casualsax3 (875131) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752048)

One of the best bands out there. Many of you will know them from FLCL: []

Beyond Music (3, Interesting)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752086)

The increasingly insular approach of North American media is something that goes beyond Japanese pop songs.

In the book business it has become near impossible to convince publishers to translate non-English authors, making access to some of the planet's finest writers nearly impossible.

Geist magazine [] out of Vancouver has had a couple of good articles looking at this phenomenon, one by Stephen Henighan [] in Issue 61, and by acclaimed writer Alberto Manguel in Issue 62.

Henigan's article opens:

Over dinner, I asked the Quebecoise writer Sylvie Desrosiers, the author of successful novels for both adults and younger readers, whether her books had been translated into English. "Non, pas en anglais," she said. "I've been translated into Spanish, Greek, Arabic . . ." She listed two or three other languages, then shook her head. "But not into English."

A few weeks after Desrosiers's visit, I was one of the hosts for the Ontario tour of the Salvadoran writer Horacio Castellanos Moya. The Salvadoran edition of Moya's novel El Asco (1997)--the title is roughly translatable as Revulsion --ran through six printings in a year and earned Moya enough death threats that he moved to Germany. Now in his late forties, Moya is the best-known Salvadoran writer of his generation. His novels come out in Spanish-language editions in San Salvador, Mexico City and Barcelona; in France and Quebec he is considered a significant literary figure (he was a featured guest of the 2005 Salon du Livre in Montreal); his novels are also available in German and Italian. His work has not been translated into English.

Manguel's article this month puts the blame squarely on the publishing houses who are increasingly market driven to publish lowest common denominator works, rather than building a catalog that stands on literary merit.

North America lives in a cultural bubble defined by a narrow range of English language music, writing, and film. It would be a great exercise to see how iTunes handles music from Latino and Mexican artists, or in Canada from Quebec musicians.

I'll wager that both of those groups are also underrepresented despite the considerable popularity of their work.

Lawyers, guns, and money (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752106)

But this brings up a good point -- why shouldn't BitTorrent be the great mythical omniscient music repository where all the world's music is available instantly?

Fixed that for ya...

More seriously, we can't really blame Apple for this one. They can only sell what the copyright holders let them sell. Cross-border music distribution has always counted as something of a tricky issue (thus the nearly black-market prices of anything you buy stamped "import").

One additional, more practical problem - PR (in the good, "exposure" sense). Let's say Apple miraculously gets permission from every record company in the world to sell anything at all. How many J-Pop artists do you think most non-Japanese people can name? Off the top of my head, I can only think of one by name and one more I would recognize but can't name a damned thing by them; And I expect that makes two more than 99% of Americans.

And that, from a country with a major, thriving music industry. How about more obscure regional genres? Ever heard of Norteño? Magham? Wayno? Yupraka? Luogu? Isizulu? Yeah, I can see those selling well enough the US to even justify the bandwidth of listing them as available downloads.

Let's reverse the roles (1)

Tarq666 (545095) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752194)

I live here in Japan and often log out of my iTunes account and look at all the amazing things people in the US, UK and Australia can buy that are not available on Japan's iTunes. I'd love to be able to legally purchase some TV programs to watch here instead of the stuff I put up with on local TV, not to mention catch a free new song occasionally, or simply buy music that I can't get here. I can't believe someone has only JUST noticed this and is making news out of it.

You Fail It! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752222)

To its 7aid-back the project as A the 'community'

Insanely Great Songs (1)

dlawson (209945) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752230)

You don't suppose the RIAA has anything to do with it?

Insanely Great? (1)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752250)

Not that I have anything against J-Pop or any other Japanese music, but is it all really "Insanely Great" or is someone up there in /. just trying to sensationalize things and spread a little FUD here? You might not find Japanese music in iTunes, but you probably won't find your local jam/metal/hip-hop/alt rock/indie artist in iTunes either - in fact, I doubt that many of us will ever hear these bands on the radio, let alone see them releasing content on iTunes.

If you want to worry about foreign rock, thats cool, I'm sure there is a lot of good stuff out there, but don't hype it in to seeming like Apple is trying to rip anyone off or hide anything. As mentioned before, your local record store doesn't have a "Japanese Artists" section the size of a Japanese record store - if any Japanese section at all - so why expect iTunes to have it?

Done for the protection of the artist (1)

hyrdra (260687) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752304)

This article is stupid. It's certainly not Apple's fault you can't purchase the music in the US or on the US version of itunes. The label, while at fault, is usually doing this for a good reason. They generally negotiate per country with different artists for a reason. Before a label decides to "launch" an artist in a new country (especially one where there is a language barrier), significant PR and advertising needs to be done to ensure a successful launch and good rankings for that artist. Imagine if Celine Dion (pardon my example) just started selling albums in the US without any PR machine. Her initial album sales likely would not be too good and it would take awhile for her to get noticed, even if her quality is high. This especially holds true for latin american artists doing a "cross over" etc.

The same thing goes for DVD region codes, etc. People sometimes I think don't bother to stop and try to figure out the whys of something they just automatically assume everything is done for some nefarious reason.

Re:Done for the protection of the artist (1)

OneSmartFellow (716217) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752666)

Before a label decides to "launch" an artist in a new country (especially one where there is a language barrier), significant PR and advertising needs to be done to ensure a successful launch and good rankings for that artist.

required, the record companies choose to perform these activities - and especially want to in order to fabricate interest in an otherwise unsaleable product like Appleton []

Another marketing method relies upon a quality musician or group to capture market share through genuine public appreciation, something the record companies don't dare attempt, lest the masses finally realise how crap most modern music is.

Imagine if Celine Dion ....

Sorry, had to stop reading there!!!

*Sigh* More Artificial Market Restrictions (1)

gurutechanimal (629949) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752316)

You know, I'm hardly a free-for-all Free-Marketer, but either we have a global economy or we don't. I love it how all the laws that affect consumers restrict the beejeezus out of them, while laws affecting transnationals allow them unfettered access to any market they choose. Taking the example of music companies, they are allowed to use the law to partition the world into several incompatible markets with artificial restrictions of what music can be sold where, and by whom. They can buy CD cases from Taiwan, have the CD's made in India, and have everything assembled in Mexico, usually duty-free (thanks to "free trade zones" set up in various countries).

If a consumer tries to buy music from other countries through traditional channels, they are usually prevented from doing so by the same companies that tout the wonders of the global economy and the free market. Remember, the free market and the global economy only apply to producers, not consumers. So, iTunes (which is an unfortunate pawn in this shell game) ends up enforcing anti-free market restrictions on product, blocking the consumer from the same freedoms enjoyed by those who produce the product.

I'm not saying the world has to be perfect and we should all get ponies. I'm just saying that if we're going to have a global economy, EVERYONE should be allowed to participate. Otherwise, there is no incentive to NOT get products through non-traditional channels, as the system is rigged against you from the get-go.

Great Japanese bands? (1)

operagost (62405) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752504)

They all sound like DDR music to me...

Yes, it's complicated, but.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17752538)

Many of you pointed out the complexity of legal contracts, marketing and distribution, etc.
Except, that all those are based on the old business model, when disks, CDs or other products, services had to be physically distributed.
This is obviously not the case any more, there is really no reason to "invent" the global online distribution agreement for products and services which can be acquired by downloading them.

That's why I don't do RIAA/GEMA big labels anymore (1)

bursch-X (458146) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752646)

Don't buy that crap, check out [] or [] or other places where you get non DRMed music you can buy from all around the world.

armin van buuren and ayumi hamasaki (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752658)

put out a remix album awhile back

i found some info on it []

those tracks blew me away, and i would have NEVER have found that music had i played "legit" and not pirated

i didn't even know what the armin van buuren/ ayumi hamasaki album was until i looked for it just now, even though i've playing songs from it for years and i deeply dig those remixes. i'm utterly beyond the notion of albums. i haven't bought a cd since 1999, and i never will again

i don't think i'll ever go to itunes either, because i'm too into the idea of "following my nose": start with a track i like, find out what else is related to that song/ what else is hosted by whomever is sharing it, and download hundreds of those songs, throwing out 98% of them. this shotgun search approach gets very expensive on itunes, but not on emule. after a few rounds of "following your nose", starting with a song very familiar to you that you love, you "fall down the rabbit hole" as the original poster says, and you wind up in a universe of foreign recorded/ underground music you hadn't the foggiest idea existed, and yet you absolutely are ecstatic about

however, i recently found a "legit" way of the shotgun approach i've mentioned above: [] . i read an article about them and they apparently hire people to listen to music all day, categorizing it. besides being notable as what sounds like a dream job for a music lover, it's kind of sad that pandora has to do manually what the internet can do automatically, as i've already discovered, years ago

say what you want about piracy, but in terms of a music lover's experience, it is the garden of eden compared to being "legit". i don't know how to be legit anymore, i don't think i ever will again. the experience as a music lover renders it impossible for me to consider something so stone age as the itunes paradigm of buying individual tracks. i want to inhale 1000s of tracks based on search words, throw out 900 of them in rapid succession, and find bizarre gems of world music/ underground music there is no way in a million years i would ever have found through any legit copyright addled mode

i'm a lifer, there's no way i'll ever buy music again, and before you holier than thou a@@holes lecture me on stealing from starving third world musicians, consider the fact that if it weren't for piracy, i wouldn't have been listening to them in the first place. solve that paradox, then get back to me with your attitude. i'm not downloading justin timberlake and beyonce knowles. i'm going after esoteric (to me in new york city) tracks i can't get my hands on any other way. i'd like the music industry or copyright wankers to address what i really am interested in (foreign and underground esoteric and exotic tracks) before they find some way to consider me an enemy. they can't

i wrote an article about it a long time ago [] , in 2003, that, bizarrely, i keep find being cited around the web []

And that's why someone else will get my money (1)

_Shad0w_ (127912) | more than 7 years ago | (#17752770)

Namely that's why Amazon Japan get my money for Japanese music, and not Apple.

Apple need to realise that they're losing out on sales because of a contrived market demarcation, one that makes no sense for an online world. Apple is a business, you can only hurt them one way, money. Either by denying them sales, or making them realise they're losing sales because of a stupid, non-sensical, policy.

The only reason things like this still exist is because labels don't want to lose the ability to charge one group of people more money than another group. They want to be able to prevent groups from going to a different pricing region to get their products. There's no justifiable reason for it.

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