It’s no secret that Japan gets a lot of stuff other countries don’t. What I’m here to do is explain why this happens. This sometimes includes bonus tracks.
Many people think it’s because the music industry in Japan has more money than in other countries, but this isn’t true. Japanese CDs cost about the same to produce as those released in America.
Japanese musicians make approximately 90% of their money from live shows and merchandise. It’s possible to make a living from what you get from CD sales, but not many people can.
So if a musician releases a new album every year, they would need to put on about 60 shows yearly to make enough money.
On the other hand, musicians are considered “rich” if they sell 100,000 records in America.
They only need to play about six shows a year to support themselves financially.
It’s easy for American musicians to stay at home and focus on making music all the time. That’s why many musicians you hear about in America are solo artists who don’t have a full band.
In Japan, it’s the opposite. There are a lot of bands because people depend on their music to make a living.
This is why Japanese CDs come with bonus tracks. If an artist goes into the studio and records ten songs in Japan, they must release all ten songs.
They can’t just release nine songs and leave one off the album because that would be a waste of money. That’s why artists put a lot more work into their albums in Japan.
Bonus tracks in Japan are used for two reasons:
- To help establish yourself as an artist by releasing songs that are easy to listen to. You want people to hear your music, but you know it’s hard for others to get into your pieces when they’re all different. That’s why bands record songs that are similar in genre or sound like the other tracks on the album.
- To give money back to the fans. This is pretty self-explanatory. Artists will release album versions of songs, acoustic performances, or live versions as bonus tracks so people can buy them if they want to.
What is the point of bonus tracks?
The point of bonus tracks is to give fans more music. Fans can buy and support their favorite artists, get the album, rip the tracks onto iTunes, and delete the songs.
Which do you prefer?
Would you get an additional track when you buy an album or get nothing if you choose not to purchase the album?
I prefer to get an additional track when I purchase an album. Bonus tracks are fantastic because you get to listen to something new that the artist worked hard on, and if you’re like me, your favorite band’s bonus tracks are usually your favorite songs.
But there is another reason why people buy albums:
To support their favorite artists. If a band releases an album with bonus tracks and you choose not to buy it, the band doesn’t get any money for those tracks.
Different artists have different reasons for wanting your money. Some want as much as possible to support their careers, while other bands only need enough to pay bills until they can earn back their money from live shows.
Can an EP have a bonus track?
An EP is considered the same as an album (in Japan). So if you buy a mini-album on iTunes, your only option would be to get the album’s standard version.
In some cases, artists release special EPs that don’t contain all the songs found on regular albums. Those EPs will usually have the same number of pieces as other releases.
Bonus tracks are a luxury in America because artists tour there so often. That’s why American CDs almost always come with standard versions only.
But Japanese CDs have standard versions and several other types of releases all packed into one album. You can choose what you want to buy, making the CD more attractive to consumers.
So the next time you buy an album, think about this article. Should music be a luxury or something everyone can enjoy?
Remember that artists must divide their income to pay for rent, utilities, food, and recording studios. They don’t just record songs because they’re bored at home.
So support your favorite bands by buying their albums.
Bonus tracks are great, but if you remove the reason why an artist releases them in the first place, you take away the point of having extra songs on a CD.
Do people buy CDs in Japan??
Yes, CDs are bought in Japan too. In the United States, CD sales have declined over the past few years because everyone listens to music on their phones or computers.
But when you buy a physical copy of an album, you get something you can hold onto and look at when your favorite artists’ songs come up on your phone playlist.
How much does a CD cost in Japan?
CDs in Japan are between $20 – $30. You can buy special editions like this for about $40 – $50 (with DVDs, posters, etc.).
So what do Japanese artists make?
Japanese artists make an average of 2500 yen per album sold. It’s important to note that this is not the money the artist gets for making the music.
This is the money they get once their album has made back production costs. (which can be quickly recouped if the album contains clean versions of songs already released as singles).
Interesting side notes: Japanese bands sometimes receive more money from their labels if they sell albums overseas.
For some artists, it’s easier to break into foreign markets than others because of the musical style or lyrics sung in English.
Some of the most famous Japanese bands in the U.S. are BABYMETAL, ONE OK ROCK, Perfume, and RADWIMPS!
Originally posted on November 3, 2021 @ 3:55 pm
As a lifelong traveler and founder of lovefortraveling.com, I, Alex Deidda, have always been driven by my passion for exploring new places and cultures.
Throughout the years, I have had the opportunity to live in various countries, each offering unique perspectives and experiences.
My love for traveling led me to create lovefortraveling.com, a website and blog dedicated to helping people plan their trips.