It's Your Money, Not Theirs: A Public Service Announcement

Written by: Zer0

Every three or four months, the Japanese record labels have their "seasonal" release - their Spring love song, their upbeat Summer party song, their nostalgic Autumn mid-tempo number, and the essential Winter ballad. They all seem to come out at once, and many record labels release multiple versions of singles and albums, often with different artwork, different tracklists, and different first-press bonus extras. This leads to a rash of complaints. They're pretty predictable. They all go something like this:

"The record company is sucking us dry!"
"So expensive... they're stealing my money!"
"mean money-grubbing record label!! I'M GONNA GO BROKE!"
"The record execs are awful, releasing all these versions of singles!!"
"A concert DVD and a new single IN THE SAME DAY!? So EVIL!!"

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The Rise, Fall and Rise of Ami Suzuki

Written by Zer0

Newer followers of Japanese music might not know it, but dance-pop diva Ami Suzuki was a household name among J-pop fans between 1998 and 2000. Produced by the legendary Tetsuya "TK" Komuro, Suzuki consistently charted very well, and was considered by the media to be the most worthy rival to Ayumi Hamasaki. Then, in 2001, Suzuki's family sued her management company, and suddenly no one wanted her. Her return to the music industry in 2005 was nothing short of a miracle - and the result of a daring act by avex trax's Max Matsuura.

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