Hot Japanese Imports: Buying Japanese music from iTunes

August 10, 2009 - 4:28 pm No Comments

Section: Exclusives, Originals, Features, Columns, How-To, Japanese Imports, Handhelds, iPhone & iPod Touch, Gear, Audio

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Many people don’t really rely on CDs anymore. With laptops and mp3 players, many prefer direct downloads of music. Unfortunately, direct downloads of video game soundtracks and Japanese rock or pop music aren’t that prevalent yet. For many people, the best way to go is straight to the source – iTunes Japan.

The Japanese iTunes store has tons of music waiting to be downloaded. Tracks from your favorite video games or obscure Japanese artists. There’s just one catch, you have to have a Japanese iTunes account to access all of it. And, to have a Japanese iTunes account, you must have a Japanese mailing address and a Japanese credit card or iTunes music card. Fortunately, creating an account isn’t a terribly difficult task.

iTunes JPop

Check your region’s iTunes store first!

A Japanese iTunes account and music card may be unnecessary. The iTunes store is expanding every day, and the music or artist you’re looking for may already be in the system.

If you’re looking for general Japanese pop or rock music, try searching for the artist or group’s name. You never know, it could come up. Or you could always use the iTunes Browse option to take a look at the artists available in the J-Pop, Anime or World music sections.

If you’re searching for video game soundtracks, plug the name of the game into the search box. You could end up finding a Japanese or official soundtrack already on the site. Searching for “Final Fantasy,” “The Black Mages” or “Nobuo Uematsu” brings up numerous results, especially “Nobuo Uematsu.” A random search for “Devil May Cry” brought up the Devil May Cry 4 Original Game Soundtrack. Searching for “Guitar Hero” brings up the iTunes Essentials My Groove Guitar Hero track listing.

iTunes Japan card 3000 yen

Procuring iTunes Japan cards.

There are quite a few options for purchasing iTunes Japan cards, but it’s important to do so through a source or outlet you trust. (You don’t want to pay money to find the code’s already been used on the card!) JList/JBox is the most established and well known online merchant selling the cards. The 1,500 yen card is $21.50 and the 3,000 yen card is $37.95. JList also will either send you the card through the mail or email you a scan of the card’s code, whichever you prefer.

Other small anime or Japanese specialty online stores also offer a similar service. For example, sells the 3,000 yen card for $34.95 and will also email you the code and/or send you the card, based on your preferences. eBay is another source for iTunes Japan cards, but make sure the seller has a high feedback rating and is someone you can trust before buying.

Of course, if you have a friend in Japan who can go out and pick up a card for you, that’s probably the best and easiest solution of all!

Using said cards to acquire iTunes Japan music.

First, you need to shift over to the Japanese iTunes store. It’s a simple process. Scroll down to the My Store selector and choose the very last option. It’s the only one in Kanji, so you’ll have no problem spotting it. You’ll automatically switch to iTunes Japan and be logged out of your iTunes account.

Since the process takes place in English, there’s really no explanation necessary. Just make sure you have the Japanese iTunes card by your side and a Japanese mailing address you can use.

There’s only one thing you may have to worry about, a glitch that is described in the JList iTunes account creation guide. Sometimes the account creation will not offer the “None” option when registering and will demand a credit card. Just click the home button and start over. The second time through the “None” button will appear.

COMING NEXT WEEK: Important Importables reviews the DS mini-game collection Vitamin Y.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT: Last week Important Importables discussed video game soundtracks..

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