It was a weekend like any other weekend, when I am helping someone in the JPop music industry and I send her concert video to a friend in America to look at .Unlike any other weekend my friend said “her video is blocked”. A concert that we are involved In helping her be showcased to the international idol world is suddenly without warning blocked in my friend’s home country.
Over the next few hours I received messages telling me that other well-known Japanese music groups , record labels , video reaction videos ,dance and vocal covers ,even Independent idol groups covering an AKB48 song in their concert to about 100 people was blocked.
At first I thought it was another twist in a backwards music industry trying to completely isolate our music artists to be domestic only.
That was until I discovered something called YouTube Red. YouTube Red, staff claims it sent notices to music companies 6 months ago, yet not me or any other friends in other idol music agencies had even heard of it. In fact I spent most of three days explaining to managers ,producers and even idols in various Independent Idol music agencies what it was as best as I understood it. I even mentioned it to a friend that works with Ebichu, seems no one knew of YouTube Red or that it would shut down your videos if you did not join.
YouTube Red for those just hearing the name is a new Premium service with a monthly fee from YouTube offering several advantages, including ad-free videos, and a number of other user benefits for a membership fee of $9.99 a month and you get videos with no ads, that you were a few days ago watching for free with your ad blocker turned on.
For content creators it means a lot more, the little small print that said “If you do not opt-in to the service your videos would be blocked, made private in the United States and coming soon the world.”
YouTube Red has been created to give its partner creators more income. Partner creators are channels that have reached certain requirements and most major companies fall under this term.
YouTube Red “claims” they have signed 99% of their partner creators ,which is great for them ,however the 1% left out is the Japanese ,Korean entertainment industry and I am sure a few more whose first language is not English and have their own domestic entertainment agreements they must respect.
As this 1% is not a concern for YouTube Red they have simply decided to turn off their ability to market themselves to the United States and if the service works later the rest of the world.
Holy shit! God save the US! pic.twitter.com/w570JOoj8F
— Tokyo Girls' Update (@TGU_JAPAN) October 26, 2015
If you ask a YouTube Red supporter they will say “all the company has to do is agree and everybody makes money”. Ask the other side and you get “we had contractual agreements already agreed to”, “or we don`t even know what it is” or in the fans view “YouTube is holding our Idols hostage and if you don`t give them back, we are storming the castle walls.”
Seems no one wants to take fault in JPOP videos being blocked in the United States.
The question here is not who is at fault , but does the Japanese music industry that has been slow to adopt change and accept international fans even fully know the seriousness of this situation or even care?
We hope Japanese music industry will care about the Red issue immediately. We wanna share same feeling at the same time without any borders!
— Tokyo Girls' Update (@TGU_JAPAN) October 26, 2015
As I said some people I know didn`t know about it and they currently are so small of agency that their groups are not blocked. But surely the 30 heavy players in our industry know that for days now their videos are being blocked.
Instead JPop companies, are ignoring foreign fan questions and working as business normal inside Japan.
— アンジュルム (@angerme_upfront) October 26, 2015
11月2日(月)の公演メンバーのお知らせ: 2015年11月2日(月)の公演メンバーをお知らせいたします。なお、出演メンバーは急遽変更となる場合がございます。ご了承下さい。2015年11月2日(月) 18:30 春風亭小… https://t.co/jIwJwYihGL
— AKB48 (@AKB48) October 27, 2015
— 小島夕佳@仮面女子:スチームガールズ (@kojima_yuuka) October 27, 2015
(Tweets related to Hello!Project Group ANGERME, AKB48 & Alice Project three of the 30 companies blocked by YouTube Red In the United States)
The time has long past that the industry took serious the economic value of gaining an international following. There are some smaller Idol companies trying to do just that because they have seen the fan pool in Japan and there is only so many otaku to bring under your charms.
I often hear from my peers in music, “why promote to foreign Idol fans, when it’s easier to just take safe money from otaku!” or “why do you write in English, when otaku fans are the heart of idol?”
Just because something is easy, doesn`t mean it’s the only option for success. Taking the easy road means you will become half of what you could have been. It means making your artists half of what they could have been.
Ask any small idol how she feels when she learns she has overseas fans. I can tell you everyone I told cries out of happiness. Idols want more than what agencies want and now is the chance for the Japanese music industry to make a change and take their foreign fans serious and take YouTube Red serious. It not enough to say that in Japan we have the second largest music market, one day the otaku might not be there, but the world will.
Foreign Idol fans, if you can afford to market to them, makes a difference. If you think not, just ask BABYMETAL, Just ask their agency Amuse. If YouTube Red is not taken serious by the music industry here in Japan, there might not be a next BABYMETAL type group success.
For the idol community this is the chance to speak up and move videos to Dailymotion and other services, to unite and help those cut off to find the alternative sites the videos are on, to be a voice of change and show the Japanese music industry that they can be just as mad as KPop fans about losing their favorite music groups.
There is no reason for YouTube Red to become the “Great Red Wall Against JPop!”
English Related Tweets from
Tokyo Girls` Update Twitter
On twitter I have hash tagged the post YouTube Red and SaveJPop. I hope this is one step in the process of doing that.
Special Thanks post publish & Follow ups
Many people around the world have reached out to me about this or shared the article.
I cannot thank everyone in this setting .two I want to make mention of and thank.
Thanks to everyone public and private who sent messages ,I’ll contact you in other ways.
YouTube Great Red Wall Against JPop https://t.co/isbB8o9gNH
— Tokyo Girls' Update (@TGU_JAPAN) October 28, 2015
— ヘイリン♡アキバKOALA (@akibakoala) October 28, 2015
To clear a point asked in a DM on Facebook
Us small Indie Idol agencies , didn`t know until after the blocks started. Big companies I expect did know. It seems like to me (my opinion ,YTRed is interested in the most revenue drawing channels, not everybody ). I can`t speak for everybody , just myself and those small indie Idol agencies I deal with daily. The gap between us and the Hello!Pro level is huge. I was talking about us small groups & producers like Aphrodite and others just trying to break out level, idol agencies in the shallow pond. I should explained that part better.
My overseas friend Jean-Francois has a article in French on this JPop/KPop vs You Tube Red fight.