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This is possibly off topic, but I couldn't find a more relevant stack exchange site.

Why does Japan get bonus tracks on their CDs?

In particular I have noticed this with CDs from Arctic Monkeys and The Wombats. The Wombats have also released a Japan only EP "The Wombats Go Pop! Pop! Pop!" (Wikipedia)

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locked by Matthew Read May 30 '13 at 15:36

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closed as off topic by Matthew Read May 30 '13 at 15:36

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I don't see how this can possibly be seen as on-topic. –  slim Dec 12 '11 at 11:21
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"This is possibly off topic, but I couldn't find a more relevant stack exchange site." –  Stephen Tierney Dec 13 '11 at 0:03
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Yeah, but it's not "possibly" off topic. It's definitely far off topic; and the second half of the sentence has no relevance. SE doesn't promise to have a site for every question you can think of. I don't get to ask "what kind of socks should I wear when playing tiddlywinks", and put it in unix.so because "I couldn't find a more relevant SE site". Sorry; until there's a consumermedia.so, the question isn't at home anywhere on SO. –  slim Dec 13 '11 at 10:16

2 Answers 2

up vote 6 down vote accepted

This isn't limited to just Japan, its often the case that record companies and bands issue slightly different releases of the same album, dependant on country. So some countries might have a slightly different track listing and or some B-Sides or a couple of extra tracks.

This used to happen a lot between the US and the UK as record companies adjusted for differences in what was culturally acceptable in the two countries, doesn't happen as much any more.

Its also not limited to the content of records either, sometimes separate album artwork is created for an individual country.

Check out this Wiki article on "Are you Experienced" - Jimi Hendrix Experience to see what i mean:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Are_You_Experienced

As for releasing an album only for a particular market; this is based on how receptive the market is to the album, and is the same for any product regardless of whether its music or not. So the record company thought that the record would sell in Japan but not as much elsewhere, so they decided to spend their marketing budget only in Japan. They know that other people who want it can still use the internet :)

Virtuoso guitarists like Yngwie Malmsteen and Paul Gilbert, seem to do very well in Japan

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There does appear to be a strong urge in Japan to use more of the available space on a CD. I seem to remember that Philips wanted the standard CD to be 60 minutes in length. But Sony insisted that it be long enough to contain the longest known recording of Beethoven's 9th Symphony (IIRC, it was Karajan's recording), because it is a very popular "Christmas Song" in Japan.

I suspect the cause is "market pressure", ie. that's what they think the people want.

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