Gaia Can't Buy Albums

The Dread of Region-Lock

Ahh, as many of you have seen on my other site, AnimeHDAudioList.info, as well as on the old version of ASoundUpgrade.com, there has been many albums given the tag you don’t want to see: JAPAN-ONLY. Unless you have a Japanese credit card, have a friend willing to buy for you, or found a way to circumvent that, you and I are not likely to be able to purchase those albums in high-res format.

I reluctantly post those albums knowing that it is not simple to buy them, and many of them I really want to purchase! Mainly due to licensing, albums even in the digital realm are country or region-locked because rights holders hold the stakes in certain intellectual property.

Blu-Rays of Macross Frontier and non-OG Super Robot Wars games are examples of other region-locked stuff I want to buy, although for slightly different licensing reasons (Macross Frontier is due to Harmony-Gold’s restriction, Super Robot Wars due to many copyrights needed to pay and not expected to sell well outside of Asia).

Which Region-Locked Albums are in Question?

Today I was revisiting a page I bought 2 digital albums for $9.00 a piece a week ago from a doujin music group called en;Dolphin Records. I listened to their albums on Bandcamp and really loved their original house and electro lounge, especially the following two albums I purchased on their Bandcamp site:

After streaming the songs for a couple of times,I went and bought those two albums. I downloaded the FLAC version and checked they were indeed 16-bit/44.1kHz and played them both on my Foobar2000 and into my smartphone.

But today when I revisited the site out of curiosity, I decided to pay a visit to their homepage from the link on their Bandcamp site. There was an entry of their music in Hi-Res, and if course I got excited (a bit upset on myself since I did not purchase the superior resolution). But there was a giant problem: the 24-bit/96kHz Hi-Res FLAC files were on mora.jp, a store I have seen countless times posting and where one I cannot easily purchase albums.

Ahh, how frustrating to know that those albums exist, but I can’t get them because I don’t live in Japan!

gaia2endolphinGaia expressing my reactions

These albums, along with the ones on the title image of this post (Aldnoah.Zero Original Soundtrack, Macross Frontier Vocal Collection, UnChild, and Utada Hikaru Single Collections 1) are among the most wanted albums for me, but I cannot just go and buy the Hi-Res versions outright. I can get the CDs from sites like CDJapan, Play-Asia, or YesAsia, but I would want the best available version there is.

Like preferring Blu-Rays to DVDs, or PS4 games to PS3 games, I want to have the finest available to the public (and not paying an arm and a leg for limited editions) that I can buy. Unfortunately I do not have any contacts there right now to purchase for me, and another problem is that I do not have much money at the moment (I am also trying to improve my income) but I would really want to legitimately grow my audio collection and show my appreciation to the artists for their hard work.

No Use Crying Over

For now I am truly happy with the albums from Bandcamp, and thank the artists of en;Dolphin Records for their fine job on their albums, creating relaxing tunes for listening while sipping coffee and writing this article. I will find a way to get their Hi-Res albums, and along with the other Japan-Only albums in the near future.

en;Dolphin Records’ Bandcamp store
en;Dolphin Records’ mora store

(This post was originally published on April 27, 2015)

(June 25, 2015 edit) -You can actually purchase the 24-bit, 96kHz albums at Ototoy