YOUTUBE’S NEW POLICY CHANGE AFFECTS AMERICAN JAPANESE MUSIC FANS
Yesterday, some international fans of Japanese music discovered that several YouTube channels for various labels / acts were suddenly unavailable. It was then realized that this restriction was limited to the United States. The supposed culprit: YouTube RED. YouTube RED is YouTube’s new subscription service. For $9.99 a month, subscribers are given ad-free access to YouTube, access to Google Play Music, and other incentives.
The launch of YouTube RED has not been without controversy though. It was widely reported yesterday that ESPN has pulled nearly all of its content from YouTube due to “rights and legal issues.” YouTube says that companies that do not sign off on YouTube RED will find their videos unavailable to viewers. Since YouTube RED is only available in the US as of now, this blockage is limited to the US, for now.
It is unknown whether Japanese labels / acts don’t agree with YouTube RED or whether they just don’t know about it. These newly unavailable channels run the gamut of Japanese music, from idol powerhouse AKB48 to small indie label P-VINE. Whether these channels become available again in the US remains to be seen. But this could begin to affect Japanese music listeners worldwide soon seeing as how YouTube RED will soon be a global thing.
As an American, I can access this blocked content via my VPN. But what will happen as YouTube RED rolls out worldwide? In a scene where Japan-only content is the norm, YouTube RED is blocking the channels of labels / acts that are internet / foreigner-friendly. Several affected channels upload full music videos. Some of these labels / acts are so small that their content won’t reuploaded on other video streaming sites due to a lack of support. Even internationally available videos by Sony acts as Ling Tosite Sigure and Yasuda Rei have been blocked. Sony is known for being very Japan-only in their approach to YouTube, so what little access there was is now cut off.
YouTube is squarely to blame here. They are harming a situation that was working perfectly fine in an effort to make more money. It’s their company, I get that. But what will happen as YouTube RED rolls out worldwide and more and more people find that the content they like is no longer available? Is YouTube signing its own death warrant with these actions?
Known list of channels that are now blocked in the US:
Victor Entertainment (and channels by acts under them like Sakanaction, Southern All Stars, Hoshino Gen, and Leo Ieiri)
Columbia Music Japan (and channels by acts under them like TRUSTRICK, clammbon, and Not yet)
Up-Front (and channels by acts under them like Morning Musume, Juice=Juice, LoVendoЯ, and C-ute)
Pony Canyon (and channels by acts under them like aiko, w-inds., Katahira Rina, and cinema staff)
Teichiku (and channels by acts under them like Sayuri Ishikawa and X4)
Ling Tosite Sigure
LEGO BIG MORL
Flying Dog (and channels by acts under like Maaya Sakamoto)
Being (and channels by acts under like B’z, Mai Kuraki, Meiri Alaha, and BREAKERZ)
DIR EN GREY
If you can find more, please post them below.
UPDATE: I just spoke to tricot’s manager and he said that they are blocked because of YouTube RED. They’re trying to fix the situation though. It’s really ironic for them because they are currently on tour in the US.
SECOND UPDATE: I’m currently contacting as many labels as I can on the list of blocked channels. But also, feel free to use social media and contact the artists yourselves. I’ve found that tweeting acts in English actually works because it stands out from all the Japanese tweets they normally get.