Every once in a while, I come across an anime song cover album while browsing albums on Spotify. I’ve found there are a bunch of these albums from various artists and most of them also are listed on Amazon MP3 and other services. Something about them being on legitimate music services bothers me a bit because I get the feeling they are gaining from other artist’s lyrics.
Most of the groups listed on these music services are published through Cyber Chord Records & Anime Records and the name Eddy Hoefler comes up when doing a search for those labels. The latter operates out of Berlin, Germany, according to that label’s website.
One artist who stands out from the lot is Shiroku, whose catalog is mostly covers but also features some original songs. She performs concerts at conventions and had attempted a crowdfunding campaign earlier this year for a fourth CD album of anime favorites but it seemed to have not reached its goal.
I suppose another way of looking at Western-produced anime song cover albums is to think of them as similar to doujin music releases that are often sold at Japanese fan events like Comiket since both are produced by fans of particular series or genres. I’m more interested in original doujin albums rather than the ones that mainly remix or reinterpret game soundtracks (Touhou has a popular subject for years). I was glad to learn last night that some artists like Buta-Otome have branched out into producing some original albums after getting their start through Touhou vocal and instrumental albums.
After thinking about the matter that way, I guess I don’t feel as irritated as I once was, especially if I consider it a way for some budding artists to express themselves and potentially get noticed. I remain curious about the legal issues surrounding cover and tribute bands in general. There are many rock tribute bands across the US – and presumably around the world – and I’ve never really felt comfortable about them either as I’d rather hear the originals and maybe some creative remixes.
Not super knowledgable in this area, but for what it’s worth, I know that Disko Warp‘s two anime cover CDs were properly licensed/obtained permission for the usage of the songs, so I’m sure many cover artists do make an effort to reach out to the original artists. (Weird Al gets permission/the original artists’ blessings for all his parodies too, right?)
Remix culture is clearly a big thing in Japanese music though, given the popularity of karaoke (including venues that will help you record a CD) and karaoke tracks being readily available in many cases.
That’s good to hear about Disko Warp’s albums and maybe that’s also the case with the ones I was discussing – I just haven’t been able to find very much background information showing they have tried to do so.
I have a similar experience as you, but i don’t know how forgivable I am about it in the sense that they are selling their music via “traditional” means, so I expect their music to be better, if at least that. Most of the time I get better remixes of stuff if I just surf on soundcloud and youtube, so i find these guys just trying to profit where most people aren’t for whatever the reason.
thanks for your brief report about Anime Records and Shiroku. You are with everything right, except out motivations. I started to license an release original japanese Anime songs in 2001. After stopping this business (cause of the decreasing selling) I continued with some vocal artists to release covers. Our aim is to keep Anime Music alive, spread the music and to present the fans selected songs we think everybody should here and love them as we do. So we made for example a series called “Ten anime songs everybody should sing”.
And please don´t forget: All our songs we release are properly licensed and the Original Artists are payed!