Wonderful story about Japanese music collectors in The Wall Street Journal by Neil Shah:
For decades, Japan’s record shops have scoured the globe for records to feed the nation’s collectors. Employees of Japanese retailer Disk Union once spent $20,000 in a day at Nashville’s The Great Escape record store hunting for tunes including ones treasured by Japan’s soft-rock and easy-listening fans. With U.S. record stores closing, this focus on obscure music is making supply difficult to find—and fueling secretive competition.
Japan has surpassed the U.S. as the biggest seller of CDs, vinyl and cassette tapes, with 25.4% of global sales, according to the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Tower Records Japan Inc.—which survived its U.S. parent’s closing in 2006—opens its 87th store this month.
Much of what the Japanese want goes for higher prices. Collectible artists in Japan include female pop singers like Patti Page, whose “(How Much Is) That Doggie in the Window” was a 1950s hit, and 1980s teen idol Debbie Gibson. A “Doggie” record-single goes for $5 in the U.S. and $30 in Japan, while Ms. Gibson’s LPs can fetch $200 on eBay. The Japanese “like sugary sweet pop,” collector Alec Palao says.
Japan is apparently all about the cheap crap that none of us care about any more.