Parting the (YouTube) Red Sea: J-Pop and the Western World

With the introduction to YouTube Red and subsequent changes to YouTube’s DMCA algorithm, there is one market that was seemingly forgotten: J-Pop.

Since announcing paid subscriptions via YouTube Red, content creators have become increasingly nervous and excited about the generating new revenue and increasing their ability to reach new audiences with new content. However, what seems to lost in this are international producers and artists such as AKB48. Since the YouTube Red program is opt-in, content producers must allow YouTube to authorize their content to be viewable to various audiences, lest they become out-right blocked.

It seems YouTube’s message did not reach Japanese Music Label’s fax machines.

For content creators it means a lot more, the little small print that said “If you do not opt-in to the service your videos would be blocked, made private in the United States and coming soon the world.”

Who’s there to blame? Well, large media conglomerates in Japan have been known to be slow (or resistant) change, so it isn’t surprising to see the media companies take their time in evaluating their options and decide for themselves how to expand their international operations. Some claim the fix is as simple as “[agreeing] and everybody makes money” to something as complicated as “we had contractual agreements already agreed to”, all equally valid arguments. Given the amount of time it took to adopt Netflix in Japan, it may take a while before both parties agree to the changes.

One thing is clear, however: the western fanbase is not happy.

“YouTube is holding our Idols hostage and if you don`t give them back, we are storming the castle walls.”

And neither are the artists.