Update: Avex has announced that this ban will only affect a narrow amount of animation and image releases, not music under Avex groups. The post has been updated to reflect that information.
Avex Pictures has announced an export ban has been placed on all animation and image Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs that prohibits their sale outside of Japan.
It was something that seemed to be hinted at by Amazon.jp announcing that Avex products would not be available for export a while back, and has apparently been implemented by other sites such as CDJapan as of 6:00 PM on February 15th (JST).
This ban affects all online shops within Japan.
According to JpopAsia, Avex has confirmed that music releases under Avex Group will not be affected by the ban. This export ban affects only animation and image releases. However, this doesn’t explain why some albums were blocked on Amazon.jp. It could be related to them misinterpreting the ban and applying it to all products instead of only the anime releases.
– Original post follows –
From a business perspective, this is a bad move from all ends. You’re cutting off the entire world and relying solely on sales for a single region, which will affect sales drastically. You’re reducing exposure for all of your artists which means that promising new artists will not be able to perform overseas because of lack of familiarity.
In fact, performing overseas seems like something we might not even see happen if this export ban affects all artists under the Avex umbrella and that’s disheartening.
The biggest victims of this export ban are the fans who actually want to give more money to support artists from Japan. Those who spend around $30 (for shipping from Japan) to buy a single and wait weeks just so they can enjoy a few songs when they could simply go on a torrent site and get it for free.
It’s unclear what the motivation is for this move, as the majority of the other (smarter) labels have embraced international fans to great success with many artists gaining massive popularity. It could be as simple as Avex trying to get royalty payments for all products or maybe they just sincerely dislike money.
Ironically enough, the Avex pictures site still lists the following message on their site:
Using visual media to bring dreams, hope, excitement, and emotion to people all over the world.
Right, thanks Avex.