This is a simple guide that I hoped I would not have to create, as I’ve been pushing for well over a year for the user-friendly issues on KarenT.jp to get fixed. But with many fans likely confused about whether they can even buy some of the music from their favorite producer or not, I felt something needs to be done. If you’re an older or more experienced Vocaloid fan, chances are you might not need this guide (but who knows, maybe you’ll learn something new).
First of all, what is KarenT? KarenT is Crypton Future Media’s own record label, where they partner with various Vocaloid musicians to make their music digitally available worldwide. Many producers might not have the time or ability to push for the exposure of their music on a world-wide scale, so this service from Crypton is highly useful and beneficial to Vocaloid producers for commercializing their music. Each album release is also advertised on the official Hatsune Miku Facebook page, which garners over 2.5 million followers (making this problem even more critical).
So what is the problem we’re talking about? Before sometime in 2012, KarenT used to be much more catering towards non-Japanese visitors. Each album page included links to various album purchase sources, not just iTunes. Additionally, the iTunes links also used to direct to the correct language based on the KarenT site language (.com/jp/ for the Japanese KarenT site, .com/us/ for the English site, etc). Sometime in 2012, however, this changed. All links now direct to the Japanese iTunes page, regardless of the language you view KarenT in. Even worse, they no longer list the other music sources available, despite the albums still being published on these sites.
This presents two main problems for Vocaloid fans that have been in the community for less than 3 years, or for those that haven’t dug further on their own:
1: Directing to the Japanese iTunes store leads many newer and inexperienced Vocaloid fans to believe the music is Japan-only. They wouldn’t know it’s available on their own region’s store, or think they will be forced to somehow create a Japanese iTunes account.
2: Vocaloid fans think iTunes is the only option, and give up on buying the music (not everyone uses iTunes, and some avoid it like the plague).
To access the songs for your own region, or from alternate sources, is quite simple. If you’re an iTunes user, simply select “iTunes” from the store links on the page of the album you’re interested in. Then change the “/jp/” in the iTunes store URL to your own region (/sg/ for Singapore, /de/ for Germany, etc) to see the music on your own store, and the proper price. Alternatively, you can also just remove the /jp/ completely and have it redirect to the default U.S. store.
What if you’re not an iTunes user? Because the alternate services for the albums are not directly linked for each album, finding them is somewhat more challenging. First, you have to scroll to the very bottom of the KarenT website to see the other services KarenT uses.
Yes, the BOTTOM, the last place someone would think to look for the link of the album they want to buy. Pick a service that best suits your personal preference (mine happens to be AmazonMP3, also available in Canada, UK, Germany, etc), then simply search the album or song name you want to buy.
These small hurdles may seem elementary to older or experienced Vocaloid fans, but you would be surprised by the number of people in the community I’ve seen that did not know these options were available, and upon hearing the news, made a mad rush to purchase an album from their favorite Vocaloid producer. Hopefully this problem will eventually be fixed in the future. Happy music listening, everyone!