Just as the title says: Why are bonus tracks so common in japanese versions of a release?

  • 2
    Please provide some examples...
    – user3169
    Commented Feb 25, 2015 at 22:31

2 Answers 2


According to a user on MetaFilter:

According to a friend who runs a small record label that occasionally does business in Japan: it's because it is invariably cheaper for Japanese buyers to import CDs rather than purchase them in their local record store. The extra tracks are there to provide an incentive for buying the domestic version. Without the extra tracks, Japanese retailers are reluctant to sell the CDs knowing that a large portion of the potential purchasers will simply be importing the product.

Another user adds:

In Japan, an import from Europe or the States sometimes is half what a domestic CD. The bonus tracks are to encourage Japanese to buy the Japanese edition. An import buyer I used to know in my record store days hypothesized more Japanese editions are sold to US OCD collectors than in Japan on some titles.

I recall that a similar tactic was also used for European releases in the 1990s, because it was cheaper for record shops to import US CDs.


This is a guess, but a reasonably educated one…

JASRAC, the Japanese equivalent of PRS/MCPS/PPL [idk the US equivalents if someone wants to edit those in] has traditionally been considerably more lax in what it considers 'legitimate for release' [I'm using these terms very loosely, I'm neither a lawyer nor publishing expert]

This could result in releases such as the Beatles "Unsurpassed Masters" series, which ran to about 14 CDs last time I bought one there; which was in effect an entire suite of Beatles outtakes & unreleased versions, unavailable in any other country at the time.
Most of the material was actually released world-wide in the past 10 years, but at the time would have simply been considered 'bootleg' anywhere else.

My extension to that premise is that the record company could 'legally' under JASRAC add extra tracks - unfinished tracks, early demo versions etc - without the artist's permission.

  • This doesn't answer the question at all. You're talking about bootlegs, OP is asking about bonus tracks.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:35
  • 1
    last paragraph answers the question, prior to that is why it may answer the question.
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:45
  • It still remains speculation, and doesn't answer the question: why would they do this, considering it would involve extra effort and extra costs.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:50
  • 1
    I think you're being picky. Add my answer to your answer & you have the entire reason. Either alone doesn't fully explain it. For a pure marketing explanation, these tracks have to come from somewhere. Where do they come from & how do they get on the album? Why aren't they just put on the EU/US releases too?
    – Tetsujin
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:53
  • Because bands submit them. I've read plenty of anecdotes from bands where they deliberately record songs for B-Sides and Japanese bonus tracks. And the reason they're not on the US/EU editions is exactly the reason they're on the Japanese editions.
    – BCdotWEB
    Commented Feb 26, 2015 at 9:58

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