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774: Presidents of the United States of America
773: Keith
767: Tony Williams Lifetime Tribute
764: Kaiser Chiefs
760: Tim and Puma Mimi
759: Ice Cube
758: Vinyl Soul
757: Bajofondo
755: The Troubadours
752: Spiritualized at Summer Sonic
749: Cajun Dance Party
744: Heat and Noise
739: The Checks
737: Blue King Brown
735: Asian Dub Foundation
734: Scouting For Girls
732: Buzzcocks
730: Old Man River
728: The Kills
726: KT Tunstall
725: Jason Collett
722: Brotherís Sisterís Daughter
720: Sufjan Stevens
716: Gossip
714: The Go! Team
713: Cafť Tacvba
711: Celtic Woman
709: Jack PeŮate
706: Soulive
703: Animal Collective
703: Reverend and The Makers
702: Battles
700: Dinosaur Jr
696: The Polyphonic Spree
695: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
692: Golden Age of Rock
691: One Fine Day
688: Rhombus
687: Corneille
685: The Cinematic Orchestra
683: 747s
680: Pete Murray
679: Mice Parade
678: Enter Shikari
676: The View
674: !!!
671: Donavon Frankenreiter
670: Herbie Hancock
669: Krystal Meyers
668: The Roots
666: Lily Allen
664: Two for Christmas
663: The Datsuns
661: Peaches
660: Tapes ín Tapes
658: Mystery Jets
656: Shayne Ward
654: The Beat
653: Eumir Deodato
652: Mt. Fuji Calling
650: Juno Reactor
649: Yo La Tengo
648: Hyde Park Music Festival
647: Juana Molina
646: Sierra Leoneís Refugee All Stars
645: Tool
644: Juan Formell y Los Van Van
643: The Benevento-Russo Duo
641: TV On The Radio
639: Summer Music Festival Guide 2006
638: ESG
636: Editors
634: Greenroom
632: Ben Harper
630: Matmos
627: Arctic Monkeys
626: Erykah Badu
624: Cake
622: Bent Left
620: Mogwai
618: Deerhoof
617: The Album Leaf
616: Tristan Prettyman
614-615: 10, 9, 8....
613: Madonna
612: John Tropea and Incognito
610: Boy
608: Underworld
607: Niyaz
606: The Beautiful Girls
605: Miho Hatori
604: Doves
600: Bang Gang
598: Feist
596: Fantomas
595: Hyde Park Music Festival
593: Little Barrie
591: Juliette Lewis
589: James Chance & The Contortions
588: Carnival: Vice Bongo 1st Anniversary Party
585: Stereophonics
583: Little Joe Washington
581: Caetano Veloso
579: Maximo Park
578: Moe
577: Death From Above 1979
576: Destiny’s Child
575: Megadeth
574: Bandstand
572: Ozomatli
570: The Dirty Dozen Brass Band
568: Prefuse 73
566: Pat Metheny
565: Rachel Yamagata
564: The Shins
563: The Music
561-562: Metropolis music survey 2004
559: Blues Explosion
557: The Libertines
555: G. Love
554: Dropkick Murphys
553: Kasabian
552: Fertile Ground
551: Recliner
550: Jah Shaka
548: Faithless
547: Tokyo Rotation
546: Yokosuka Reggae Super Bash
545: The Roots
544: True People's Celebration
543: Trans Europe Fes
542: Matthew Sweet
541: Heaven Artists
540: Manolito y su Trabuco
539: Rabble rouser
537: The Offspring
535: Janet Kay with Omar and Thriller U
533: Critters Buggin’
532: Cyndi Lauper
531: Cat Power
530: Standing in the shadows
528: Missy Elliott
527: Stereolab
526: Organic Groove
525: Questions of the day
523: Tough Cookie
521: Conversion
520: Iggy's inner artist
519: Control freak chic
518: Down to the Wire
517: Incubus
516: Kraftwerk
515: Black Eyed Peas
514: Pretenders
513: Sonicmania
511: Suburban funk boys
509/10: Incognito
508: Celtic Xmas 2003
507: Limp Bizkit
506: Robert Randolph and the Family Band
505: Out on a limb
503: Electraglide
501: Super Furry Animals
499: Geezer's groove
498: Ashanti
497: Syn city
496: Slacker rock rules!
495: Television
494: Lou Reed
493: Joao Gilberto
492: The Used
491: Gypsy Summer 2003
490: The Lucksmiths
489: Maxi Priest & Shaggy
488: Chuck Berry
487: Summer Sonic
486: The redheaded stepchild makes good
485: Positive punk mom
484: Duran Duran
483: Unapologetically acoustic
482: Break and Remake
481: Ron Sexmith
480: Folk Implosion
479: The Brand New Heavies
478: The Blood Brothers
477: Eminem
476: The Kills
475: Jackson Browne
474: N.E.R.D.
473: Shred a tabloid, make music
472: Garage Redux
471: Bringing the jams east
470: Asian Dub Foundation
469: Badly Drawn Boy
468: Massive Attack
467: Teenage Fanclub
466: The All Wave Grrls
465: J. Mascis + the Fog
464: Catching up with Sonic Youth
463: Deep Forest
462: Magic Rockout
461: Jurassic 5
460: Snuff
459: Queens of the Stone Age
457/8: On the phone: The Jeevas
456: K-Ci & JoJo and The Roots
455: Sleater-Kinney
454: Beast Feast
453: Contrasts in young UK rock
452: Tahiti 80
451: Pink
450: The Artist (no longer) formerly known as..
449: Paul McCartney Previewed
447: Jamiroquai
446: On the phone: Taxiride
445: Bad Religion
444: Jennifer Love Hewitt
443: Camp in Asagiri Jam
442: The Cinematic Orchestra
441: On the phone: Moby
440: True People's Celebration
439: Roots Revival
438: The politics of sampling
437: Summer Sonic sampler
436: The Jazz Mandolin Project
435: Indie icons
434: Cato Salsa Experience
433: Get's Bossa Nova 2002
432: Janet Kay with Omar
431: Kottonmouth Kings
430: Bowes & Morley
429: Christina Milian
428: Elvis Costello
427: Space Kelly
426: Diana Krall
425: Jay-Z
424: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion
423: The Brian Setzer Orchestra
422: Weezer
421: The Music
420: Lenny Kravitz
419: Speech
418: Tool
417: Green Day
416: Chuck Berry & James Brown
415: Ozomatli
414: Britney Spears
413: Music Mary J. Blige
412: Incubus
411: The Chemical Brothers
410: David Byrne
409: The Prodigy
408: Roger Walters
407: Ozzy Osbourne
406: Lisa Loeb
405: Aerosmith
404: Garbage
403: Sloan
402: Jamiriquoi
401: Park Tower Blues Festival
400: Mercury Rev
399: Bjork
398: The Isley Brothers
397: Janet Jackson
396: Ian Brown
395: Tortoise Orchestra
394: Regurgitator
393: Art Garfunkel
392: Belle and Sebastian
391: Super Furry Animals
390: Ben Folds
389: Elton John
388: Dido
387: Papa Roach
386: Beast Feast 2001
385: Summersonic
384: David Sylvian
383: Maxi Priest & Big Mountain
382: Fuji Rock Festival 01
381: Roxy Music
380: Bo Diddley
379: John McLaughlin & Zakir Hussain in Remember Shakti
378: Paul Weller
377: Coolio
376: Backyard Babies
375: Marcus Miller
374: Black Crowes
373: Megadeath
372: Dionne Warwick
371: Arrested Development
370: Mouse on Mars
369: Duran Duran
368: Linkin Park
367: Maceo Parker
366: Japan Blues Carnival 2001
365: Ben Harper
364: Cheap Trick
363: Stephen Malkmus
362: Mogwai
361: Weezer
360: Marilyn Manson
359: Green Day
358: AC/DC
357: Richard Thompson
356: Bob Dylan
355: J. Mascis
354: Leigh Stephen Kenny
352/3: Limp Bizkit
351: Boyz II Men
350: Reef
349: Park Tower Blues Festival
348: Roni Size
347: Compay Segundo
346: Incognito
345: Jimmy Page and The Black Crowes
344: Bad Religion
343: Japan Soul Festival 2000
342: Rocktober 2000
341: Richard Ashcroft
340: Motorhead
339: Festival Halou
338: Ricky Martin
337: Taj Mahal
336: Asian Dub Foundation
335: Lou Reed
334: Earth, Wind & Fire
333: Sting
332: No Doubt
331: Camel
330: Fuji Rock: Smash Talks
329: Summer Sonic
328: Mt. Fuju Aid 2000
327: Salif Keita
326: Buena Vista Social Club
325: Bill Frisell
324: Maxi Priest
323: Lenine
322: Rage Against the Machine
321: Tommy Flanagan Trio
320: Smashing Pumpkins
319: Pet Shop Boys
318: Japan Blues Carnival
317: Gipsy Kings
316: Steely Dan
315: Pshish
314: Big Night Out
313: Femi Kuti and the Positive Force
312: Harry Connick Jr.
311: Sonny Rollins
310: Speech
309: Santana

by Dan Grunebaum

Metropolis music survey 2004

iPods and ringtones scored big. Look for full song mobile phone downloads in 2005.

Much like in the rest of the world, Japan's music industry was wracked by continued convulsions in 2004. The major labels, in particular, were slammed by forces including-but not limited to-rampant digital downloading and CD burning. Two events illustrated their declining power.

The first was when ultra-idoru Ayumi Hamasaki engineered a virtual coup d'etat at record company Avex, arranging the promotion of her manager, Masato "Max" Matsuura to president, after senior management had tried to force her out. Japan's top entertainment taxpayer for two years running, Hamasaki reportedly produces 30 percent of her label's profits. The second event illustrating the dire straits of the music biz was Parliament's passage, after intense lobbying by the majors, of a law banning reverse imports of cheap J-pop CDs produced in low-cost Asian countries.

Metropolis surveyed a cross section of readers and music industry professionals about 2004 in music and came up with some intriguing findings.

Readers and industry insiders alike put forth as tops in the domestic market big names like No. 1 seller R&B diva Hikaru Utada, pop duo Tackey & Tsubasa, the aforementioned Hamasaki, omnipresent crooner Ken Hirai, and youthful indie-flavored rockers Orange Range and Asian Kung Fu Generation.

Both commercially and critically successful, Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand and their song "Take Me Out" were a favorite, although many also cited Beyonce, Alicia Keys and actual No. 1-selling foreign act, Canadian pop-punkette Avril Lavigne.

In terms of the worst artist or song, many Japanese were unwilling to single anyone out. Avex's Toshie Hagiwara was an exception, citing "Center Guy: Buchiage Trance" as the worst song. Foreigners were more forthcoming, with one naming Hikaru Utada's "Easy Breezy" because of "the lyrics and the fact that it was overplayed," another, DJ/producer Gio of Dakini Records, choosing the "singer from Creed singing the national anthem at the last Red Sox/Yankees playoff game," and reader Hari Tahil from England, simply "any rap."

The obvious music biz trend of 2004 was, as one nameless reader put it, "iPods everywhere." But when it came to music itself, opinions diverged wildly. Steven Coterill of England cited the "death of progressive house," while American Dan Stifler cited "cafe music."

Industry insiders' views broke down mainly by what sector of the music industry respondents hailed from. Record company people cited the phenomenal growth of iPods and downloadable ringtones as the most important trend in music in 2004, while those on the concert promotion side such as Johnnie Fingers of Smash chose "the onslaught of too many music festivals over the summer months."

Perhaps the most culturally significant music trend of 2004 was the K-boom, in which Kasia Wojtkowski of promoter Kyodo Tokyo observed, "The success of a TV drama allowed an introduction to Korean musicians...great, considering the history that Japan and Korea have [and] interesting to consider how music can make a difference in history."

Music marketing and promotion professional Aska Mizogaki also noted the trend of boy idoru factory "Johnnie's kind of fading out and lots of girl idoru groups coming to the market," while another humorously offered "improved lip-synching skills among J-pop stars."

Next year's directions followed on this year's. One music industry consultant, for example, called the progression from ringtones to full song mobile phone downloads the "hands-down" trend of 2005, projecting it would wipe Japan's current download services and Apple's planned launch of a Japanese version of the iTunes store off the map.

Others cited the continuing emergence of "one-hit wonder" indie bands like the aforementioned Orange Range, which would make it difficult for established bands to survive. Still another, Tom Bojko, author of a forthcoming autobiography of Bill Laswell, offered the intriguing possibility of "promoters getting gigs together for and assuming some of the risk of overseas acts not yet proven in Japan."

When it came to the music itself, respondents came forth with a range of obscure, as yet unknown musical styles. One reader, for instance, said "low-fi math rock" would be next year's hip sound, while dance music promoter Yoichi Oyama of Brand New Made said this year's "electro" wave would be supplanted next year by the sound of "grime."

On the question of the Internet's influence on music, readers were unanimous. "Hurting the industry, helping the punter," was a typical comment. The pros were decidedly more ambiguous than consumers. Label head Gio noted the cruel fact that downloading probably "lopped off at least a third of expected sales for most releases" with the result of "less time/care put into album releases."

But the positives were also numerous. Clubbing promoter Luciano Uchizono noted that the Internet has "made our job easy as we are now able to book artists in minutes" while DJ Mike McKenna hailed the Net, saying, "Information is power! The Internet allows people to access music and information they do not get through Japan's mass media."

Either way, the consensus was that the music industry will have to learn to live with it. "As with any new technology, there has to be a time for experimentation to see what works," said Kyodo's Wojtkowski. "The Internet is waking up the music industry," added Smash's Fingers. "Particularly record companies that milked buyers when CDs came out. Now it's the buyers' turn."

"The Internet is becoming the place where the music industry does business. Helping or hurting? I don't know, but it is causing the industry to evolve, and with evolution there can be improvement for all," said writer Bojko, adding, "for consumers the Internet is great...they can discover new music they find satisfying and quit whining about being bombarded with the same old commercial shit."

The consensus on last year's best concert seems to have been American alt-rockers the Pixies reunion show at the Fuji Rock Festival. Bands who readers and pros want to see tour Japan next year, finally, ranged from hot Canadian rockers Arcade Fire, to R&B heartthrob Usher, with U2 getting the most votes.

To conclude, this writer has one musical wish for 2005. Commercial establishments across Japan: Please stop haranguing us with endless cheesy Christmas music! Doesn't this qualify as cruel and unusual punishment under the auditory abuse section of the Geneva Convention?

credit: Dan Grunebaum

Would you like to comment on this article? Send a letter to the editor at letters@metropolis.co.jp.

Metropolis 2004 Music Survey

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