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Where Do You Find Your Foreign Music? 54

Midnight Thunder asks: "There issue of music downloads, and paying for your music, has been discussed many time before here on Slashdot. Generally when you head down to your local music store you are limited to a choice of music adapted to your local market. I tend to find that trying to get hold of non-English music, here in North America, from sources other than P2P file sharing is almost impossible. What do you do if you heard a track on a streaming internet music station, or from a friend with an MP3 version, that is not available in your country, what do you do to get a 'legitimate' copy of the track and reward the artist?"
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Where Do You Find Your Foreign Music?

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  • They have a pretty wide selection of international music imports.

    Or are you talking about sending the artist a quarter for each track you downloaded off the Web?
    • I haven't been too impressed with is a little better, but all to often the forign music they do have are usually specials adapted for the North American market. For example I felt like checking out Nena (99 Red Balloons or 99 Luftballons, in German), but the copy I found at HMV had more english music than German. I am of the sentiment that an artist sounds better when they are singing in their native language.

      At work I have some Romanian and Tunisian collegues, who brought in their music. When I asked them where the got it, they told be that they either asked a friend who was going over to the country, or downloaded it online, off Kazaa or something of the sorts. It wasn't really the answer I was looking for :(

      I definetly feel that any company that starts providing music online legally would be filling a very evident niche, if they provided music that you can't but from your usual retailers.
      • Re:Order from Amazon (Score:1, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Try ordering from the regional - for example, when I went shopping for Kurosawa's Ikiru DVD, I went to, rather than
        There are, I would imagine, cases where there isn't an for your region and there isn't a online/catalogue vendor from said region. In such a situation, an online music vendor would be a very handy thing to have.
  • Emusic (Score:2, Interesting)

    by JumpSuit Boy ( 29166 )
    The never mentioned legal music download site. $10 a month all you can eat legal mp3's.

    The non-western stuff is mainly indian and african but there is a lot of good stuff in there.

    I ,honestly, am just a very happy customer.
    • The never mentioned legal music download site.

      Never mentioned?! Every time the subject of music delivery comes up, some shill or other posts a comment almost exactly like yours. I don't know whether this is part of an organized ad campaign or really, as you say, just a bunch of happy customers, but the net result is that this whatever-it-is is hardly "never mentioned."
      • I used to belong to emusic (when they had the big They Might Be Giants selections, got a free TMBG pullover fleece out of the sign up deal too). I was very happy with it. Small price to pay for all the music I got. I would still belong but now that I no longer have broadband at home (moved) the amount of music I am able to download is not worth the price/time.
  • Well... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ewhenn ( 647989 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @09:54PM (#5490153)
    .. for one thing quit looking at Media Play, Best Buy, etc. Look in the phone book for a local shop. They tend to have more of an obscure selection. Lots tend to concentrate on local music, but many also have a good import selection. In my area there is a great New World record shop.
    • Indeed- Neither Best Buy nor Media Play give you a selection of good world music, let alone one of local music (outside a token group or two, unless you have a strong local music scnene)
  • (Score:2, Interesting)

    Back when was its own entity, I managed to get some foreign CDs at very reasonable prices. I haven't had much experience with it since it merged with eBay, but it's definitely worth a shot. If you're looking for Japanese stuff, it may be worth checking to see if there's a Mitsuwa Marketplace [] that isn't prohibitively far.


  • I know it's a well-worn topic, but I've had the same problem getting hold of more specific genres locally as well. Take Jazz for example: many recordings by well-known artists (especially international ones) aren't available here, and when the are, they're often special imports which attract a large fee. I've extended my rare album/live/bootleg collection vastly thanks to P2P. As far as this argument goes (as we all usually say): if it's in my local record shop I will support the artists and buy it there first.
    • I listen to 20th century classical music, mostly. Same deal.

      It's really goddamn sad that I can't get 100 hits on "Miles Davis" from FastTrack, nor even someone as mainstream as Diana Krall. I won't even go into the annoyance of trying to find, say, Takemitsu or Arvo Pärt.

      Even worse are the stores themselves. I *really* don't know why I bother at this point, but most stores I know have more shelf space devoted to Elton John than to classical music in general.

      Retail settings for non-pop music are wretched things. The employees don't care; things aren't re-shelved properly, and recently I've noticed a trend in retail space to lump non-popular music together in the smallest and least-agreeable way. "John Tesh is classical, right? Better shelve that next to Tchaikovsky." (a local shop in my area actually does this).

      At this point I'm actually anti-retail. They don't give a fuck about my $100 a week business (no, that's not a typo), so I'm not going to give a fuck about them. When I want a CD, I'll buy it on Ebay or at a swap meet. If I can't get it on ebay, I'll track it through used CD shops. I'm not giving retail/new establishments my money, though.
      • "I listen to 20th century classical music, mostly. Same deal."

        A lot of people recommend for cheap disks from the UK to the rest of the world. I'm in the UK and use it as my first point of call - nearly always cheaper than high-street shops, and usually much cheaper. Even paying postage to the States seems to be worthwhile.
  • K/J/HK-Pop (Score:3, Interesting)

    by highcaffeine ( 83298 ) on Tuesday March 11, 2003 @10:16PM (#5490310)
    If those are your thing, check out YesAsia []. I've been shopping with them for years now. Once a month or more, I place a huge order with them. Music, movies, anime, etc. Most of the CDs (yes, legit) are $7-$9, which I actually consider to be a fair price (opposed to most american pop albums at $18-$20).

    I also buy most of my movies from them. A lot of the movies can be bought three at a time for $10/each (if you don't buy them in 3s to get the discount, they're usually $12-$15). VCDs are even cheaper if you want to go that route. You can get region-free DVD players from them as well (the Shinsonic is not a bad set, although there is a weird "vertical line ghosting" issue on large blocks of static, dark, solid colors).

    I very highly recommend them. One note of warning is that they take a few days to process and ship orders, since they often have to ship some stuff from their HK (I assume) warehouse to California before it will ship out to a US customer. They do seem to have been trimming this turnaround down a little (average delivery time, from time of order, using overnight is now one week), so either they're getting a little more efficient or they know me well enough that I'll keep on coming back spending hundreds each month, as long as they keep me happy. ;-)

    Anyway, if you're into Korean, Japanese or Chinese music/movies/etc, definitely give them a look. And, no, I do not work for them or have any relationship with them other than being a very satisfied customer.

    • Err... I did fail to mention that the Japanese CDs are more expensive than the Korean/Chinese ones. K/HK music generally goes for $7-$9/CD, but the Japanese CDs go for the usual "import prices" ($22-$30). Forgot about that when I first posted, since I listen to a lot more K/HK music.
  • I've had similar problems; Amazon's reportoire, while large, isn't large enough to include international music. I'm afraid I can give you no easy solutions here, except for google and an insane trust in whatever music-selling website you might find.

    Will help though if you can mention the specific genre you're looking for.

  • Link to a list (Score:2, Informative)

    by hackwrench ( 573697 )
    here []
    List is oriented to getting Japanese stuff into the U.S. though
  • Peter Murphy's [] latest opus is anything but Western. Check it out...
    • It's also anything but good. Frankly, if you`re older than about 22, then you`ll have outgrown his `look at my sulky, pouty face` bullshit.

      Musically, he stinks. If you`re dipping your toes into foreign music and you`re from a rock background, you`re better off checking out stuff by Killing Joke front-man Jaz Coleman and Anne Dudley, or Peter Gabriel.

      Peter Murphy indeed!! Bwa ha ha ha haaaaa!
  • I would start with foreign countries....
  • Other Music (Score:2, Informative)

    by jcbphi ( 235355 )
    For a smaller online seller, I find Other Music [] has an excellent selection of otherwise import-only CDs. And a great selection of older/obscure music in general.
  • I work for a multicultural broadcaster, I'm a librarian. I'm surrounded by music from 80+ countries. You name it, we've got it.

    Ordering stuff from some countries can be tough though. For stuff from Lebanon, Korea, Russia etc etc we get that stuff from people who know people who will go to the actual store in that country and send the CDs to us. Most countries' Internet catalogues are rudimentary at best.
  • Well, I listen to electronic music a lot at the moment, and much of it comes from overseas. I find some of the music on filesharing and eBay, but most of it I get from small online stores like s://kimo [] or Bent Crayon []. There have been others, they come and go. Usually it's one or two guys operating out of their bedroom or a small storefront someplace. If you ask around mailing lists, etc., for your favorite music (i.e., jazz, techno, etc) they will give you pointers.

    I also buy directly from the labels sometimes, they usually don't have a problem shipping to the USA (I've ordered from Australia for a few bucks shipping, for instance).

    Your best bet is to contact the label itself and ask them if they sell directly, or ask who distributes their stuff (preferably somebody in the USA). Then email *those* folks and buy from them, or ask them what stores they distribute to. At some point along the chain you'll find somebody willing to sell you something.

    I've had the best luck with the UK, Japan, Australia, France, Germany, etc., you might have to search a little harder for other parts of asia or the middle east, but you should be able to find someone who will exchange money for CDs.

  • Japanese Music (Score:2, Informative)

    by OutRigged ( 573843 )
    If you're into Japanese music/dvd's/anime, is a great place to shop.
    • Just to second this, cdjapan have been realy good for recently published music. For back catalogue though, it's not so good - but what is? Small (now vanished) labels' CDs from the early 90s seem to be impossible to track down, sadly.
  • if you're looking for great music, american or otherwise, there's no better place than pitchfork [].
  • Two places (Score:3, Informative)

    by Apreche ( 239272 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @12:41AM (#5491150) Homepage Journal
    The Virgin Megastore is one. Even though it has the evil RIAA-ness and is the pinnacle of american consumerdom, the megastore lives up to its name. They have one of the largest foreign music sections I've seen.

    Also, since most of the foreign music I listen to is Japanese I check out That is the site of Avex, the major recording label for the best j-pop music, like Ayumi Hamasaki. Also I head to It is in english and it sells just about every japanese cd and dvd you can think of.

    Also of course is WinMX, which many foreginers use. Especially Italian people it seems. Lots of german electronica available as well. has some of that too.

    And of course, you can fly to your country of choice and buy cds at a store.
  • I listen to lots of German music, and has worked pretty well for me. You can get [] Nena [] there no problem.

    I get German DVDs from there, and I get die Ärzte, Fanta Vier, Toten Hosen, etc. It's pretty good, IMO.

    If you are looking for something popular like Nena, should work well.
  • Well I often stream from the Japan-A-Radio [] shoutcast stream. JAR has a store where you can purchase J-Pop and Anime music. Other than that my local used video game store carries a pretty fair selection of J-Pop and Anime at normal ($15) prices.

    Say Hi to everyone in the Japan-A-Radio [] chatroom at #japan-a-radio on and most other IRC networks.

  • by szyzyg ( 7313 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @01:18AM (#5491344)
    I'm lucky enough to live in San Francisco where the music scene is very DJ orientated - so there's plenty of places that import records from all over the world - but mainly europe. Sometimes I can pick imports up at or - but I find that it's ultimately faster and more reliable to go straight to the source - distributes almost everything dance music related from europe. And For DJ's the advantage of getting stuff straight from Europe is that I end up playing tracks a good few weeks before my 'competitors' in the DJ scene.

    I've just started doing a weekly radio show, and we have a big focus on new music. I'm not well enough known to get on the mailing lists of record labels, so I have to stay ahead of the game using juno.

  • Ask Slashdot (Score:2, Interesting)

    by KurdtX ( 207196 )
    Like yourself, many people have realized the internet is a great resource. However, a number of years ago, someone realized that the problem of the internet is that it is really hard to know about everything on the internet.

    So they created what they called a ">search engine". It's pretty complicated, but it works out to that if you type something in, it will do a good job of finding what you are looking for. For example, to look for a spanish rock band [], you would type this into one of these search engines. It would give you a list of links, and usually you could find one in the first page, such as Spanish Rock LA.Band Links [].

    Amazingly (isn't this great), you can type in just about anything, even in other languages, and it will always find something. Give it a shot, I'm sure it will work for you.

    Ok, now in case anyone is wondering "why are burning karma with this obvious flamebait?", I'll answer you: 99% of the "Ask Slashdot" stories are something that is best asked somewhere else, and if the asker doesn't know anywhere else, try google! This is a question about music! And it's not even "What codec should I use to rip my 600 CDs of Austrian Punk Opera to the best format so that it won't take up much hard drive space, is high quality, will let me stream it over the web, and store it in my custom shoe-based wearable?" Now that is a question for Nerds.

    And just to show that I'm only an asshole when I'm pissed off, to answer the question: If your streaming station gives you the name and title of the song (if it doesn't, stop right here and figure that out for yourself), try Google. If the band has a website, it'll find it. No band motivated enough to put together a website will not include a way for you to get their music, so you're golden here. If they have no website, you could always contact the station that plays their music and ask them. If that fails, you'll have to Google The Real World. Ask your friends, family, or the fools at the indie record store if they know anything. Try going out within your city to see if you can find any place that plays that type of music; if you approach the DJ/owner in the right way, they may help you. So I guess it depends on how badly you want to find this music. Good luck.
  • I live in Québec and we don't have that problem. At one of the biggest shop (Archambault), we've got music from about 100 countries. While for some countries, the selection is mainly "best of" or otherwise limited, in general, it's quite good and affordable (20-25 CAD).

    Example of CDs you can find :

    Petru Guelfucci, Corsica (Corse)
    Khevrisa (Hungary)
    Chava Alberstein (Israel)
    Vicente Pradal, La noche oscura (Spain)
    Paul Kunigis, Jeszcze Raz (Poland/Québec)
    Bïa, Carmin (Brasil)
    Putumayo collection
    etc., etc., etc.

    And if I remember correctly, this holds true for Vancouver too, in British Columbia. As for Toronto, I don't know, but I would think it's the same there too.
  • For Europeans, Synsoniq [] is a good place to find imported Japanese game soundtracks. They have a big selection, and their delivery is pretty speedy (to the UK, at least).

  • by Sloppy ( 14984 )
    Either find an importer, or find a foreign store that is willing to ship.

    If by chance, you happen to be looking for Spanish stuff, I can point you at Discoweb [] in Barcelona; they are willing to ship across-the-pond. I have been getting most of my Spanish (and even some Basque!) metal there -- stuff that none of my usual importers would get for me.

    BTW, you're doing the right thing to ask in an international forum. The best research is where someone tells you the answer. ;-) But you might wanna ask around in some forum specific to your desired genre, too.

  • I find my foreign music in my local music shop. That is, foreign to y'all insensitive clods! 8-)
  • Nordic (folk/jazz) speciality, but they're broadening their ranges:
    Friendly service (really friendly, last time I went to their actual shop near the end of their working day I ended up in the pub with the proprietors!), fast and efficient (stuff shipped next day), cheap prices, and an amazing range of unusual stuff.

    Metal & Progressive speciality, from all round the world:
    Last time I ordered >20 CDs with them, they waived the postage charge, which was nice. Amazing range of stuff, and you can subscribe to a mailing list with all their new acquisitions if you like (and I do).

    Of course, is international - you an find anything there, and they're about as cheap as I can find anywhere.


  • Bur first... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mark Hood ( 1630 ) on Wednesday March 12, 2003 @07:40AM (#5492604) Homepage
    where are the great streaming music stations? A few recommendations of where to listen might help - the more who hear this sort of music, the more people will bother their local media outlets to carry it!
  • There is a new project which tries to promote the local Quebec music scene, called Musicbot []. Through an intelligent webring concept, mBOT tries to give visibility to local music and does the streaming. NetMusik [] is a portal for Quebec music too.
  • Try (Northside Records) For Nordic Roots Music. They even offer some full track MP3s for download in addition to real media samples of tracks from the CDs offered. From their catalog, I can highly recommend Hedningarna (Finnish/Swedish) and Sorten Muld (Danish).
  • If you like Brazilian music (together with Cuba and USA, Brazil has the most diverse popular music in the world) you can find it in stores like: Lojas Americanas [], Submarino [], and Som Livre [], or right from the great little recording companies: Kuarup [], Rob Digital [] or Biscoito Fino. []
  • When I lived in Orlando, I was privy to the Virgin Mega Record Store. This store had a wide selection of African, Asian, Caribbean, Middle Eastern etc. etc. Even better this store had Vinyl that DJs could buy for spinning. There's always you can find some obscure stuff there. Also check out local alternative papers for looking up the various record shops in your area.
  • Depends on the type of music. Imported classical and jazz are easy to find in any large classical section; it's the stores with a large classical section that are oft hard to find. For pop, rock and world-music releases, obviously stores like Tower Records can order you import titles, and most of the big-name online music shops offer solid selections of imported music; but the prices are often in the $20 range. eBay can prove lucky. I found an out-of-print Japan-only release on CD (perfect condition Winter
  • Keep aware of local concerts by international artists, and go to them. In many cases, because of the smaller audience for this music, the performers are available to talk to the audience and they sell their CDs directly.

    I listen to (and play) Irish dance music, and over the last few years I've gotten most of my CDs directly from the musicians' hands. Everybody and his brother in Ireland has a CD, and when they tour they always have them for sale.
  • Somehow I have no difficulty finding foreign music at music stores here.

    You name it we've got it: all those hot exotic foreign artistes like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera...

    You can even get them on TV too - MTV, Channel V.

    Clue to those in USA: here != USA/Europe/Australia. ;).

"Pull the wool over your own eyes!" -- J.R. "Bob" Dobbs