Via Damius_ and Saki_Morimi89 on twitter I was alerted to these two tweets from arlequin_93:

[Edit: Oh by the way, serious kudos to the CDJapan representative for such a detailed, frank, and interesting answer. Rather surprised!]

People were contacting CDJapan to ask if they reported to Oricon, specifically with respect to international orders. The reply was surprising, even for CDJapan, apparently! Oricon never specifically told CDJapan they exclude orders sent outside of Japan, but apparently they indeed do. They collect the data, but it is not reflected in their published totals. CDJapan’s reply clearly states that this applies to all shops, not just CDJapan.

My reactions to this were, in order:

1. Man that’s some bullshit.

2. I’m surprised they even make the domestic/int’l distinction, but it’s a market research firm so knowing where items go, even within Japan, would be relevant I guess.

3. I suppose it really doesn’t matter, as international orders are such a small portion of sales.

4. Then again they’re still enough for Oricon to make a conscious decision to exclude them…

5. …but at the same time, that’s probably far more true of CDs, which are cheaper and easier to import (the original tweet was in reference to some idol group CDs I believe), than anime BDs, which are far more expensive and thus less likely to be imported.

6. I would speculate sales to Taiwan, Korea, or Southeast Asia make up a much larger portion of international sales than North America or Europe.

7. And lastly, hey this means Sakura Trick sold at least 6 more (+ however many the rest of you bought) copies than we thought!

Overall this isn’t “significant” in any real sense. Sales are still sales, Oricon’s reporting has zero influence on how much money a release makes. If anything this means the stuff you loved enough to buy sold a little more than you thought it did! Unless you bought from a proxy, in which case the original retailer shipment was to a Japanese address and is already counted.

…but it sucks anyway! As meaningless a difference as it makes, I still wish, and always thought, my purchases were counted in the numbers being reported here. ::insert single teardrop::

33 Responses to “Oricon does not count international sales (per CDJapan)”

  1. something says:

    Erm I don’t know why wordpress put the images in the tweets above the tweets themselves, but I didn’t know it had a built-in tweet displayer either so okay.

  2. Audrey Azura says:


    It doesn’t really matter, but still… It make me sad that purchase I and everybody here do doesn’t appear on the count. It’s just… I don’t know… sad.

    At least, the purchase I’ll do while in Japan will be counted in, but still… Uuuh….

    • something says:

      It is a little depressing, in a completely irrational yet ultimately understandable way, isn’t it?

      Even though it’s no different from anyone living in Japan who buys from any of the probably fairly numerous stores that never report to Oricon in the first place, I guess!

      • Primadog says:

        On the bright side, a lot of previously disappointing sales suddenly becomes slightly less disappointing!

        • something says:

          Ever, ever, ever, ever so slightly, heh.

          I think between me and people I’ve encountered, I guess we might raise Sakura Trick’s sales by about 15!

      • Audrey Azura says:

        Yeah, that’s exactly it. It’s irrationnal but still depressing…

        Therefore, I was thinking about this: if Oricon think it began to affect the accuracy of the market, it should not be so small number. If I had to take a guess, I think it should be around 10% of the sale’s number, 10% being a quite standard acceptable error. That would be not so bad.

        • something says:

          For anime DVD/BD I doubt it’s much more than 0.1% in many cases. CD sales however, I suppose could get up into the mid-high single digits, perhaps, if the group were very popular outside of Japan. But if that were that popular they’d probably get a local release most fans would buy instead.

          • Audrey Azura says:

            You know the market better than me, so you must be right ^^’. But I wonder if such small numbers (in most series, that would make less 100 sales) will really make a difference on a market study. So I really wonder, as you do, why they choose to not include it….

            • something says:

              That’s why I think DVD/BD sales had nothing to do with this, I’d bet they were just collateral damage from a policy that got applied across the board due to CD sales being more heavily affected by imports.

              All just speculation from me though!

              • Audrey Azura says:

                Oh ok, I didn’t understand this before ^^’. That seems a pretty good hypothesis, that’s true. That’s sad we will maybe never know the truth behind this… Anyway, thank you to have take the time to answer me !

      • Progeusz says:

        Yeah, when I think about it, there’s no logic here but it still feels bad. I was so ecstatic when I purchased Rebellion and saw its numbers later… Oh well, I’ll still be buying what I love when I have a chance.

  3. Fipse says:

    A bit disappointing that my ST BD did not count but the studio/committee has the real numbers anyway.

  4. musouka says:

    Yeah, that bums me out a bit. I always liked feeling like I was set down for at least one copy of whatever I bought that was reported. It’s logical why they wouldn’t, though.

    • something says:

      I am a little confused by it, though. I suppose it depends on who Oricon considers their primary audience, and what they’re doing with the data.

      If you’re a retailer wondering how much to order, or a distributor tracking your competitor’s sales, or an economist measuring the health of either of the two, or even just an enthusiast wanting to know if Product X was successful (i.e. us), those are all about raw sales. It shouldn’t matter if the purchase is domestic, international, or intergalactic.

      If you want to know what the Japanese populace is buying, then yes absolutely, exclude international shipments. But I’m having a hard time figuring out who the audience for that particular dataset is. A researcher studying media consumption habits of the Japanese population? Fair enough but hardly what I expect Oricon’s bread and butter to be.

      I guess it’s a little perplexing! Making the distinction I get, only making the domestic data available – which implies it’s the only thing they think their users want – I don’t quite.

      Now this all makes me wonder if, buried in some super ultra secret premium account level, there’s an equivalent of these charts that tracks not only sales but also how many to each country. CDJapan did say they still collect the data, they just don’t use it in their reports. So that data is somewhere… and maybe they’re doing something with it.. and oh the things I would do to see it!

      • This is just a guess, but it might be because the basic subscribers are more likely to be small, local stores which don’t have a lot of international traffic. I could see those sorts of stores not being able to shell out for a full membership and being mainly reliant on the basic membership reports to figure out what to stock. If the international data is available at higher price levels, it would make some sense; businesses big enough to see a higher-level account as a swallowable expense are probably more likely to be doing larger amounts of international business.

        I dunno, it still kind of sucks regardless. Especially since we’re finding out about this through very indirect channels – you’d think Oricon would be more clear to their subscribers about what kind of data they were giving out. Meh.

        • something says:

          Since even Biz (¥210k/$2100USD) doesn’t include it I wonder what tier even would. I suppose once you get to a large corporate level, they’re doing more in the way of custom data licensing agreements than standardized packages.

  5. hpulley says:

    So, we may now know one more reason why Oricon numbers don’t add up to reported sales.

    Not that surprising I guess, wanting to keep track of domestic sales separately. At least now we think we know that those numbers really are just what folks in Japan are buying so people who want to say they have shit taste for buying so much of show X that they dislike can now say so without perhaps referring to me LOL

    Though, it still says what it said before about Oricon on their website:


    CDJapan Supports Oricon Music Charts.

    Items you purchase through CDJapan will be calculated into the daily and weekly sales data for Oricon music charts.
    This applies to all items available through our store.

    Please note that no personal customer data will be handed over to Oricon, only aggregate sales data.

    • something says:

      Yeah the rep said they would update it, but this all just happened quite recently so I imagine they haven’t had time.

      • hpulley says:

        They just changed it to:

        Items you purchase through CDJapan will be calculated into the daily and weekly sales data for Oricon music charts, as long as they are shipped within Japan. This applies to all items available through our website. Please note that Oricon does not count any data of products that are sent overseas from any shop, and CDJapan is no exception. Every morning, Oricon only collects aggregate sales data of previous day, and they do not collect any personal information of customers.

        • mistress_kisara says:

          So if you use a proxy service will it be counted?

          • something says:

            Should be, since the proxy service’s address will be within Japan. Neither Oricon nor retailer has any idea where the package goes after that. And keeping track of all proxies and their addresses and specially removing them would be super tedious/unnecessary because proxies are a super tiny niche within a tiny niche.

            • Sandf5 says:

              “Please note that Oricon does not count any data of products that are sent overseas from any shop”

              Doesn’t it mean if the CD will be sent to overseas eventhough its order is from Japan it doesn’t count, i don’t think it has a thing to with proxy since if the product will be sent to overseas it doesn’t count, don’t the buyers give the address where the product will be sent how come the product will come to our house if without our overseas address

              • Progeusz says:

                I’m pretty sure proxy simply order the items to their own address and after it arrives at their place they ship it to the actual buyer. So the store has no means to know about it.

                • something says:

                  Right, neither retailer nor Oricon have any idea where the product goes after it arrives at the proxy. They just know it initially went to a Japanese address. They’d have to keep track of known proxy addresses and manually exclude them and I doubt they’re going to that level of trouble.

                  Nor would it change things much. Most imports should be going through Amazon Japan or specialty shops aimed specifically at importers, both of which will report the international shipping address. Proxies are used more for doujinshi, games, figures, and various other things Oricon doesn’t track anyway.

  6. mk03 says:

    To be fair, I assume that the amount of imported discs are relatively small anyway, so I wouldn’t be surprised if, even if they were included, the difference would be relatively negligible.

    • Shih says:

      Might be true for BDs, but as for CDs… Just look at the amount of AKB’s CDs that the Chinese buys in order to vote, it is ___ (fill in the blank).

  7. Kuuderes_Shadow says:

    If anything it’s surprising that they were counted in the first place.

    For instance here in the UK the Official Charts company has only ever counted sales within the UK – and has also counted import sales, provided that the sale takes place through an outlet which they collect data from. So if I bought an AKB48 (or whatever) CD from Japan it would (with the aforementioned proviso) count towards the UK sales charts. Why should it count towards the Japanese charts as well?

    • something says:

      That situation is far weirder to me, why would the UK sales charts want to record something that has was not made in or sold in the UK? How would they even get that data, outside of maybe a few global retailers like Amazon? For what reason would CDJapan or Animate or Rakuten send their data to the UK? And what about all the other countries? It’s pretty bizarre.

      • Kuuderes_Shadow says:

        The UK Official Charts company doesn’t have the same remit as Oricon does – it only counts music and video sales. It also includes (legal) downloads. To my knowledge, no Japanese band has ever got on the charts with imports, although various European and American acts have done so. There have also been a couple of cases of UK acts producing songs entirely for the export market with no UK release that end up charting because of the song being re-imported back to the UK (a song by Cliff Richard thus holds the record for the highest ever chart rank purely from import sales at number 4).
        Since download sales started being included for the music charts, there’s no longer a significant cost for a foreign band to officially release a song for the UK so pure-import chart rankings have become much rarer (especially with the massive increase in the requirement to chart that came as a result of this change).
        Imports are generally insignificant for video sales due to region restrictions blocking most sales from outside Europe, and it being illegal to sell (although not to buy) video entertainment within the UK that does not have a BBFC rating on the disc/video.

  8. greenalice says:

    There was no mention of manga and books, but I suppose it’s logical to assume Oricon does not include international figures in their sales chart for them, either.

    • greenalice says:

      Ah, ignore this message. Just saw the part that Oricon requested to allow them to “collect the data for everything [they] ship”.

      • something says:

        Yep, so this policy should apply to everything: print and (audio/video) disc both.

        • hpulley says:

          It’s probably all due to people buying thousands of AKB48 CDs from mainland Asia…. that would skew results for sure. With voting tickets, people buy silly numbers of them.

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