Gensokyo Radio and the Future of Touhou Music in the West

Readers are highly encouraged to comment on this article as feedback may determine future activity at GR.

As development on GR6 continues, the staff behind Gensokyo Radio is thinking ahead to next year, and our ideas for the 2015 convention season are by far our most ambitious ever. At this time, we’re at the point where we want to get feedback in order to gauge how some of our new concepts might be received by the community. Read on to catch a glimpse of what the future could be like at Gensokyo Radio.

Promoting the (Western) Touhou Music Community
Next year, we want to focus more on getting material created by Touhou music artists in the west out to fans and listeners. In short, this is easier said than done. We have a great start and a great ability to do this for western artists since we’re a radio station, but this only really solves half the problem that western Touhou artists face outside of Japan.

While we are able to promote artists in this way, the channels through which artists can sell their works are more limited than what one might find in Japan. Not only is there a much larger presence of Touhou-related works in Japan (with Touhou IPs making up a significant portion of all doujin circles, as well as having the Touhou-based Reitaisai every year), but the barrier to entry for artists to get their works out in places like North America is much higher, presenting a bigger challenge.

What we want to do at Gensokyo Radio is to provide a way for these western-based Touhou artists to get their works out in a more similar manner to what occurs in Japan.

Combining Two Big Ideas
Starting in 2015, we would like to provide a custom publishing and distribution service for all western Touhou music artists as a way to help get works out in a physical format. We would offer physical distribution at conventions in North America through our own booth as Gensokyo Radio, and in this way, we may be able to sell works on the artist’s behalf.

Our service would be flexible, offering two general options for artists to choose from. One would enable artists to only order CDs to be shipped to them so that they can sell their own works with their own time and effort. This would involve a higher upfront cost aimed at covering the material costs needed to produce an order, but it could potentially enable the artist to make more of a profit in the long run. The second option involves distribution through Gensokyo Radio’s booth where the staff would make sales on the artist’s behalf, and a percentage of the actual sale price goes back to the artist. This would require much less initial investment by the artist, but would enable them to get their work out there with less effort on their part. A combination of both could also be done.

Making the Idea a Reality
Making an idea like this actually happen takes a lot of time, money, effort, and planning. Before we can move ahead with any of the real “doing”, we need to acquire knowledge first. First and foremost, we need to know how much interest there actually is from the community for such a publishing service. This doesn’t just extend to artists in the US and Canada, but also to artists in Europe, South America, and beyond.

Our intent is to focus on artists who want to get out there more but don’t have the means to do so on their own. Perhaps this idea might one day spread to some artists in Japan, but for now, we want to start small and make sure we can do this successfully on a more local scale.

If we feel that there is enough interest in this, we’ll move forward with allocating the time, getting the necessary funding, and making sure that when the convention season comes, we’ll be armed with the knowledge to help ensure that promoting the Touhou Music Universe is something we continue to do, no matter what form it may take.

Your Feedback
There are a couple ways you can provide feedback for this concept. We would like to encourage our listeners to comment below in order for us to get a better picture of if this is something we’ll be able to do within the coming months. If you’re an artist or if you have a comment you want to whisper in our (off-air) microphone, send us an email at staff at gensokyoradio dot net.

Stay tuned for more info on our special 3-hour event for Live #25 happening later this month, and thanks for listening!

User Comments (migrated from legacy news system)

LunarSpotlight | Posted on October 8th, 2014, 06:48:15 AM
I’ve received some feedback through email, and much of it has been thought-provoking stuff. I can see that this isn’t the most interesting topic for most people, but if you have any thoughts on the matter, feel free to… y’know~

(Guest) Kingfisher | Posted on October 8th, 2014, 12:53:04 PM
I personally wouldn’t be interested in Wester touhou music, and this would make me listen to the station less to be honest!

FlandresBowler | Posted on October 8th, 2014, 05:24:30 PM
[comment too long so emailing you guys full thing] What I would mainly like to see is a general publicity front taken to help these artists. I for one don’t even know where to go to find these artists let alone purchase their content. I’ll likely send an email to you guys inquiring on my more personal inquiries but for the feedback at hand I would say that as someone who wishes to support Western Touhou artists via buying their content speaking to you guys who wish to help make their content acquirable, please do.

Belsfir | Posted on October 8th, 2014, 05:38:52 PM
I honestly don’t know how many Western touhou arrangement artists are out there to know if this is a good idea or not.

wanfai | Posted on October 9th, 2014, 04:40:07 AM
Didn’t see this till now, since i usually stream on my itunes playlist O.o anyways, From a consumer standpoint, i’d love for this to happen, but first of all… what Western touhou artist? I’m not trying to be offending with my previous comment, but it’s… hard to find western touhou music artists… (I know of Komeiji Records… nobody else… though if Touhou Boston counts… maybe 2?) In general though, it would be nice if you guys could sell Touhou music CDs at your booth, no matter where the music came from (If you guys had a booth in Anime Boston last year… well sorry but i didn’t see you guys lol… I saw Touhou Boston booth, and the pannel)

LunarSpotlight | Posted on October 9th, 2014, 05:36:41 AM
@KingFisher The point of considering this campaign is to help promote those in more Western countries who don’t currently have a good outlet for this sort of thing beyond online. Ultimately, it would be great if we could also be an outlet for Eastern artists, but we have to start somewhere. @FlandresBowler Part of why we’re making this idea public is to ping our listeners to see who is out there. We reach hundreds of listeners every day, and I think there’s more people out there than are currently publicized. Time will tell. @wanfai We’ve already received three responses in the past few days, and I think that’s a terrific start. We did not have a booth at Anime Boston as there really was no reason to have one. Booths can range from $200 to $1,500+, and the way we would make that up is by selling things. CDs would be another item we could offer. Inevitably, money needs to come from somewhere, and what we get would go back into the station as it always has.

(Guest) Obsi | Posted on October 14th, 2014, 06:51:33 AM
Hey, I think that’s a great idea. I’m always one for new, quality music.

(Guest) Kingfisher | Posted on October 16th, 2014, 04:17:58 PM
Hey Lunar, I understand! But you have to understand that I said that because I don’t think any other language than Japanese captures the spirit of Touhou. Take A-One for example, they just lack that certain umph, especially because of their vocals. I hope you get more feedback from listeners! Great to see you actually responding to comments and such!

Orchid Rothwell | Posted on October 18th, 2014, 10:51:58 PM
I think promoting the western musicians is a good idea. I enjoy quite a bit of their stuff, and know even non-Touhou fans that start getting into Touhou music that way. I

Raphalice | Posted on October 18th, 2014, 11:48:04 PM
I have heard a few of the Western artists out there~ Though it’s tough to remember their names… The ones I think I’ve heard are quite up there! I mean, they’re almost at par, if not at par with the Western [Japanese ones] Their names should be showed off here or something~

(Guest) Sedrife | Posted on October 19th, 2014, 01:29:12 AM
Interesting to see that it’s you guys who want to pick this up. I’ve been printing my Touhou arrangement albums on my own for sale on Anime North booth, with limited success. Through this experience, I realized that there is practically ‘zero’ market for Western Touhou Artists to effort doujin activities like they do in Japan. This calls out for a third-party distributors that are willing to sell doujin works on behalf of the aritsts, who can practically attend all conventions that has a sizable Touhou fan population gathering.

(Guest) Sedrife | Posted on October 19th, 2014, 01:29:40 AM
Though, mind you, this is an operation that can very well easily go into an official business operation. A separate website should be made. Publicity is important. List out what doujin albums will be available for which convention, and when. To be honest, I think this operation shouldn’t limit just to music artists, but print works and fan-game discs.

(Guest) Sedrife | Posted on October 19th, 2014, 01:32:30 AM
I, for one, would support this greatly to increase awareness of Western doujin artists to people, who are usually too poor and/or unmotivated to produce their works into physical copies. Although beware, legally getting all the images put on those albums, printing all those CDs, etc. are a huge clusterfuck once the supply & demand is established. I would rather support on making ZUN cave towards his guidelines restriction in regards to online sales of Touhou doujin works, as this suits the world outside Japan much better. Maybe you can also spearhead some kind of Western Artist Touhou-only online event, like Air Reitaisai, and have an online booth for artists to present and sell their albums online. This sounds much more realistic to me, but hey, good thing you guys are starting.

Hakurei Taishi | Posted on October 19th, 2014, 03:28:25 PM
I would support this idea, but I don’t know if it is really factible at all since I didn’t knew 'till now that these Western Doujin Circles existed.