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AnchuAnchor

VK back in the day

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How did you people search for vk music/ scans/ content/ etc  back in the early 2000s when online content was still scarce?

 

From what I've been able to find Last.fm must have been a popular site for MVs and audio files.

 

Thank you for taking time out of your day to read this. Hope that you're having a great day and stay safe!

 

 

Edited by AnchuAnchor

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livejournal was a great source back in the day for vk related scans and such. scape forum and batsu forum were popular spots for discussion. glamjapan and jrocknyc were popular blog-related sites for vk-related content, too.

Edited by Paraph

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oh boy, here we go

 

last.fm was never the website to go for these things. I believe most people just used it to scrobble their music and discover new things.

 

back then I used to search for mp3 and videos using p2p programs like kazaa, and later on soulseek and occasionally winmx. that was what, between 2003-2006? there were a few websites with info, scans and downloads too, but the p2p scene was where it was at.

 

that was before livejournal communities became popular and everyone moved on to those. there were plenty of communities for magazine scans, downloads and specific ones for every band imaginable. at the same time, a little tracker called tonberry torrents also gained traction until it ended in 2007? 2008? and became a forum called tainted world, which is where we are now

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8 minutes ago, Paraph said:

livejournal was a great source back in the day for vk related scans and such. scape forum and batsu forum were popular spots for discussion. glamjapan and jrocknyc were popular blog-related sites for vk-related content, too.

Thank you! When it came to finding legit info about band members, what was your go-to platform?

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4 minutes ago, AnchuAnchor said:

Thank you! When it came to finding legit info about band members, what was your go-to platform?

There was a japanese vk database called Grass Thread that was similar to vk gy back in the day. Pretty sure it's no longer around. visunavi was and still is a popular source it seems.

Edited by Paraph

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12 minutes ago, saishuu said:

oh boy, here we go

 

last.fm was never the website to go for these things. I believe most people just used it to scrobble their music and discover new things.

 

back then I used to search for mp3 and videos using p2p programs like kazaa, and later on soulseek and occasionally winmx. that was what, between 2003-2006? there were a few websites with info, scans and downloads too, but the p2p scene was where it was at.

 

that was before livejournal communities became popular and everyone moved on to those. there were plenty of communities for magazine scans, downloads and specific ones for every band imaginable. at the same time, a little tracker called tonberry torrents also gained traction until it ended in 2007? 2008? and became a forum called tainted world, which is where we are now

Thanks a bunch! On a scale from 1 to 10 how safe were those programs? I know that you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette but I avoid torrents like the plague... Hope that I don't sound like a hypochondriac...

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5 minutes ago, Paraph said:

There was a japanese vk database called Grass Thread that was similar to vk gy back in the day. Pretty sure it's no longer around. visunavi was and still is a popular source it seems.

Ah too bad. Thank you though!

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5 minutes ago, AnchuAnchor said:

Thanks a bunch! On a scale from 1 to 10 how safe were those programs? I know that you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette but I avoid torrents like the plague... Hope that I don't sound like a hypochondriac...

Never had any problems with p2p software. Soulseek is still a great way to download and if you are new to vk great for discovery. 

Search a band you like, check the users shared folders and download a buncha bands you dont know (•ө•)♡

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Just now, ghostpepper said:

Never had any problems with p2p software. Soulseek is still a great way to download and if you are new to vk great for discovery. 

Search a band you like, check the users shared folders and download a buncha bands you dont know (•ө•)♡

Thank you, you're super sweet ^^

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22 minutes ago, AnchuAnchor said:

Thanks a bunch! On a scale from 1 to 10 how safe were those programs? I know that you've got to crack a few eggs to make an omelette but I avoid torrents like the plague... Hope that I don't sound like a hypochondriac...

pretty safe.  I still have a ton of burned CDs with things I downloaded off slsk and kazaa ages ago and they're all good. I still use slsk regularly, but this time only for western stuff as I can find vk/japanese music elsewhere easier. never had problems with torrents either, but I get why you avoid them!

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7 minutes ago, saishuu said:

pretty safe.  I still have a ton of burned CDs with things I downloaded off slsk and kazaa ages ago and they're all good. I still use slsk regularly, but this time only for western stuff as I can find vk/japanese music elsewhere easier. never had problems with torrents either, but I get why you avoid them!

So happy for you! Good God the internet must have been wild back then. I mean it still is, oof

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Hi, welcome! Happy to meet a new VK fan~

 

Oh, boy. Being in the 2000s really brings back lots of memories. As others have said, p2p software (like limewire, kazaa, etc.) was a great gateway into obtaining VK music. I also remember there were also many blogs (including random geocities/angelfire websites, lol) that hosted music, MVs, and scans/pictures as well. Although I think they've all disappeared to the sands of time. I think, at one point, people had migrated to tumblr where people translated lyrics and random VK musician's blogs and shared scans/pictures. It was certainly an adventure to try to look for music and find scans back then, lol.

 

As for info on band members and such, I know vkdb is a popular place, which is still active. (Link: https://www.vkdb.jp/#gsc.tab=0)

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Also there was a time when people shared a lot on blogspot, though most of the times the files were taken from p2p networks anyway and there was some drama with blogs shamelessly copying links from Tainted World / Monochrome Heaven.

 

If you were lucky enough to live in the German speaking realms then you could mail order japanese CDs from stores like Neo Tokyo, the Japan and Manga shop that spwaned the Gan-Shin records label, which distributed many japanese rock, pop and VK releases in the West. Thanks to Gan-Shin I got releases from D'espairsRay and Dir en grey. Also Trisol brought Moi dix Mois albums to Europe and then there was the Astan Magazine related label which distributed and booked tours for the gothy and darkwave-ish side of VK. Sometimes amazon had good deals on imports as well (got Malice Mizer's albums there). That was all around 2005-2007-ish for me.

 

Then CDJapan came along and not long after I discovered shopping services. The latter had been a thing since the early to mid 00s I believe, but it was very expensive. Warehouse based shopping services like FromJapan or Zenmarket didn't exist yet, you only had the option of asking and paying a person who lived in Japan directly to get your stuff and send it to you. For me that was out of reach, since I got into VK when I was a teen and didn't have much of a budget, I usually bought what i could afford through webstores or physical.

 

I only got into forums like tainted world around '06, so I was never part of the very early ones, like the infamous batsu forums (but I heard quite a lot of it).

 

I too used yunisan a lot… RIP. It wasn't updated since a long time though, while vk.gy looks to be a good follow-up and replacement. I second the use of soulseek. You won't find much VK stuff there anymore, sadly, but if you look for other obscure music from genres like punk, indie, metal or post-punk, then you will likely find it there. Considering that most DL blogs and music sharing sites are dead, soulseek and torrents may be the only places for pirating and grabbing hard to get stuff today.

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11 minutes ago, monkeybanana4 said:

Hi, welcome! Happy to meet a new VK fan~

 

Oh, boy. Being in the 2000s really brings back lots of memories. As others have said, p2p software (like limewire, kazaa, etc.) was a great gateway into obtaining VK music. I also remember there were also many blogs (including random geocities/angelfire websites, lol) that hosted music, MVs, and scans/pictures as well. Although I think they've all disappeared to the sands of time. I think, at one point, people had migrated to tumblr where people translated lyrics and random VK musician's blogs and shared scans/pictures. It was certainly an adventure to try to look for music and find scans back then, lol.

 

As for info on band members and such, I know vkdb is a popular place, which is still active. (Link: https://www.vkdb.jp/#gsc.tab=0)

Really helpful, thank you!

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Wow, someone really wants to know this? lol

I mean, I'm glad because it's information that needs to be archived, with plenty of us around still to provide this.

 

My memory is vague as fuck for the late 90's (I was under 10 years old) but it was the cool kids on my block that had access to these magazines (I think from MixxZine aka TokyoPop! and VIZ Media, who were the biggest sources for this stuff) CDs, and VHS tapes that were being converted into early file types that took up the entire HDD lol. There was really no online presence that was being translated for english speakers that I recall because the scene was still nonexistent and the otakus/weebs were more interested in the anime aspect of the Japanese culture (there's a LONG history of the otaku boom of the 90's that you should read up on cuz it was GREAT!). A lot of them were learning Japanese and they talked with Japanese people online that could type in english, which I think is how the sped up birth of forums and subforums on popular websites happened for like Newgrounds, Ebaumsworld, and the one's everybody else has mentioned.

I can text some old neighbors and see if they can provide more info if needed (assuming they still remember me lol).

 

For the early 00's when I actually had my own PC (for "homework" lol), it was mostly blogspots, MySpace pages of fangirls/collectors, major websites like JpopAsia and talking online with just anyone interested in Japanese rock in general. VK was still small imo but bands like D'espairsRay, DEG, and even the GazettE were making the rounds as it was what normal fan girls were interested aside from ayabie, antic cafe, and other Oshare Kei. The music was not entire albums but songs that could be acquired from P2P applications like the ones @saishuu mentioned. Once you got a real understanding of the internet (to which at this point I think most of your PC was virus infested lol) then you we're able to find .rar files and torrent websites like the ones mentioned above. People I knew shared Mixtapes/burned CDs (sometimes with no metadata on them, ugh) to distribute and once files became the norm we just did that.

 

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Ikna said:

Also there was a time when people shared a lot on blogspot, though most of the times the files were taken from p2p networks anyway and there was some drama with blogs shamelessly copying links from Tainted World / Monochrome Heaven.

 

If you were lucky enough to live in the German speaking realms then you could mail order japanese CDs from stores like Neo Tokyo, the Japan and Manga shop that spwaned the Gan-Shin records label, which distributed many japanese rock, pop and VK releases in the West. Thanks to Gan-Shin I got releases from D'espairsRay and Dir en grey. Also Trisol brought Moi dix Mois albums to Europe and then there was the Astan Magazine related label which distributed and booked tours for the gothy and darkwave-ish side of VK. Sometimes amazon had good deals on imports as well (got Malice Mizer's albums there). That was all around 2005-2007-ish for me.

 

Then CDJapan came along and not long after I discovered shopping services. The latter had been a thing since the early to mid 00s I believe, but it was very expensive. Warehouse based shopping services like FromJapan or Zenmarket didn't exist yet, you only had the option of asking and paying a person who lived in Japan directly to get your stuff and send it to you. For me that was out of reach, since I got into VK when I was a teen and didn't have much of a budget, I usually bought what i could afford through webstores or physical.

 

I only got into forums like tainted world around '06, so I was never part of the very early ones, like the infamous batsu forums (but I heard quite a lot of it).

 

I too used yunisan a lot… RIP. It wasn't updated since a long time though, while vk.gy looks to be a good follow-up and replacement. I second the use of soulseek. You won't find much VK stuff there anymore, sadly, but if you look for other obscure music from genres like punk, indie, metal or post-punk, then you will likely find it there. Considering that most DL blogs and music sharing sites are dead, soulseek and torrents may be the only places for pirating and grabbing hard to get stuff today.

I'm still in my teens so I am facing the budget issue atm. I have managed to find a lot of stuff on v kontakte btw. 

Do you know whether online shops such as CDJapan and Yesasia support the artists?

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For the most 200xs story:

On a 16 bit top down RPG called Furcadia I had been playing since elementary where you could program your own maps / make your own pixel art and things I eventually made a friend from Singapore. She was super into Chobits and got me into it too, which led me searching for midis on those independent anime sites. Turned out one of them had an entire vkei section although I still wasn't quite sure what it was, just that I liked to hear it but I had no idea how to find more aside from slap words into the big search bar and click on every link displayed with varying degrees of success.

Later an artist I started admiring through Neopets beauty contest I followed to Deviantart who would make dinky flash animations for humanized version of their pets, in one flash they used an acoustic version of Tsuki no Uta by Gackt, that led me on a wild search to find more where I ended up on French site radio.blog.club, it was somewhat like a very early spotify in that it built a list of songs you could play based on one artist or word search. (But sometimes you'd get really random shit and a lot of weird bootlegs), imeem was also similar but if someone didn't title / tag a track correctly you just had to guess what it was by the lyrics, to this day there's still a song I wish I could find all I remember is it said something like "ohh gambino" was kinda techno poppy and was probably some anime / H game OP but since Stylish Gambino exists...impossible to search now lol.
We and especially kid me didn't have money to be ordering things in the mail back then except once a year through a magazine, so it wasn't until I was 16 or 17 I started being able to explore the world of online ordering. (Also like I just saw YuyoDrift mentioned TokyoPop was a big one, I'd go to read those at the book store.)

Even though it's fantastic everything is so accessible now and easy to learn of any new music, there's a certain charm lost of finding some gem you have no idea what it is but it's amazing and you're determined to dig out more of it that leads you into a rabbit hole of mystery. Also there was a site around 2002-2006 that was very pink with a cabbit cursor and had some generic anime BG, they had a TON of hosted midis and scans of Sailor Moon / Tokyo Mew Mew, section dedicated to kaomoji, etc, me and my best friend spent an entire day trying to find what it was called / if it still exists but we can't remember, don't know if anyone else does. Even way-back machine couldn't help

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9 minutes ago, karai · ebi said:

imeem was also similar but if someone didn't title / tag a track correctly you just had to guess what it was by the lyrics,

LOL fucking Imeem for myspace was so good and so shitty sometimes, but it worked lol

I did enjoy being able to upload my own shit doe for my page but the names people were putting in did suck for those looking for the actual artist.

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For me in 2004 it was all about random fansites and message boards.

 

I kinda accidentally discovered VK/J-rock by clicking on an article on a Hungarian website (LD50) that was basically the hangout hub for goth/alternative online culture here back in those days. The article had a bunch of download links for random music videos (in formats that would be considered utter crap nowadays lol) so that's how I got my first taste of MALICE MIZER, Dir en grey, Kagerou, Baiser, BUCK-TICK etc.

 

I then spent tons of time just trying to get my hands on anything I could, both music- and information-wise, so this led me to Sound of Japan which was probably the only Hungarian website dealing with VK at that day (still is, most likely). There were super cool and informative articles there where I got to know about the scene's history, the most important bands, and even some CD reviews/recommendations... and there was a message board. Oh damnnn the Sound of Japan forum. I got to meet so many great and fun people there from all over the country and we were geeking outttttt lol. The admins were also holding regular club events as DJs in the capital city so that was another good way to network with all the cool guys and gals I got to know online. My buddies and I taking hours-long train rides to Budapest after school/uni was over for the week, grabbing a quick bite then off to the run-down underground venue to dance and have fun from 9 PM till 4-5 AM next morning, then straight back home with the first train (okay, I couldn't do this kinda shit nowadays lmao).

 

Next to Sound of Japan, I was also frequenting an international message board Tokyo Nights (old-timers might still remember it) that was more of a catch-all of music genres, but there was some VK presence there too (got to meet a German penpal there who we still keep in touch to this day). There was also another forum which was really really small-scale and unfortunately I can't remember its name but I had some great times there too, full of friendly people.

 

Then somehow torrents became a big thing so the floodgates were open! The Tonberry Torrents site was one of the pinnacles of this. Imagine, instead of downloading crappy low-quality mp3s of individual songs from rotation sites (yes, those were a thing too: basically every week or so they would put up a random selection of songs from various artists) now I could download whole albums' worth of crappy low-quality mp3s, lmao. And then CDJapan came along so then I could buy over-priced CDs and DVDs of said albums, god bless.

 

And then I joined the Tainted World message board and now I'm here with all you cool peepz. ♥

 

(Oh damn, this became long, sorry! But thank you for opening this thread, made me feel very nostalgic. :))

 

(And also welcome to MH! :D)

Edited by Jigsaw9

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On 3/21/2020 at 9:07 PM, YuyoDrift said:

Wow, someone really wants to know this? lol

I mean, I'm glad because it's information that needs to be archived, with plenty of us around still to provide this.

 

My memory is vague as fuck for the late 90's (I was under 10 years old) but it was the cool kids on my block that had access to these magazines (I think from MixxZine aka TokyoPop! and VIZ Media, who were the biggest sources for this stuff) CDs, and VHS tapes that were being converted into early file types that took up the entire HDD lol. There was really no online presence that was being translated for english speakers that I recall because the scene was still nonexistent and the otakus/weebs were more interested in the anime aspect of the Japanese culture (there's a LONG history of the otaku boom of the 90's that you should read up on cuz it was GREAT!). A lot of them were learning Japanese and they talked with Japanese people online that could type in english, which I think is how the sped up birth of forums and subforums on popular websites happened for like Newgrounds, Ebaumsworld, and the one's everybody else has mentioned.

I can text some old neighbors and see if they can provide more info if needed (assuming they still remember me lol).

 

For the early 00's when I actually had my own PC (for "homework" lol), it was mostly blogspots, MySpace pages of fangirls/collectors, major websites like JpopAsia and talking online with just anyone interested in Japanese rock in general. VK was still small imo but bands like D'espairsRay, DEG, and even the GazettE were making the rounds as it was what normal fan girls were interested aside from ayabie, antic cafe, and other Oshare Kei. The music was not entire albums but songs that could be acquired from P2P applications like the ones @saishuu mentioned. Once you got a real understanding of the internet (to which at this point I think most of your PC was virus infested lol) then you we're able to find .rar files and torrent websites like the ones mentioned above. People I knew shared Mixtapes/burned CDs (sometimes with no metadata on them, ugh) to distribute and once files became the norm we just did that.

 

 

 

The homework part made me laugh, thank you! And thanks for the thorough explanation!

Edited by AnchuAnchor

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19 minutes ago, Jigsaw9 said:

For me in 2004 it was all about random fansites and message boards.

 

I kinda accidentally discovered VK/J-rock by clicking on an article on a Hungarian website (LD50) that was basically the hangout hub for goth/alternative online culture here back in those days. The article had a bunch of download links for random music videos (in formats that would be considered utter crap nowadays lol) so that's how I got my first taste of MALICE MIZER, Dir en grey, Kagerou, Baiser, BUCK-TICK etc.

 

I then spent tons of time just trying to get my hands on anything I could, both music- and information-wise, so this led me to Sound of Japan which was probably the only Hungarian website dealing with VK at that day (still is, most likely). There were super cool and informative articles there where I got to know about the scene's history, the most important bands, and even some CD reviews/recommendations... and there was a message board. Oh damnnn the Sound of Japan forum. I got to meet so many great and fun people there from all over the country and we were geeking outttttt lol. The admins were also holding regular club events as DJs in the capital city so that was another good way to network with all the cool guys and gals I got to know online. My buddies and I taking hours-long train rides to Budapest after school/uni was over for the week, grabbing a quick bite then off to the run-down underground venue to dance and have fun from 9 PM till 4-5 AM next morning, then straight back home with the first train (okay, I couldn't do this kinda shit nowadays lmao).

 

Next to Sound of Japan, I was also frequenting an international message board Tokyo Nights (old-timers might still remember it) that was more of a catch-all of music genres, but there was some VK presence there too (got to meet a German penpal there who we still keep in touch to this day). There was also another forum which was really really small-scale and unfortunately I can't remember its name but I had some great times there too, full of friendly people.

 

Then somehow torrents became a big thing so the floodgates were open! The Tonberry Torrents site was one of the pinnacles of this. Imagine, instead of downloading crappy low-quality mp3s of individual songs from rotation sites (yes, those were a thing too: basically every week or so they would put up a random selection of songs from various artists) now I could download whole albums' worth of crappy low-quality mp3s, lmao. And then CDJapan came along so then I could buy over-priced CDs and DVDs of said albums, god bless.

 

And then I joined the Tainted World message board and now I'm here with all you cool peepz. ♥

 

(Oh damn, this became long, sorry! But thank you for opening this thread, made me feel very nostalgic. :))

 

(And also welcome to MH! :D)

Glad and thankful that you got to recollect all of that! And don't be sorry, I really enjoyed reading your post!

Also, thank you!

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21 minutes ago, YuyoDrift said:

LOL fucking Imeem for myspace was so good and so shitty sometimes, but it worked lol

I did enjoy being able to upload my own shit doe for my page but the names people were putting in did suck for those looking for the actual artist.

Yeah lol, thanks user xxRazorN1ghT34 for the mp3 titled "xh8HsajjepicComics" with album art of a jpeg webcam snap of an empty soup can, I will surely discover it....never... I didn't even use myspace because I was too antisocial even, then so nothing was ever saved and I had to search from a notepad list each time (cause I was dumb 😃)

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1 minute ago, AnchuAnchor said:

It had an ADV Films license and when I opened it I was met with a catalogue filled to the brim with seasonal anime recommendations and vk related things, great stuff.

This is still done today by some distributors, but this was how media (music, games, videos) were promoted. 

Regarding the VK music being there, most of what was considered "rock" in Japan didn't have a label (well, maybe you could call it "visual rock") and so X Japan, GLAY, Luna Sea, etc were all treated the same in terms of marketing back then. I thought it was beautiful to see b/c there was no stigma on what you could have for anime OPs when it came to artists we now consider VK like the OP for GTO:Great Teacher Onizuka. I like that it carried over to even later anime of the 00s (like the OP/ED of Death Note) or even stuff from the last decade (this sounds weird lol) like the 2nd OP for Black Butler, it gives me hope that this stigma never existed in the first place and that VK could be promoted in this fashion still.

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2 minutes ago, YuyoDrift said:

were all treated the same in terms of marketing back then. I thought it was beautiful to see b/c there was no stigma on what you could have for anime OPs when it came to artists we now consider VK 

Could you please elaborate further? You mean that vk is harder to produce, right?

harder=costlier

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