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Die Entwicklung der Schallplatte aus japanischer Sicht

von Gert Redlich überarbeitet im April 2019 - Im Anschluß an eine Zusamenstellung der Entwicklung der Magnetbandtechnik - aus japanischer Sicht - habe ich eine weitere Zusammenstellung über die Geschichte der Entwicklung der Schallplatte in Japan und weltweit gefunden. Und in 2024 weitere Columnen über die japanische Hifi-Industrie.

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7 Audio Record-Related Standards/Codes


Audio records are marketed throughout the world and as such must be able to be replayed on any record player in the world.

Therefore, standards and codes to ensure compatibility and to make that a reality are essential. They must also eliminate the possibility of entry barriers.

In terms of standards, there are international standards set by international organizations, domestic standards set by governments, and industry standards set by industry organizations. In order to ensure worldwide compatibility in the analog disk record market and to facilitate international trade, the establishment of such standards is necessary.

In Japan, MITI (the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI)), the Agency of Industrial Science and Technology (predecessor of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (AIST)), the hardware industry and the record industry were all actively engaged in developing these standards and made it possible for the audio industry – especially the hardware industry – to flourish.

However, in the case of the record industry in Japan, even though there are no problems in terms of compatibility, exports from Japan are still almost non-existent as the industry is still unable to shake off the problem of a lack of content.

The outline of codes for analog disk records is explained as follows.

7.1 International Standard Recording Code System

.... and Related International, Domestic and Industry Codes Concerning Analog Record.

Due to the connection with electricity, international standards for analog disk records are established by the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), which has its headquarters in Geneva.

Standards such as the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC), which is an international standard code for identifying sound recordings, are set by the International Standardization Organization (ISO), which also has its headquarters in Geneva.

Japanese Industrial Standards (JIS) are set in accordance with the ISRC for analog disk records. Industry organizations, such as RIAJ, determine standards regarding labeling content and format, as well as packaging jackets and accessories, in order to ensure that products are produced in accordance with both JIS and international standards and JIS, product distribution and is carried out in a streamlined manner and to avoid confusion in the marketplace.

However, such standards do not prohibit the use of non-standard types for specific uses. Furthermore, there are cases where an industry organization sets administrative regulations for information-related standards. Analog record standards are shown in Table 7.1.

Table 7.1 Analog Record standards

International IEC 60098 Analog Audio Disk Records and Reproducing Equipment
Japanese JIS Standards  
Industry RIAJ Standards:  
    RIS202 Analog disk record labeling content and format
    RIS201 Disk record jackets and accessories

Such analog record standards are the result of efforts made by the industry as a whole over many years to prevent confusion and ensure compatibility. ISRC-related standards are shown in Table 7.2.

Table 7.2 ISRC-related standards

ISRC-related Standards:  
International: ISO 3901 International Standard Recording Code
Japanese: JIS X 0308 International Standard Recording Code
Industry: RIAJ Standards:
  RIS503: International Standard Recording Code
  RIS505: ISRC Administration Regulations

The ISRC system was developed by the music content industry over many years and was subsequently officially adopted by the ISO. Matters such as the administration of the country code used in the ISRC system and selection of the administrative organization for each country are overseen by the "International Federation of the Phonograph Industry" (IFPI), and the RIAJ was selected by IFPI to carry out such activities in Japan. Therefore, it is the RIAJ that determines regulations regarding the administration of ISRCs in Japan.

7.2 Other Standards

The analog disk and ISRC standards mentioned in the previous section were originally developed and used by the industry as a whole. Of these, some were originally private standards developed by a certain company and later, in the interests of facilitating marketing and ensuring compatibility, after sufficient discussion they were adopted by organizations that set international standards, including the "International Electrotechnical Commission" (IEC), to became international standards. Examples of such standards can be still be observed with audio cassette tapes and CDs.
Standards for audio cassette tapes are shown in Table 7.3, while standards for CDs are shown in Table 7.4.

Table 7.3 Audio cassette tape standards

Audio Cassette Tape Standards:    
International: IEC60094 “Magnetic Tape Sound Recording and Reproducing System” Psrt1-7  
Japanese: JIS S 8604 Cassette Tape Recording  
Industry: RIAJ Standards:  
RIS306: Audio Cassette Tape Recording Label Content and Format  
RIS307: Cassette Tape Recording Accessories  

Table 7.4 CD standards

CD Standards:    
International: IEC908 Compact Disc Digital Audio System  
Japanese: JIS S 8605 Compact Disc Digital Audio System  
Industry: RIAJ Standards:  
RIS204: Audio CD Label Content and Format  
RIS203: Compact Disc Accessories  

In addition to the above, there are other industry standards for, among other things, preventing confusion among users. These include many industry standards regarding testing methods and connections for speakers, amplifiers and players that compliant with JIS standards. The main reference material referred to in this chapter can be found in the text.

8 Methods of Identification and Protection for Recorded Materials


8.1 ISRC Identification of Recorded Materials

In an age where the music content business has become established as a business in its own right and recorded music is recognized as a commodity, identification is a key factor.

Unique identification methods for music recordings with or without video were investigated by the ISO, and the ISO3901 "International Standard Recording Code" (ISRC) system was established in 1986.

Following the establishment of the ISRC system by the ISO, JIS codes and RIAJ codes (RIS codes) were also established, including JIS X 0308. ISRC administration standards were discussed by the International Federation of the Phonograph Industry (IFPI), which was appointed by the ISO as an international administrative organization for the ISRC system, and enacted in November 1989, after which by July 1991 the RIAJ formulated administrative guidelines and obtained the approval of the Board of Directors in October of the same year.

These codes and guidelines explain the composition of the 12-alphanumeric character ISRC, as well as related administrative standards. Administration of these codes is overseen internationally by the IFPI, which delegates administrative organizations in each country, with administration in Japan being carried out by RIAJ.

The 12-character code contain a two-character country code, a three character-alphanumeric registrant code, two characters referring to the year and a five-character code that is unique to the recording.

8.2 Protection of Recorded Materials

When it comes to protecting recorded materials there are both legal and technical aspects to consider. Although mainly the technical aspects will be dealt with in this paper, basic matters regarding the legal aspects are touched on below.

As copyrights cover not only property rights, but also some personal rights, with music, there are rights for the composer and lyricist in the form of copyrights, while a distributor of such copyrighted work is entitled to related rights (or neighboring rights), as shown in Fig. 8.1.

Related rights are granted to entities such as performers, arrangers, record producers, broadcasting organizations and cable broadcasting companies.

As shown in Fig. 8.1, rights concerning recorded materials are, in actual fact, related rights, meaning that as long as the uniqueness of the ISRC can be ensured, it is a convenient identification system for neighboring right holders.

For example, many CDs contain the ISRC as part of a subcode and although an attempt was made to use the ISRC to establish an automatic payment system for neighboring rights, which entailed the broadcasting of the ISRC when the work was played, unfortunately the system found only limit use.

Die Rechte sind von Land zu Land unterschiedlich

The main reason for such is the different way in which personality rights and neighboring rights are handled under copyright laws in the US, Japan and Europe, meaning that even though music is universal, it was not possible to handle copyrights in the same way in each country where the music was sold.

Although the rights of broadcasters were traditionally stronger in the US, allowing them to use recorded materials, including disk records, in their broadcasts without paying royalties, in Europe and Japan, royalties must be paid.

In Europe, for more than half a century, broadcasting stations have been reporting titles of recorded materials and how many minutes they were played for each program broadcast and paying a royalty to right holders.

In Japan, for a long time, no accurate records were kept of royalties owed and right holders and users met together once a year to agree on the amount for the year.

When it was paid, right holders would then divide that amount up among themselves through negotiation. Only recently did the industry start to keep accurate records of recorded material usage in order to collect and distribute the royalties justly and fairly.

Under such circumstances, although the ISRC system works well in Europe, it was not eagerly adopted in the US due to the lack of prospects for increasing revenue for right holders, while in Japan, despite some improvements, the traditional way of negotiating has been hindering the promotion of the ISRC system.

Die Veränderungen des Copyright Rechts in Japan

After the war, content businesses and software business - based on intellectual property rights - came into the limelight and this was the first field in which capital liberalization was carried out in Japan.

Although large electronics companies in the US and Europe had been investing in this field since before the war, it was only during the 1960s that Japanese electronics companies showed interest in record companies and capital started flow.

Immediately following such investment from electronics companies into record companies, the digitization of music recordings began and digital recording devices for consumers hit the market.

However, as such devises made cloning of recorded material easy, friction between electronics industry and music industry suddenly materialized in the form of copyright issues.

Differences in copyright laws, especially with regard to neighboring rights, between Japan, the US and Europe made this issue even more complicated. As it was difficult for the European electronics industry and record industry to introduce new restrictions on copying digital material as they had already
acknowledged the right to remuneration for payment of damages incurred by copyright holders and holders of neighboring rights, they suggested a serial copy management system (SCMS) that allows one generation copying of digital material.

Der lange Weg zum SCMS in 1989

The electronics industry in the US was on the decline (im Niedergang) at the time and although the music industry was increasing its exports to the world, the US was hesitant (zögerlich) to use the same system as Europe due to differences in neighboring rights.

On the other hand, as the electronics industry in Japan was flourishing and global sales of audio equipment were increasing, due to concerns regarding the standardization of rights to remuneration (Vergütung) in Japan and the US, the aim was to establish an SCMS that did not come with the right to remuneration.

The music industry in Japan, on the other hand, insisted on establishing a fair and safe solution in the form of a debit system, which was different from an SCMS but still protected the right to remuneration (preliminary meeting for Athens DAT meeting, Washington D.C., May 1989).

Later, due to lobbying by the electronics industry in Europe, etc., the IFPI, the organizer of the Athens DAT meeting, demanded that the RIAJ skip the meeting. As a result, the SCMS was adopted and DAT was introduced without the consent of the RIAJ.

In light of the above, in terms of the protection of recorded materials, it is clear that the current state is far from “protected” and that drastic improvements are still required.

3 Wege, die Urheberrechte zu wahren

Generally speaking, there are thought to be three ways of ensuring that rights related to recorded materials are protected.

  • 1. This method only works with users who have plenty of funds: Users, such as content providers and distributors, enter into agreements with holders of neighboring rights, assume all responsibility for protecting the recordedmaterials, and in cases where rights are breached, users make compensation for damages. In such cases, even if there is a revolt among users, nonetheless, all responsibility will rest with such users.
  • 2. Conventional method: Users come up with distribution systems and protection systems and present them to right holders. This scenario requires the establishment of a security plan, but this had hardly ever happened before. Right holders can only trust users and no consideration has been given to internal revolts among users.
  • 3. The method that it is hoped can be used in the future: Considering that recorded materials are the property of all of mankind, users and right holders will discuss how to build a fair and safe system to effectively utilize recorded materials while protecting them. Security plans and responses to revolts will also be considered.


Bezüglich der DVDs

With DVDs, method No.2 above was adopted by the industry. Although they decided to use encryption technology, trusting their colleagues the hardware companies, the protection was broken due to the negligence (Nachläsigkeit) of one of the hardware companies, causing huge problem for the other hardware companies and users.

Today, these kind of internal revolts occur on a daily basis inside companies, so it is unreasonable to say that such events only happen to someone else.

In order to achieve method No.3 above, which is thought to be the most desirable way, RIAJ established the Content Security Management Center, which is an agency to authorize and democratically manage public encryption keys, in order to protect content based on public-key cryptography, and was consulted by users.

Although this method did not become the standard, it did show the importance of encryption key management in content management, as well as the way in which such content should be managed in the future.

In order to be able to solve the above-mentioned problems in a timely manner, the introduction of a safe system is required that is compatible with laws regarding copyrights and neighboring rights from all countries, and under which recorded data can be fairly and democratically managed.

9 Current State of Reference Materials

In diesem Abschnitt werden die für die Entwicklung in Japan historisch bedeutsamen japanische Entwicklungen oder Geräte benannt und an welchen Orten diese aufbewahrt werden.

10 Epilogue

Records are unique products that differ from ordinary consumer products. Although they do have things in common with other products in terms of their need to be patented, manufactured and distributed, they are special in that they involve art, copyrights and neighboring rights, as well as being classed as resalable products on account of their being involved in culture.

Furthermore, it is impossible to establish a business with records alone, and they require content, such as attractive music, and playback devices. Therefore, there is the need to have excellent audio technology at every stage of the record production process, including recording, record manufacturing, and also the production of playback devices.

As can be seen in this paper, at the dawn of the audio era, much new development came about as a result of motivated research by AT&T’s Bell Labs and its peripheral companies in the US.

In Japan, even though the scale was somewhat more limited, there were still passionate researchers who developed audio technologies that exceeded the level of American technology, including Tsubota, who developed a cutter head with properties superior to those of heads developed by AT&T, Hayashi, who developed condenser pick-ups and condenser ear speakers ahead of everyone else in the world, and Ibuka, who developed consumer magnetic recorders.

As audio-related technology matured, it brought forth the development of the audio industry in Japan, which produced many world-class consumer audio products. In terms of record-related technology developed around that time, compact discs should be mentioned especially as they possible the distribution of digitally recorded music to general consumers.

Although up until now audio technology has been developed on the basis of analog technology, further improvements are eagerly awaited through the utilization of digital technology. However, it is often said that while the music industry has benefited from the development of digital technology in terms of cost-performance, it has not been possible to surpass the level of analog recording in terms of artistic quality.

I hope that one day this challenge will be conquered through the collaboration of audio technicians in Japan.

Lastly, I would like to express my sincere gratitude to the many people who have assisted me in the writing of this paper.

Profile of Takeaki Anazawa

Chief Researcher, Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology, National Museum of Nature and Science

  • March 1967 Graduated from Waseda University's Faculty of Science and Engineering (Herr Anazawa müsste demnach kurz nach 1940 geboren sein)
  • March 1969 Completed a master's degree in acoustics at Waseda University's Graduate School of Science and Engineering
  • April 1970 Entered Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. and joined the Recording Department, where he was involved in music content digitization and the development and production of 4-channel audio and karaoke.
  • April 1972 Commercialized a digital PCM audio recording device.
  • 1974-1985 Engaged in digital audio recording and production of classical music, etc., in Europe and the U.S.
  • March 1992 Awarded the AES Silver Medal for Outstanding Achievements in Digital Audio Technology
  • June 1995 Assumed the position of board member of Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd.
  • October 2001 Retired and assumed the position of board member of Nippon Columbia Co., Ltd. and Denon, Ltd.
  • March 2002 Retired as COO of both companies
  • May 2002 Appointed President of DRM & Solutions Inc.
  • March 2009 Retired as President of DRM & Solutions Inc.
  • April 2013 Appointed Chief Researcher at the Center of the History of Japanese Industrial Technology, National Museum of Nature and Science Director of the Japan Audio Society
  • Fellow of the AES (Audio Engineering Society)
  • Member of the Acoustical Society of Japan



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