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Subject: Anime Music FAQ for REC.ARTS.ANIME.* 3/3
This article was archived around: 09 Jan 2011 05:25:47 GMT
Posting-Frequency: every 4 weeks
Last-modified: 26 July, 2009
Copyright: (c) 2001-2004,2006,2008-2009 Ru Igarashi
Disclaimer: Approval for *.answers is based on form, not content.
Maintainer: Ru Igarashi <email@example.com>
Anime Music FAQ
Edited by Ru Igarashi
Based on the work of Steve Pearl
This article can be freely distributed for non-commercial use,
as long as all credits and notices remain intact. If this is to be
used in any publication, including CD-ROM collections, please
contact the maintainer for permission at
Please e-mail all additions/corrections/comments to:
Changes since last posting:
FAQ Entries needed (submissions welcome):
- need glossary entry for streaming Windows Media
This FAQ is posted in two parts.
1. General Questions
2. Legality Issues with Anime Music
1. Electronic Anime Music Resources
2. Anime Mail Order Businesses
The following are short descriptions of terms and abbreviations common
in this newsgroup. For a comprehensive list of acronyms used in the
rec.arts.anime.* news groups, see Rob Kelk's "Anime Acronym List",
posted monthly, or found at
.au/.aiff/.snd/.voc/.wav: Suffices for different types of audio files.
Most of them do not use any compression. Are now mainly
used for computer system sounds (which is what they originally
started out for).
.avi: AVI video files. AVI is not actually a compression format,
rather a wrapper for a wide variety of video compression formats.
.gz: Suffix for unix "gzip" compressed file.
See Compressed File.
.lha/.lzh: Suffix for Lempel-Ziv-Haruyasu algorithm compressed file.
See Compressed File.
.m3u: Suffix for "MPEG1 Layer 3 URL" file.
See M3U and MP1/MP2/MP3 files below.
.mov/.qt: Suffices for QuickTime video files. Like AVI, this is a
wrapper for a wide variety of video compression formats.
.mp1/.mp2/.mp3: see MP1/MP2/MP3 Files below
.mpg: MPEG1 video file. Not to be confused with MP1/MP2/MP3. See
.ogg: Ogg Vorbis audio file. See Ogg Vorbis file below.
.pls: Suffix for Shoutcast PlayLiSt file. See PLS Files below
.ra/.rm/.ram/.rpm: "Real" audio/visual files, a proprietary format by the
company that produces the RealPlayer line of software. These
are usually used as a source file for streaming AV content
over the net rather than download-then-play. Some of these
(.ram, .rpm) are actually contain pointers to the actual file.
.tgz/.tar.gz: Suffix for gzipped GNU tar compressed archive file.
.Z: Suffix for standard unix "compress" compressed files.
See Compressed File. [SP]
.zip: Suffix for the MSDOS zip compressed archive file.
See Compressed File.
Anime: Japanese word for animation, pronounced "ah-nee-meh". In North
America (and probably everywhere outside of Japan), "anime"
is used only in reference to Japanses animation (whereas, in
Japan it refers to all animation). The term "anime" is preferred
in this newsgroup over "japanimation" (a term used by North
Americans to refer to Japanese animation), as the latter seems
to be offensive to some people. [SP,RI]
Anison: Japanese word for "anime song". Detailed definitions vary, but
basically these are songs made for and used in anime. Often these
are OP or ED, and sometimes instrumental OP or ED are considered
anisons. Technically speaking a "song" is sung, i.e. has a singer,
so it might be argued that instrumentals don't count. Purists
also stipulate that anison are sung by career anime artists,
singers who don't have (much of) a singing career outside of
Anonymous FTP: A type of FTP to log into a remote machine without
needing an account, and extracting files from it (see FTP).
Web browsers make use of this "automatically", so you don't
really need to know how. If you want to use anonymous FTP
manually but don't know how, ask your local System
BGM: Background music
bitrate: In the audio context (also in video), the bitrate cited
is usually the maximum volume of digital data (number
of "bits") available at a time (e.g. per second) for
compressed audio data. It is often used synonymously with
compression factor and audio quality (more compression
results in poorer quality) because the raw audio data
usually starts out with much higher digital size and must
be squeezed down the the assigned bitrate. For example,
CD audio runs at more than 1 million bits per second,
and MP3s typically reduce that to the order of 100,000
bits per second (100 kbps).
bootleg: Copies of a work (e.g. CD) made and distributed illegally,
especially with respect to copyright laws, which usually
stipulate that copying and distribution require permission
(and usually licensing) from the original producer of the
work. Frequently used synonymously with the term "pirated".
Browser: An application for accessing the web, like Netscape. [SP]
CCCD: Copy-Control CDs. As the name implies, these are CDs with
a form of copy control, particularly to try to block copying of
music on computers. Introduced to the market by Avex, it is
my understanding that the CCCD is actually a multi-session CDROM
with data (plus some black magic) and audio tracks. The audio
tracks contain the usual CD format music, but the data track is
what computers see, and that typically contains compressed
audio files along with a M$ Windows "private player" (it looks
like some companies use their own encoding, one company uses
K2 enc and Sony uses their minidisc ATRAC).
If you want to identify CCCDs, the standard logo can be seen
in this Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) news:
There are currently 5 Japanese companies using some variant of
the CCCD format (you'll have to use a translation service to
read their web pages):
Japan Victor (JVC) (http://www.jvcmusic.co.jp/cccd/)
King Records (http://www.kingrecords.co.jp/cccd/index.html)
Pony Canyon (http://www.ponycanyon.co.jp/tpci/cccd)
Universal Music Japan
Warner Music Japan
Avex, King, Universal Pony Canyon and JVC use Cactus Data Shield
protection scheme. Sony CCCDs use Labelgate protection scheme.
It should be noted that Phillips, the originator of the CD format
refuses to allow the CD trademark to be used on these CDs (because
they simply aren't audio CDs).
CD: Compact Disc. These are 5 inch optical storage disks
capable of holding up to 650 megabytes of data or 74 minutes
of audio (well, they can squeeze in more, but that's the
There are a few types of anime audio CDs:
soundtrack or original soundtrack or OST - Contains the
musical score for the anime. An exception is the
soundtrack for Akira, which includes the voices and
sound effects! If you just want the music, get the
Akira Symphonic Suite instead.
symphonic - A full-symphony rendition of the music in
image - Contains music that "evokes the memory (or mood)
of the film". This includes new versions of music on
the anime, music written for the film but not included
in it, and other (maybe new) music somehow related to
drama - Much like a radio play, but on CD. The story
can be from the video, but often is not.
high-tech - A synthetizer rendition of the music in
CDROM: CDs used for computer data storage. They can, of course, hold
audio files, but they can't be played in an audio CD player.
Playback is via computer, or portable audio file playback
device (similar to the Rio).
CD-R: Write once, read many times CD. Can be used to make audio
CDs and computer data CDs. Compatible with most CD-only
players (home audio and computer alike), however, some
DVD decks cannot read these since the laser frequency is
mismatched to the disc dyes used. Once written, it can't
be written over and more audio tracks cannot be added.
Data versions can have additional data written in a special
"multi-session" format, which aren't readable on older CDROMs.
CD-RW: Rewritable CD. Can be used to make audio CDs and computer
data CDs. Can be written over many times (though there is
a limit), or written incrementally. Not all CD-only players
can play these, but DVD decks should because the dyes used
are coincidentally closer matched to the DVD laser
frequency than CD-Rs.
CD-Single: A 3 inch version of the normal (5 1/4 inch) CD. There's
no difference in the data structure, but because it is
physically smaller, it holds less music. Usually used
for music "singles" (the term "single" is loosely applied
as often there are a couple to a few songs on one). These
can be played in most normal CD players (if you see a
smaller diameter depresssion in your tray and have
wondered about it, this is what it's for).
CD-V: CD-Video. A CD that has one track of audio-and-video, and
three or four additional tracks of audio-only. Not to be
confused with VCD (see VCD below). [SP,RI]
Compressed File: Files compressed by programs like Unix compress(1),
gzip(1), or MSDOS zip. This is done to long files (like long
FAQs) to save disk storage space and reduce download time. In
order to view such a file, you usually first run a decompression
program like gunzip(1), or unzip, in order to convert it back
to its original form. There are some programs that allow you
to view compressed files without manually decompressing the
files first. Also, in the case of tar or zip, the content
is usually more than one file (even whole directory structures).
DMCA: Digital Millenium Copyright Act - a US Bill that amended US
Code 17 (Copyright Law) (e.g. Chapter 12). Acquired some
infamy with one of its intents which was to update Title 17
to deal with computer technology's effect on intellectual
property. In particular, the DMCA deals with two issues:
measures that prevent unauthorized ACCESS and measures that
prevent unauthorized COPYING (defined as the exclusive rights
of an author). BUT it explicitly does not affect the other
aspects of USC 17, including the various exclusions and
limitations of copyright.
And then came the uproar. The DMCA says that "No person shall
circumvent a technological measure that effectively controls
access to a work...". Unfortunately, some people have taken
this to mean that anyone that does something like a screen
capture of a DVD for a term paper is breaking the law because
piping the DVD player's analog signal into a capture card is
"circumventing" the DVD's encryption. That isn't the case,
because a) term papers are fair use which the DMCA allows, and
more importantly, b) the DVD deck is a permitted way to play
back the DVD, c) "circumvent protection..." is defined as "means
avoiding, bypassing, removing, deactivating, or otherwise
impairing... a measure". b)&c) indicates ACCESS has clearly
not been circumvented since the data went RIGHT THROUGH the
protection. As long as you use standard (authorized) equipment
to play back digital media, DMCA is a far smaller issue than
alarmists make it out to be.
Check Chapter 12 of USC 17, for more details on the actual law.
If you are into lawmaking, you can find the text of the act at
the Library of Congress site:
Like most amendments, it's a bit messy, so the US Copyright
Office has an enlightening Summary at
Dolby Digital: Used to be called AC-3, a digital audio specfication
for sound recordings used mostly with video. It is not
limited to surround sound, as the specfication allows for
monaural (1.0), stereo (2.0), and surround (5.1) sound. It
has since been extended to 6.1 and 7.1 in DD Surround EX
for more precise rear or back surround sound placement. This
is still technically 5.1 because the extra surround speaker
info is encoded in the left and right surround tracks then
decoded for the extra speakers by the EX-enabled sound system.
This means a DD 7.1 recording can still be played back on a
5.1 sound system.
This is not MPEG, which is ironic because the video it
usually accompanies is MPEG.
Drama track: Some CDs have radio-play style skits between music
tracks. They can be comedy or drama, but are still
refered to as "Drama tracks".
DVD: The next generation of optical storage medium after CDs.
Introduced as a video medium, the specifications for the
audio variant was only finalized in early 1999. The audio
DVD can hold a vastly larger volume of music data, some
of which is directed towards a higher audio quality than CD
and some of which can be used for surround audio, thanks to
MPEG compression (see MP1/2/3 and MPEG below). However,
audio DVDs are rare, and it isn't clear that older players
will be compatible with DVD-audio software. For more
information, check Jim Taylor's DVD FAQ at
ED: Ending credits. Also used in reference to the music playing
during the ending credits.
FAQ: Frequently Asked Question. A question which is frequently
asked by new (or casual) users of a newsgroup. In order to
increase the Signal-to-Noise ratio, some newsgroups have
a person in charge of posting a monthly list of FAQs and
the correct answers. [SP]
FTP: "File Transfer Protocol". A method of moving files from one
computer to another that involves logging into the other
machine and issuing commands to get and put files onto
either machine. Logging in essentially opens a data pipeline
between the two machines that are normally closed off from
each other. Most of us will use it as Anonymous FTP
(see Anonymous FTP) for getting a file from someone, but
the folks providing that file probably used straight FTP to
put the file where we can get it. If you want to use FTP
manually but don't know how, ask your local System
Administrator (it's pretty simple most of the time).
HD: "High Definition" video. The allowed picture dimensions are
1280x720 and 1920x1080, with a 16:9 ratio. Compared to
"standard" video, that's a lot better resolution.
IM: Image Song (see Image Song below)
Image Album: See CD above.
Image Song: A song on an anime-related CD that isn't actually used
in the anime show. It usually has some aspect that is tied
to the show, like the atmosphere or imagery, or the singer
sings in character.
IMHO: In My [Humble|Honest] Opinion.
J-Pop: Japanese Pop. A term used to refer to, well, pop music
originating in Japan. Some anime music fall under this
category, and some VAs have some sort of J-Pop career.
Karaoke version: Some CDs have tracks from what were originally
vocal music, but without the vocals. This is for folks
that want to sing their rendition of the vocals. That is,
this is for Karaoke. Some companies call these "off vocal
kbps: kilobits per second. Unit of measure for bitrates. See "bitrates".
M3U files: "MPEG1 Layer 3 URL", a file containing a list of pointers
(originally URLs) of MP3 files for streaming audio. Used
by some MP3 players as a playlist file, which contain a
list of files, or the location of off-site files, to play
back. Some streaming audio sites use these, but the
actual audio is MP3 format. See also PLS files.
MD: MiniDisc. An optical music storage format, using a 2.5 inch
disc in a cassette from Sony. These make use of Sony's
proprietary ATRAC (Adaptive Transform Acoustic Coding)
compression format to fit data onto the smaller form factor.
This compression uses the same principles as MP3
(see MP1/MP2/MP3) but is a different implementation, and
thus incompatible. This format has occasionally been used
in .wav files. Discs can be rewritable and those can be
written and deleted on the fly. There are home stereo units
that can record and play the discs, as well as portable
playback units. Never caught on as well outside of Japan
as CD did, despite the recordability, though Sony started
a push in the late 1990's. Note, this is not the same thing
as CD-Singles (see CD-Single). For more information,
MDLP: MiniDisc Long Play. A newer MiniDisc encoding format that
allows the disc to hold 160 and 320 minutes of data. The
bitrate is actually lower than half and 1/4 of the standard
(SP) due to the inclusion of space for dummy data to make this
format compatible with SP. Players that can play MDLP can
play SP, but machines made before MDLP or without it cannot
play MDLP formatted discs.
MIDI files: As noted above, MIDI files are intrinsically like MOD
files, deriving sound from individual samples rather than
one continuous waveform. However, MIDI files use a more
standard sample set, and with the proper hardware you
can play a piece on a keyboard/synthesizer and have your
computer record it as a MIDI file. More information can
be found on the alt.binaries.sounds.midi, alt.music.midi,
and comp.music.midi newsgroups. [SP]
Mini-Disc: See MD.
MOD files: MOD files use discrete instrumental samples plus other
information (frequency of the note, volume, etc) to play
sounds, as opposed to WAV and AU formats which just play
back a single continuous waveform. Any sample, generally
up to a size limit (in number of bytes), can be taken,
unlike MIDI which has a specific, though growing, standard
set of samples. The MOD format started on the Amiga and was
subsequently ported to PCs, Macs, etc. The original format
has also been improved from its original four channels
and somewhat limited effects to more than 30 channels
and a multitude of effects (volume and tonal slides,
vibrato, etc). Probably the most popular "advanced"
MOD format is the ScreamTracker Module, or .S3M file.
More information can be found on the alt.binaries.sounds.mod
and a.b.s.mod.d newsgroups. [SP]
MP1/MP2/MP3 files: Sound files which use a "lossy" compression
algorithm to reduce the size of the sound file an order
of magnitude from the raw size. It takes advantage of the
human ear's inability to perceive variations beyond certain
levels (e.g. frequency). It can be adjusted to throw more
or less information away at the cost of audio quality.
The actual formal denotation is MPEG1-layer1/2/3, so that
the acronyms result from truncating the "version 1" index.
That is, MP2 is NOT MPEG2, it is a subset of MPEG1.
There are other MPEG audio codecs, but relative to the
efficiency of MPEG1-layer3, the returns are so poor they
are not broadly used, except possibly MPEG2 in DVD.
There are now portable hardware that can input and play
back MP3 files.
MPEG: "Moving Picture Experts Group", a series of specifications
for compressing digital video and audio data. They use a
"lossy" compression philosophy, which takes advantage of
our senses' inability to percieve variations beyond certain
levels. It relies on playback devices to have code that
does a decent job of approximating the original information
based on the reduced information from the compressor. There
are actually 4 "phases" of MPEG, with varying degrees of
public recognition. MPEG1 is commonly used for video CDs
(see VCD below), movie files, and MP1/MP2/MP3 audio files
(see MP1/MP2/MP3 above). MPEG2 is what DVDs use for video
(and Dolby Digital or MPEG2 for audio). MPEG3 was found to
be redundant with MPEG2. MPEG4 is for extreme compression
situations, like telephony and internet movies. MPEG1 was
used a lot for transmission of programming to local broadcast
stations, but the Digital TV age will guarantee MPEG2
dominance for that purpose.
For more information, check the FAQs at http://www.mpeg.org.
Off Vocal Version: see "Karaoke version"
Ogg Vorbis file: An audio file using an open software compression
algorithm. The aim is to be an alternative to MP3 because
of licensing issues for MP3 players. Algorithm uses a
similar lossy compression philosophy (see MP1/MP2/MP3), but
implements it differently so that intellectual property
rights are not violated. Most major audio players should
be able to play this format.
OP: Opening credits. Also used in reference to the music
playing during the opening credits.
OS: Operating System (computers). After all, computers are used
to play music, too. :)
OST: Original Soundtrack (see "soundtrack"). Usually in reference
to a soundtrack as a body of work (e.g. CD, LP). Sometimes
used synonymously with ST.
outro: The ending sequence or credits, or in the context of music,
the ending theme. see also ED
Overseas version: These seem to be CDs destined for foreign (outside
of Japan) markets. They are either produced in Japan for
export, or produced by a foreign branch of a Japanese
company, or licensed by a foreign company. Beware! Sometimes
this tag is used for bootlegs.
[editor's note: Which overseas-version producing companies are
legit? Which aren't, or which make lousy CDs?]
PCM: Pulse Coded Modulation audio format. This is what the
uncompressed or raw data data on CDs is called. You'll
see the technical sections of your CD and DVD players
refer to this. This is also the required format for
audio on DVD-Audio (i.e. compressed MPEG audio formats
PLS files: Shoutcast PlayLiSt file used by some MP3 Players, which
contain a list of files, or the location of off-site files,
to play back. Some streaming audio sites use these, but the
actual audio is MP3 format. The main difference with M3U
files is extra information (e.g. title) and syntax, but
otherwise serves the same function.
SACD: "Super Audio CD". These are CDs that are encoded with a
special format to highly increase the bitrate, thus
increase audio fidelity. They require a special player
for the high quality playback, but can be played on
standard CDs with standard CD quality sound (by virtue
of a standard CD layer). The increased bitrate also
allows for surround sound playback (again, only on
SACD compatible players).
seiyuu: Japanese word for voice actor.
soundtrack: the music that plays during a show, or the score.
Sometimes used synonymously with OST CD.
SHM-CD: "Super High Material CD". These are CDs made with a high
transparency plastic that reduces read errors, thus apparently
improving sound quality. Some reports suggest nearly as
good improvement at SACDs. Regardless, these are totally
compatible with standard CD players and the improvement
should apply to any CD player (possibly moreso with poorer
quality CD players).
ST: Soundtrack (see "soundtrack"). Sometimes used synonymously
URL: An URL is used by programs (usually browsers) to find a
specific file or location anywhere on the internet. URL is
short for "Uniform Resource Locator".
For example, two sites may have the same file called
priss01.gif, but the URL's will be different, such as
For the technically minded, a URL is made like this:
^1 ^2 ^3 ^4 ^5 ^6
1: The type of service (such as FTP, Telnet, etc.).
2: The separator to the actual address.
3: The address (or site) on the internet where the
information can be accessed.
4: The seperator to the local directory/folder of the
5: The folder/directory structure to locate the item.
6: The actual file itself. This isn't always there, and
when it isn't the computer pointed to by #3 will send
over a default file, the directory listing, or other
Usenet: Technically, the proper name for "news groups". It is a
messaging system in which each message is broadcast to, and
stored at any site that wishes to provide access to the
message to its users, by category, or "news group". That
means there is no central server, and no one controls or
rules usenet. Many news groups are grouped under
"hierarchies" which have different policies. Usenet has
been around longer than the internet, but now mostly uses
the internet to transmit messages (it doesn't have to).
Note, "news groups are not the internet", and vice versa,
and "news groups are not web boards", etc.
VA: Voice Actor
VBR: Variable Bit Rate. For some digital audio (and video)
compression schemes, the Bitrate (see "bitrate") can be
continuously changed to suit more or less complex changes
in sound (or picture). This helps to optimize the storage
space (e.g. on a DVD) and reproduction quality. This is
done at the authoring phase and is out of the user's
VCD: Video CD. Video is compressed using MPEG1 lossy algorithm.
The specification (White book) is fairly strict, allowing
for only a fairly limited bitrate and only 352x240 (NTSC) or
352x288 (PAL) resolution. Can hold up to just over one hour
of video, as well as menu driven access and still images,
and computer files. Not really an audio format, though not
out of the question. Not to be confused with DVD.
WWW: World Wide Web. A global, interactive, dynamic, cross-
platform, distributed, graphical, hypermedia information
system that runs over the Internet. Note, "the web is not
the internet", and vice versa. [SP,RI]
As with most FAQs, the information documented in the
this FAQ comes from many people (yes, anime fans
are people, too). Our thanks should go to these people.
Steve Pearl (who started this FAQ)
Daniel (a.k.a. vanfanel)
Wayne C. Morris
Zoe (of zoemi.com)
John Lee Baird
This document is provided without any warrantees, implied or
expressed. The editor assumes no responsibility for damages
resulting from the use of the information the document contains
or the lack thereof.
Edited by Ru Igarashi.
E-mail submissions and questions about the newsgroup to