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  #1  
Old Jun 7, 2010, 10:14 PM
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Default VGMDB's A Beginner's Guide to Buying VGM

This should be an all encompassing guide for people wanting to collect vgm.

Tip #1- Avoid the Bootleg

http://web.archive.org/web/201104221...ce=bootleggers


Bootlegs are so common in vgm that you will see them in American malls. Be careful and ask questions to avoid getting suckered. My experience with bootleg CDs involved Chaos Legion OST. I had a friend buy my Chaos Legion OST on ebay for $13 (RED FLAG). I got the cd and realized that it looked off and was missing the mini-disc.

After that experience I developed huge mistrust of vgm sellers on the internet and in physical stores. Continue a few years later into 2009 or so when I had figured out vgm buying, I saw a copy of Panzer Dragoon Orta Official Soundtrack for $6 at my local Disc Replay store. In complete disbelief of such a slightly rare soundtrack I had to drive back to the store after printing off a copy of all the bootleg companies (list available at Chudah's-Corner) and scans of the OST covers. It wasn't bootleg. The guy who sold it probably only got $2 store credit for it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyLogic
Some other basics a beginner should know is that when dealing with online stores and individual sellers that you're not familiar with, it's always a good idea to look for the proper catalog number and/or publisher name and then compare it to the info here on VGMdb. Most legitimate sellers post this information.

Another tip for when dealing with individual sellers like on eBay is to check this database to see if there are scans available of the soundtrack you're interested in purchasing, look for where the publisher title/image is supposed to be and then ask for a unique picture of the of the soundtrack from the seller so that you can compare the images and see if everything adds up. The reason I say "unique picture" is because some persons might use pictures that are widely available on the net, or from here, to represent authentic soundtracks when in fact they're selling bootlegs.

in case you don't know, most times the publisher logo/title is shown somewhere on the album case or obi strip like so (see bottom-right corner) while bootleggers usually replace or remove the publisher logo/title like so.

Tip #2 Enter the Online Stores

CDJapan, Amazon Japan, Play-Asia, and Otaku.com are recommended websites to shop from. Amazon Japan is not as intimidating as English speakers may think; it lets you translate the page into English (ignore Google translate).

Tip #3 Shop Japan

http://list3.auctions.yahoo.co.jp/jp...gory-leaf.html
http://www.shoppingmalljapan.com/

Eventually you will get tired of limiting yourself to forum sales and online stores and want to go to "the ebay of japan". Not much else to say on the subject except that bidding is much different than on Ebay. When someone bids under 15 minutes left the timer resets to 15 minutes. When someone bids below 10 minutes, it goes back to 10 minutes. This extends the last minutes left tension. Plan your strategies accordingly.

Tip #4 First Come, First Serve

Everyone wants a good deal and those who wait will usually find one. The only catch is that to get the good deal you need to be actively checking on forum marketplaces as people will usually snatch good deals ($30 for Gunstar Heroes OST) immediately. This has resulted in me just barely emailing people seconds before others to win $100 valued albums for $30 and under (Beyond the Beyond and Shining In The Holy Ark).

Tip #5 Avoid Getting Ripped Off

To avoid getting ripped off you should know the market value of said item of desire and the rarity.
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoldFishX
Neat trick...go on Amazon Japan, punch in a CD's catalog number (better than guessing between English or Japanese wording for the titles) and watch the fun in the form of bloated prices. Occasionally, I'll be pleasantly surprised (most old school Falcom albums can be had dirt cheap), but flipping through a number of albums reveals pretty insane prices.
If you see a Goemon or Donkey Kong Country 2 soundtrack don't expect to get a good deal. However, there are plenty of other albums that are somewhat rare that can be had for low prices. There are people on yahoo japan that want to sell you items valued for $40 dollars (Streets of Rage 2 Soundtrack and Persona2: Innocent Sin) for double the value.

Tip #6 Know Your Limits

Collecting video game music is one of the most selfish and costly activities I do. It's not enough to own the game (and listen to its music there), I have to own the soundtrack--and you will be surprised that the soundtrack costs even more than the game. With country economies on the verge of collapsing, people are getting desperate and selling all sorts of valuable vgm for great prices. So, the lesson is to acquire your "essentials" first and only acquire other items if they are abnormally underpriced. Also I think watching out for the signs of addiction is important. Shopping on Yahoo Japan is an activity that can get out of hand--you are allowed to spend 5x what you deposit to ShoppingMallJapan for your bidding limit. Know to shop when you're in a stable mood (note your shopping spree triggers).


That's it for now.

In Development:
FAQ Section:
Question 1. Is VGM collecting for me

Advanced Strategy Section:
Tip #1- Bidding Tactics

Do not ever think you have won a bid on eBay untill it says you're the winning bidder. On eBay, you should put in your highest conceivable amount you will spend on the album (also ask yourself how much over your "highest bid" is reasonable to you) in the last minute. It pays to snipe auctions, but it is risky as your internet or eBay may unexpectedly slow up. The reason you want to snipe auctions is to take advantage of other's confidence that they've won the item since no one bid on it and there are only 15 seconds left. If you bid too early, you give your inexperienced opposition a chance to raise your payment or outbid you.

On Yahoo Japan Auction, you should bid your highest amount before the last 15 minutes. There is a strategy of bidding such a high amount that bidders get discouraged after bidding more than twice to see their bid be outmatched. Also, if they outbid you and pay a huge amount then the next time that item appears you should end up paying less for it and have an idea what your competition is--sellers seeing such a profitable gain to be made could inspire them to put that same item up for sale.

Another thing is to never log onto VGMdb to look up an album under your username when you see an item get listed--guests draw less attention and usually go unnoticed on the 2nd page. You may cause someone to look up that said album on your bidding site and create a bidding war.

2. Taking advantage of your residing country (input from those in Asian countries on shopping for vgm in stores would greatly help)
3. ???

Input on adding new tips or refining tips is appreciated.

---

Useful Information

Yen to USD is about 80 to 1. (June 2012)
Special Order fees are a killer:
What do you think costs more a 10,000 yen album won from a Yahoo Japan Auction or 2 special orders albums totaling 8,500 yen?

If you said the two special order albums you are correct.

The 10,000 yen item will cost you $157.30
The two special order items will cost you $192.85

As of March 2013 the JPY to USD is 95 to 1. Enjoy.
As of late May 2013 the JPY to USD is 100 to 1. Enjoy.
As of December 2018 the JPY to USD is 113 to 1. Enjoy.

Last edited by Vert1; Dec 25, 2018 at 08:12 PM.
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  #2  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vert1 View Post
Bootlegs are so common in vgm that you will see them in American malls. Be careful and ask questions to avoid getting suckered.
Actually, I never quite understood why bootlegs are such a problem. For people who like to listen to game music, that is - I see why collectors and copyright holders would be offended by bootlegs. (Note: I don't condone producing and selling bootlegs, but I do acknowledge that for the purpose of listening they are often as good as "the real thing", but more readily available and at far more affordable price.)

Btw., bootlegs are far more of a problem with asian (Japanese/Korean) game soundtracks than with european/american releases. Which is lucky for those of us who prefer euro/US music :-). Plus you don't need to learn japanese to actually have a chance of a good deal.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 07:53 AM
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The reason is very simple: When you buy a bootleg then you don't support the original artist with your money, but the bootleggers.

So you could as well just leech the music somewhere of the net. But at least for me, I want to support the artist when I buy something. So the main problem is cash flow, the money doesn't end up where it belongs but somewhere in Taiwan.

For me bootlegs are a far more serious problem than filesharing is.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 07:57 AM
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The reason I hate bootlegs deals with what I would call an obsession in the vgm community: perfectionism. We want more than a tinny mp3 (we want all of the sound file). We want and will pay more money for an obi strip for "completion" reasons (it's really perfectionism). We want high quality material (bootlegs often are marred with false ugly logos and slightly worse covers and cd pressing covers).

When I had my friend buy me Chaos Legion OST for cheap I was thinking I was getting a good price. (VGM collectors have no greater pleasure besides the music than getting a good price for an expensive cd). When you buy a bootleg you may get all of the soundfile, but something else suffers. To me a bootleg cd is worthless; it is an affront to my music collection and my standards. VGM enthusiasts tend not to even get bootlegs because it is a weird middle ground between paying for an actual copy and simply downloading it.
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  #5  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
The reason is very simple: When you buy a bootleg then you don't support the original artist with your money, but the bootleggers.
That may be valid for in-print titles, but how does it apply to soundtracks which went out of print ten or fifteen years ago?
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:03 AM
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I have always had the amusing thought of some original artist selling a few of their extra oop soundtracks for massive amounts of money. Besides that I don't see much financial support to be gathered.

Last edited by Vert1; Jun 8, 2010 at 08:05 AM.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pepak View Post
That may be valid for in-print titles, but how does it apply to soundtracks which went out of print ten or fifteen years ago?
Same applies here, you support the bootleggers - you push money into the whole bootlegging industry. The industry expands (though only in Taiwan maybe) and you enable them to print more bootlegs, probably also to increase the quality so it's even more difficult to spot the difference between original and bootleg.

Put simply: You support the industry that's built around one thing: Copying a product that doesn't belong to them and making money from it.

EDIT: In case it's not known: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berne_C...Artistic_Works
So in fact Taiwan companies can bootleg whatever they want in their country, however they're not allowed to sell the stuff outside their country / to a country which has signed this agreement.

Last edited by LiquidAcid; Jun 8, 2010 at 08:14 AM.
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  #8  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:17 AM
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If VGM and Anime music wasn't so expensive people wouldn't have to resort to bootlegs now would they?
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  #9  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:21 AM
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As if paying for a luxury item is a "resort". I'll add this later, but don't get into collecting vgm with a "dollar store" mentality.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:25 AM
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@Lowe: I won't comment on that. If you want to troll then try harder next time...
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:40 AM
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Well Lowe's comment adds more information to the other side's perspective; the side I think shouldn't be collecting vgm. So, it is not a total loss or abortive post.

Last edited by Vert1; Jun 8, 2010 at 08:46 AM.
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  #12  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 08:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
Same applies here, you support the bootleggers - you push money into the whole bootlegging industry.
Not me - the soundtracks I am interested in are not interesting for bootleggers.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 09:04 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vert1 View Post
As if paying for a luxury item is a "resort". I'll add this later, but don't get into collecting vgm with a "dollar store" mentality.
Some of us just want the Music and aren't interested in 'collecting'.

Quote:
@Lowe: I won't comment on that. If you want to troll then try harder next time...
That's your answer to everything, just because you don't share the same opinion doesn't make me a troll.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LiquidAcid View Post
The reason is very simple: When you buy a bootleg then you don't support the original artist with your money, but the bootleggers.
Unless you're buying newly-released soundtracks or purchasing direct from the original composer or publisher, you're not supporting the original artist with your money either. They won't make a cut off of sales from eBay or YahooJapan auctions, and they certainly don't make anything when buying/trading on forums or sites like this.

Note that I don't disagree with the notion that bootlegging is a problem, but the channels of obtaining VGM albums outlined in this guide aren't exactly supportive of the original artists either.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 09:48 AM
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@Lowe and Liquid Acid

Okay guys. I let some "negativity" into attacking arguments, but I don't want that same negativity to blatantly attack other users (ad hominem). It would fuel more posts and view count, but it's not worth it. I don't mind personal attacks or strong statements that are well reasoned. I didn't see an attempt at trolling, but I agree that the comment was not adequately expounded on.

As for 'collecting' the music, we have to decide how technical we want to use the term--collecting in the sense that you are storing it. Now we can argue that people would buy it to rip full sound quality, but then I've already mentioned (and this website has recently addressed) users who simply ask and download FLAC files (collecting mp3s) from other people. So with the internet commonplace in our lives it is strange to see vgm enthusiasts purchase a bootleg and almost illogical too, but I can understand for certain cases. Now there is an even more "extreme" breed of vgm person that collects only to sell or just look at (not for listening to the music). That's an interesting topic I would like to get input on from buyers who do that because I assume they are better at getting good deals and selling for high prices.

Last edited by Vert1; Jun 8, 2010 at 12:06 PM.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleJCrb View Post
Unless you're buying newly-released soundtracks or purchasing direct from the original composer or publisher, you're not supporting the original artist with your money either. They won't make a cut off of sales from eBay or YahooJapan auctions, and they certainly don't make anything when buying/trading on forums or sites like this.
Sorry, but I think you're missing the big picture. Cashflow isn't always direct and that's naturally also the case here.

With your argument you shouldn't buy any of the albums that are published by any major record labels. The distributor/publisher 'barrier' between artist and consumer is a totally different thing, and doesn't belong into this discussion.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KyleJCrb View Post
Note that I don't disagree with the notion that bootlegging is a problem, but the channels of obtaining VGM albums outlined in this guide aren't exactly supportive of the original artists either.
No, of course not.

However there are more options than just 'support the artist' and 'do not support artist'. And that's where bootleggers come into play. Most people don't know what bootlegs are. So we've a number of customers who're _willing_ to invest money to buy an album. Bootleggers provide the 'better deal', in terms of how cheap the copy is. So we end up with the option 'hurt the artist' and that's exactly what's happening here - the naive customer is satisfied with his bootleg purchase and probably happy about his 'good deal'. However the original artist is never going to see one penny of the money that went to the bootlegger. And like already stated, that's not even the important part - more important is that you're _actively_ supporting the bootleg industry.

So you have the option of:
1) Support the artist - buy album, go to concert
2) Stay neutral / don't support the artist - filesharing (!)
3) Hurt the artist - buy bootlegs

Disclaimer: That's how I see things and I acknowledge that people might have a different opinion. No further comments here from me - I made my point clear and that's it

Last edited by LiquidAcid; Jun 8, 2010 at 10:39 AM.
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  #17  
Old Jun 8, 2010, 11:21 AM
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I wonder if this is beginners guide, then why there isn't any mentions of CDJapan, Amazon Japan, Play-Asia, VGMWorld, Otaku.com and probably few other online retail stores.

And fuck bootleggers, there's no justification nowhatsoever to give money to those bastards.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 12:06 PM
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I got a bootlegger with a bad attitude banned on egay! I bet he's raging. Wonder if paypal stole "his" money.
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Old Jun 8, 2010, 12:11 PM
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It's a beginner's guide in development. The ultimate goal would be to finish the guide and have the thread stickied.

So yea, that's a good one to add: recommended stores to shop from. I made the silly mistake of skipping over that one and going straight to Yahoo Japan Auctions.

edit: I do not want this thread to devolve into what is "moral".

Last edited by Vert1; Jun 9, 2010 at 10:08 AM.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 01:39 AM
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Some other basics a beginner should know is that when dealing with online stores and individual sellers that you're not familiar with, it's always a good idea to look for the proper catalog number and/or publisher name and then compare it to the info here on VGMdb. Most legitimate sellers post this information.

Another tip for when dealing with individual sellers like on eBay is to check this database to see if there are scans available of the soundtrack you're interested in purchasing, look for where the publisher title/image is supposed to be and then ask for a unique picture of the of the soundtrack from the seller so that you can compare the images and see if everything adds up. The reason I say "unique picture" is because some persons might use pictures that are widely available on the net, or from here, to represent authentic soundtracks when in fact they're selling bootlegs.

in case you don't know, most times the publisher logo/title is shown somewhere on the album case or obi strip like so (see bottom-right corner) while bootleggers usually replace or remove the publisher logo/title like so.

Btw, I have complained to eBay about seller: animengamemusic (A.K.A. games-n-anime music) but they haven't removed them yet. Does eBay not have a policy against the sale of bootlegs or are they just slow to action?
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One man was smart, he felt smart. Two men were smart, they smelt farrr...darn it! I'll never get it right.

What is "the box" that people are supposed to think outside of anyway? Hmm. Maybe it's similar to the Borg from Star Trek who dwelled as a collective hive-mind within a...box/cube. Those that deviated from this hive-mind would, in effect, be thinking outside of the box. it has both a figurative and a literal meaning.

Last edited by KeyLogic; Jun 9, 2010 at 01:50 AM.
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  #21  
Old Jun 9, 2010, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KeyLogic View Post
Does eBay not have a policy against the sale of bootlegs or are they just slow to action?
While eBay does have a "No Bootleg" policy, it is usually not in eBay's interests to crack down on sellers offering bootleg items for sale because bootleg item sellers financially support eBay (and the other way around too) via the various eBay fees including Final Value Fees. You might call it a symbiotic relationship.

I have no evidence for it but in general, I would assume that eBay will only act if the authorisation holder themselves asks eBay to remove the relevant bootleg items or if a seller's items are so inundated with reports, such that it cannot be ignored. Since it doesn't appear that game music publishers will be contacting eBay anytime soon about their pirated works being sold and since game music is such a niche interest, your reports will be ignored because you're getting in the way of eBay's profits and its shareholder value.
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Old Jun 9, 2010, 06:59 PM
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egay only takes stuff down when they're getting LOTS of reports, or are pressured by the copyright's owners (who can sue them). I can tell you with certainty that much.

Seriously, fuck ebay, fuck gaypal, never use either. Paypal is a scamming tool (for buyers), sellers get fucked in the ass with ebay+paypal's combined fees which are like 1878583487487% profit for ebay, cause ebay doesn't really cost that much to maintain. There are better auction sites, but all the stupid noobs only buy on ebay. Ironically, because it's so easy to get your money back.

You could try to contact the copyright owner, couldn't you? =/
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Old Jun 13, 2010, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cam View Post
You could try to contact the copyright owner, couldn't you? =/
Sure, but the chance that they'll even both with sending a C&D is minimal. Either the album will be OOP, in which case the bootleggers make a load of cash, but the owner doesn't lose anything, or the album is still in-print, and the difference in demand is negligible. And the cost of a legal rep to write it up solidly probably won't be worth it (each C&D has to be written up separately, the text is not always the same.).

Not saying you shouldn't contact them though, in fact I'd recommend it - bootleggers don't even deserve to make back their production costs (read: 50c for a blank CD) selling that stuff. I buy my CDs simply so that I know that I have the real thing sitting on my shelf. If I just wanted the music I could always DL it and burn it myself.
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Old Jun 22, 2010, 10:07 PM
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@Cam: Sometimes eBay can be a useful place to buy VGM, especially since some persons may be selling items that would otherwise require a middle-man service and other hassles that many shoppers don't want to have to deal with. I don't have a great deal of experience dealing with eBay but my transactions have gone smoothly there thus far, especially since I grill the seller with questions and requests for proof as well as check in with some of the other persons he/she has sold items to.

Quote:
Originally Posted by layzee View Post
While eBay does have a "No Bootleg" policy, it is usually not in eBay's interests to crack down on sellers offering bootleg items for sale because bootleg item sellers financially support eBay (and the other way around too) via the various eBay fees including Final Value Fees. You might call it a symbiotic relationship.

I have no evidence for it but in general, I would assume that eBay will only act if the authorisation holder themselves asks eBay to remove the relevant bootleg items or if a seller's items are so inundated with reports, such that it cannot be ignored. Since it doesn't appear that game music publishers will be contacting eBay anytime soon about their pirated works being sold and since game music is such a niche interest, your reports will be ignored because you're getting in the way of eBay's profits and its shareholder value.
Sad but true. This is the case for many businesses and services. It's all about greed nowadays and not about what's fair to all consumers.
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What is "the box" that people are supposed to think outside of anyway? Hmm. Maybe it's similar to the Borg from Star Trek who dwelled as a collective hive-mind within a...box/cube. Those that deviated from this hive-mind would, in effect, be thinking outside of the box. it has both a figurative and a literal meaning.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 12:15 AM
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Just curious, but gamemusic.com seems to have problems loading for me. Is this happening for everyone else or just on my end because I wanted to go in and see whether their selections have changed.
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Old Jun 30, 2010, 12:29 AM
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Yeah, can confirm this.

Code:
The requested application was not found on this server.
That's the server's response.
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Old May 1, 2012, 01:58 PM
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Any other recommendations or tips from users here to add to the guide?
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:42 PM
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I just wanted to say to "Vert1" that this is an absolutely great thread! It's a very informative thread for those just getting into this often expensive hobby, but also useful for those of us who have been at this for years! You make some key points, most of them I use and follow by when buying this stuff! This should be starred or something so that this is never moved down in the forums, it should always be one of the first things people see when coming into the forums. Thanks for creating this!
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Old May 1, 2012, 06:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zzeroparticle View Post
Just curious, but gamemusic.com seems to have problems loading for me. Is this happening for everyone else or just on my end because I wanted to go in and see whether their selections have changed.
Sadly gamemusic.com is out of business, I tried to go on there one day and couldn't get onto the site. I searched the net and found out that they had to close down the business and sold the remaining inventory through a "limited time sale" on the website. The sale actually had some nice things in it too. Then a second effort was made to get rid of the old inventory. The rest of it was sold via the owner of the company's Ebay account. I bought many a soundtrack off of them back in the day, they were actually the place where I bought my first soundtracks. It was a real shame to see them go.
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Old May 2, 2012, 06:33 PM
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Hey. Thanks. I too am hoping to get it starred. I tried to convince Secret Squirrel on doing that when I first started the thread. Maybe he'll give in in 2012.

I also hope with the incorporation of anime soundtracks into the database that someone will create a guide for buying anime soundtracks...
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