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Dōjin music (同人音楽), also called otokei dōjin (音系同人) in Japan, is a sub-category of dōjin activity. Dōjin are basically non-official self-published Japanese works which can be based on official products or completely original creations. Such products are sold online on specialized sites, on the author's own sites and in conventions such as the very popular Comic Markets.
Dōjin music isn't a musical genre in itself but is indicative of a particular publishing way, like the term "indie" would be.
By nature, dōjin music is often synthetic digital productions which allow for self-production at low costs, as opposed to studio mastering live instruments require. It is pretty common to have one live instrument such as a guitar backed up by synthetic orchestrations, though, and full instrumentation is becoming more and more common in dōjin music, such as orchestral works or dōjin jazz.
Dōjin music artists can be solo or band projects. It is very common for members of different groups to collaborate on an album. Some projects, such as Woodsoft, are collaborations of several artists contributing to a given theme for each of their album releases.
Each members of a group usually have their individual site on which they release their personal works free to download and possibly give updates about their involvement in upcoming albums. Some artists actually never release albums and keep their artistic activity to this free-for-all form. The most productive groups usually release 2 albums a year which are released in summer and winter editions of the Comic Markets conventions and sold for an average of 1000 yen for full length ones. The most involved and popular artists are usually featured on their own group albums but also make guest appearance on other groups' CDs.
The albums themselves benefit of various treatment depending on groups, from plain CD-R to fully printed packaging including the CD, with quality often similar to official products.
Aside from the Comic Market, events held in Japan for dōjin music include the biannual "M3" and the "Hakurei Shrine Reitaisai" (limited to Touhou Project related music).
Notable dōjin music artists
- Sound Horizon
- Akiko Shikata a soprano singer, composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist whose songs tend a lot towards experimentalism.
- Team Shanghai Alice, creator of the Touhou Project, is also very famous for the music for the games. It is interesting to note that many dōjin music releases by other groups have been arrangements of Team Shanghai Alice's songs since around 2003.
- IOSYS, a well-known dōjin group most commonly recognized for their Touhou arrangements.
- CROW'SCLAW, a popular neoclassical/power metal instrumental dōjin band who is best known for its arrangements of music from the Touhou and Final Fantasy series of games. Lately they have started to sound heavier, influenced by Metalcore and Melodic Death Metal.
- Iron Attack, known also as Iron Chino is one of the most popular neoclassical/power metal/shred artists on the dōuijn scene, he does mostly arranges of Touhou Music, but lately he has started to co-work with dōujin circles known for their original music like Lightning and Dragon Guardian.
- COOL&CREATE, another well-known Touhou music group, well known by the YouTube community for their U.N. Owen was her? remix
- HARDCORE TANO*C and ALiCE'S EMOTiON, two circles organised by REDALiCE focused on electronic dance music, but predominantly Hardcore amongst others. ALiCE'S EMOTiON is focused on anime and game arranges, mostly focusing on REDALiCE's work while HARDCORE TANO*C features a wider range of artists and focuses on original compositions.
- Annabel, who features in many anime tracksounds and is famous for works in partnerships with musicians like Nagi Yanagi and bermei.inazawa.
- Masayoshi Minoshima
- Rekka Katakiri
- Haruka Shimotsuki
- Junka Amaoto
- Michika Kataoka
- Sou Raika
- Imperial Circus Dead Decadence
- Alice Ichitsuki
- Unchiku Company
- Undead Corporation
- Fukami Chie
- Misawa Aki
- Team Nekokan
- Thousand Leaves
- Unlucky Morpheus
Sometimes, people may rewrite the lyrics of an existing anime song to create a dōjin song, or insert lyrics into an originally instrumental anime track. These type of dōjin songs are called "dōjin lyrics" (同人詞 dōjinshi ). Many dōjin lyrics are written in Japanese, Chinese, and Korean. Moreover, you can find "fandub" of different languages of an ACG song, Game song or Vocaloid song, like English fandub, French Fandub, Spanish fandub, etc. All of these are Dōjin lyrics of different languages.