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Dōjin music (同人音楽 doujin ongaku), 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.
Genres and production
Dōjin music isn't a musical genre in itself but is indicative of a particular means of publication, similar to how the term "indie" is used in North America.
Often, such music will consist of video game music fan arrangements. Much original dōjin music also exists, and has been created both for dōjin games and independently, spanning many musical genres such as pop, rock, techno, trance, hardcore and many more.
By nature, dōjin music is self-produced at low cost by independent artists. Home-studio software is typically advantageous to dōjin music composers, as it is cheaper than studio-mastering live instruments. As such, most dōjin music has a distinct synthetic quality to it. It is common to have one live instrument (such as a guitar) backed up by synthetic orchestrations, though 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 member of a group usually has their own 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 contain the scope of their artistic activity to free releases. The most productive groups usually release 2 albums a year, released in the summer and winter Comic Market conventions and sold for an average of 1000 yen for full-length albums. The most involved and popular artists are usually featured on their own group albums but also make guest appearance on other groups' CDs.
Aside from the Comic Market, events held in Japan for dōjin music include the bi-annual M3 music summit and the Hakurei Shrine Reitaisai, the latter of which includes music derived from Touhou Project.
Notable artists and groups
- Akiko Shikata, a soprano singer, composer, arranger, producer and multi-instrumentalist whose songs often tend towards experimentalism.
- Annabel, who has worked on several anime productions and is known for works in partnership with musicians like Nagi Yanagi and bermei.inazawa.
- Chata, a video game and anime vocalist.
- Haruka Shimotsuki, a vocalist known for her fantasy themes.
- Imperial Circus Dead Decadence, a black metal band.
- IOSYS, a dōjin group most commonly recognized for their Touhou arrangements.
- Kishida Kyōdan & The Akeboshi Rockets, a rock band formed by Kyōdan and four other members.
- Masayoshi Minoshima, a composer who specialises in pop, trance and house.
- Rekka Katakiri, a singer who manages her own Closed/Underground label.
- Sound Horizon, who describe themselves as a "fantasy band".
- Team Shanghai Alice, the creator of and the composer for the Touhou Project.
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, or Korean.
- "博麗神社例大祭 – 東方Projectオンリー同人誌即売会:". Hakurei Shrine Reitaisai. Retrieved 10 September 2014.(Japanese)