Finding Japanese Music on English Services

Howdy Crabigators!

So I have an irksome problem when listening to Japanese Music on English streaming services: Every time I find a Japanese artist, whether they have ever made music for television or not, the stream inevitably turns into a playlist of anime songs.

If I want THE ALGORITHM to find similar genre’d music, do I have to use a VPN or go to a Japanese platform?

I’ve tried listening to contemporary music, 80’s city pop, all the way back to 50s folk Japanese… but within five songs, it’s always… 「残酷な天使のように。。。」

How do you guys listen to music?


Howdy! :cowboy_hat_face:

I use spotify for the majority of my Japanese music listening. I have a profile, and what I have done is just started taking every japanese song that I could find, and that I know I liked, and just added it to a “dump” playlist called 日本語だけ. You can make your own playlists and make sure that no anime music ends up in there, just by searching for Japanese songs and whatnot, then adding the songs one by one. If you run into an anime song, skip it, and keep skipping or change to a different playlist and continue the process.

Spotify also has a discover weekly playlist that it custom creates for you every week and if you listen to enough Japanese music on the app, you will get Japanese music in your discover weekly. It might be anime at first, but then as you continue to grow your repertoire, so will the discover playlist as well. This might be the easiest way to get Japanese music that you actually like into the Algorithm.

I will say however, i have been using spotify premium for years, I think these are free things it does, but I cannot 100% say for sure. Spotify does have a student discount that is pretty nice and affordable however, so if that’s an option available for you to use please do! It uses college ids too.

You could also do the playlist thing with free services like YouTube as well, but that won’t build something for you.

I think if you want something with absolutely no anime music, you won’t find much that’s premade, without looking up something in Japanese yourself. (You could also look up an アニソングなし playlist but that could be very vague depending on which service you look it up)

Good luck!!! :crabigator:


Soundcloud’s pretty good for that, I rarely get anime songs. I mostly listen to shoegaze and alt rock.

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care to share some recommendations? :eyes: :eyes:

Yeah the spotify and youtube mix are both terrible for finding new music in general, but especially when it thinks you just want to listen to the anisongs. It’s rough out there

I usually tune into japanese local FM stations :slight_smile: I used to use, but recently it region-locked all the music, so tuning into a station usually gives you just a message “Sorry, but due to music copyrights, this broadcast is available only in Japan” :frowning:

But works like a charm, even though it features much fewer stations.

Recently I’ve been mostly listening to はれラジ - they play lots of music :slight_smile:


It does build free mixes though. I would assume they’re savable, but idk for sure. Usually I just add songs from them to my likes

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I’ve never done the fee mixes, my partner does but I thought it was just from things that you had watched before? Do they include videos you haven’t seen before?

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Perhaps it’s an issue of paywall?? Youtube Music definitely gives me good citypop recs

Oh! I forgot to mention, on the discover weekly, you have an option to dislike songs! (probably definitely a premium member thing) and you can block certain music. This may help keep anime songs away. Cheers!


You prompted me to check my generated mixes lol. On regular Youtube it seems like it can be new to you stuff, but is probably 80% previously watched?

Youtube music has a discover mix which is pretty much all new to you


Thanks for checking! Good to know for the future. I don’t often listen to music on youtube anymore, but I will give it a look once I get home!!

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yee olde put the hyperpop shitpost song in the fun piano mix trick :laughing:

I’ve seen people have varying success with youtube for music, but for me it has just always been atrocious. Generally just plays the last maybe 100 songs I’ve watched on youtube, rarely throws anything new in, and when it’s new it’s something like OP mentioned where it’s just whatever the popular tracks in whatever genre I’m listening to at the time are.

Haven’t used youtube music itself, so can’t speak to that.

I have similar problems with the Spotify auto recommended playlists, maybe the way I am looking for new music is just incompatible with how these algorithms work :laughing: (and I do pay for spotify). I went in to check my indie mix and only 1 out of the first 50 was a new song to me (but it was a foster the people song, so not quite the ‘indie’ i’m after :melting_face:)


One youtube recommendation I can give is to look for curated playlists or mixes that other people have made in whatever genre you’re looking for: (jpop, jrock, city pop, lofi, underground stuff, whatever genre keywords you want)

Something like these two, and then you can go find the artists you like that are included in those playlists and listen to more of their stuff

I also read a really fun book called “Quit your Band! Notes from the Japanese Underground”, who name drops a lot of places to get into a lot of different kinds of music that (until recently) weren’t even on streaming services! ( BOaT, for example, was a band from the 90s and early 2000s, but all their stuff was just released on streaming last year, along with quite a few other bands in the book)

Here’s a list of bands/projects mentioned in the book, but it really is worth a read on its own too


To be clear, I still listen to the youtube mixes and spotify auto generated playlists and enjoy them a lot, but they aren’t the greatest for finding new music to listen to. For that, I generally have to do a little bit of legwork


I use spotify. The algorithm can be hit or miss but usually after an album finishes it will start to play a mix of songs that are similar to the artist you were listening to and I’ve found some decent new songs that way. I haven’t had any issues with the mix of songs being anime songs unless the original artist I was listening to has some popular anime songs.

I also like to go to the artist page and check out the “fans also like” section to find new music. Although at some point it feels like all the artists start to loop back to each other under that section, it’s still been good to me for finding new music.


Never had a problem on spotify, in fact I sometimes remember anime songs and then I have to go search it.

I think they really are trying to push people to pay subscriptions. At least for Youtube. Idk what’s up with spotify When I checked a randomly generated mix on Youtube Music, 7 out of the first 20 songs were unfamiliar to me. For my discover mix, of the 10 first songs (all different artists), I only knew 4 of the artists and none of the songs.

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Honestly, I’d believe it

Google will not be taking any more money from my pockets, though. I’m trying to get away from paying for spotify, even. If bandcamp had an even half usable app I would’ve jumped ship a long time ago (i’m one of those weirdos who still likes to pay for albums directly :laughing: )

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My favorite are Kinoko Teikoku, Uplift Spice, and Wakusei Abnormal, but I like most of the songs in the playlist.

Oh, Tokyo Shoegazer is also fun, and Mutyumu, and The Novembers kinda.

I would probably just name most bands.

Oh, I don’t think The Pillows need a recommendation, but just in case.

And The Wisely Brothers is a band I haven’t heard about anywhere, and their stuff is very fun.

Also Sugar n Spice, Microcosm, Daoko.

mamadrive, Tatsuro Yamashita, Vampillia…


I’ve never had that problem, since I love anime songs.

But if I listen to music on Youtube, and the recommendations start to only recommend bad stuff, I often resort to making my own playlist that only includes the good stuff, instead of relying on the algorithm.

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Another Spotify (premium) user here, and they’ve got quite a few playlists catering to Japanese metal, pop, mathrock-ish stuff too. Some of it sounds like it veers into anime territory, but a lot are quite different from what I’d been exposed to previously.

Another great source is Radio Garden, which is an app that lets you listen to radio stations around the world. It was blocked in the UK earlier in the year, but a VPN will sort you out. Great for passive exposure too :+1: