A few weeks ago, a new café based on the Kirby series was announced. This café offers food based on the Kirby series, and plays calm remixes of classic Kirby songs while you’re eating.
And as is the rule with video game remixes, these songs were quickly posted online by a variety on Youtube channels. Nothing interesting there, these guys do this for every video game and soundtrack CD ever released.
But it seems someone at Nintendo is not particularly happy about the Kirby Café music being made available online.
Why? Because every single channel that’s ever uploaded a single song from the soundtrack has gotten a copyright strike. Not a DMCA notice or a content ID match, a full blown strike or two on their channel. GilvaSunner was hit, leading to fears his channel of Nintendo music would be wiped clean off the face of the internet. The uploader for the playlist posted in the cafe’s Source Gaming article was hit. And a music extension channel had the same thing happen, and actually made a video about it:
And it’s not just Youtube channels either. Oh no, even the likes of Smash Custom Music seems to have been affected. Their music archive magically lost the page for the ‘Sound of Kirby Café’ songs without warning. This is unusual given how many songs that site uploads. Seriously, their list of video game music contains everything from Super Mario Bros on the NES to 2016 games like Mario & Luigi Paper Jam and Pokemon GO. Yet somehow it’s the Kirby Café music that gets taken down?
It all seems very odd. Why is someone so determined to remove all traces of the Kirby Café soundtrack from the internet?
I mean sure, it’s sold on a CD in Japan.
But that’s the problem. It’s only sold in the café. The only way to ‘legally’ get the Kirby Café soundtrack is to get to the café in Japan within the next few months or so and purchase it from the gift shop. Which by the way, has queues so long that you could be waiting hours for a simple slot (since only 40 people can be in the café at once).
And then… even the freaking gift shop is too busy for most people to enter. No, that’s not a joke. According to the Source Gaming article, they have to give out hour slots for access to the gift shop as well as the café. They might make an exception, but the general idea is that you get a ticket for between say, 10:30 and 11:30. Or what not.
So what are people outside of Japan supposed to do? Hope they can find the CD on an auction site (which will itself give no money back to Nintendo)? Book a holiday on short notice and then spend hours waiting to get a CD from a gift shop? Pay someone in Japan to go for them?
It’s patently ridiculous, and it shows an issue that Nintendo needs to deal with. Namely, they need to sell their music in a way that lets more people access it. Put the songs up on iTunes for a reasonable price. Add it to a subscription service like Spotify. Add an online shop to the café website. Like say, one which gives users access to a digital download version of the soundtrack in a zip file.
By doing that, Nintendo would make a lot more money than trying to strike down a flood of Youtube videos ever will. By making their music so hard to attain ‘legally’, they’re making ‘piracy’ the only practical option for 99% of their fanbase and driving huge numbers of visitors to grey market video game music sharing forums and websites. It’s like that old piracy ‘comparison’ image that’s been going around for years. If the legal option is ten times less convenient, what do you expect to happen?
But what do you think? Should Nintendo try and remove the Kirby Cafe soundtrack from Youtube? Do they need a better way to distribute their soundtracks to the fans? Post your thoughts on Gaming Reinvented and social media today!