Infiltrating A Store Making A Big Push For Game Music: TOWERanime Shinjuku

Magazine: Famitsu
Publish Date: 08/15/2019

Toweranime Shinjuku - Ryuuji Kaneko

Shinjuku, where tons of people are constantly coming and going. And in Shinjuku lies a CD shop that puts its efforts into game music: TOWERanime Shinjuku. We bring you a glimpse into a department overflowing with enthusiasm from the game music loving staff.

Asking Someone That Sells Game Music: The Secret To Creating A Department

TOWERanime Shinuku, a department within Tower Records Shinjuku that was opened in 2014. It previously was centered mostly around anime, but after some recent changes it’s now focusing heavily on game music. We’ve asked long time employee and game lover Ryuuji Kaneko about what it’s like to sell game music CDs, and the advantages of doing so in an actual store.

First of all, please tell us about why you’re putting so much effort into selling game music at retail.

(Kaneko) Tower Records Shinjuku started pushing game music more strongly about 3 or 4 years ago, and I’ve been involved with that since the beginning. I’d wanted to promote game music CDs more heavily, so I took on the responsibility knowing that there would absolutely be a demand for them.

You cover all sorts of genres within your department. You can really feel the enthusiasm the staff has for this, since there are multiple different sections: One for rhythm games, one for Sega, etc. Which one of those sections are you in charge of?

(Kaneko) The NieR section. Back when I played the NieR:Automata demo, I thought the music was amazing and was confident that it would sell, so I wanted to make a NieR section! I put in a request for it, and when the boss of the department saw it he said “I saw your request, find a place for it!”. And so I set it up (Laughs)

This sounds like a department where passion really drives outcome (Laughs) You just mentioned playing the NieR:Automata demo, but is being aware of the latest game news and trends in the industry an important part of working in a department like this?

(Kaneko) I’m always keeping an eye on social media, and I watch the Nintendo Direct and E3 broadcasts. If there’s an announcement about a release date for a new entry in a series, we display all the soundtracks for that series so far, setup those composers’ other soundtracks for listening, and we order anything someone wants that isn’t already there.

Please tell us about how you recommend game music CDs.

(Kaneko) I think a lot of people listen to artists they like when it comes to “regular” music. But people who listen to game music take a liking to songs they hear when they’re playing a game, and so they buy the CD. They don’t know many details about the song itself. We explain what genre the song is in from a musical point of view, and the kinds of amazing things that it might be doing, in a way that’s easy to understand.

There definitely are a lot of new musical genres that are known because of game music.

(Kaneko) One great thing about game music is that there’s something to represent every genre. There really are a ton of different types of songs. One of the advantages of working in an actual store that sells it is that we get to act as a hub for discovery. When we previously got in the Splatoon soundtrack, a staff member who loves Sega music put the Jet Set Radio soundtrack next to it. And so that game got talked about as well.

Either of those would be great CDs to recommend to someone who likes club music or techno pop.

(Kaneko) When a customer would come up to the register with both of those CDs, it was all I could do to suppress my desire to talk to them about games right then and there (Laughs) That was only possible because of a Sega-loving staff member, so creating a department like this isn’t something that I could do on my own.

The real joy is doing it as a team. By the way, are you going to be holding any game music related events at the store anytime soon?

(Kaneko) We don’t have anything planned at the moment, but there will be a new soundtrack coming out with the upcoming release of Final Fantasy XIV: Shadowbringers…so if Masayoshi Soken (the composer in charge of FFXIV) is reading this, we hope that you’ll come by our store!