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I'm quite familiar with the soundtracks of many anime, yet, especially for bigger anime, like Naruto, I notice that there are many soundtracks that are never officially released.

I can understand it if that soundtrack was very similar to another that was released, meaning it doesn't need any attention of its own, but there are plenty of amazing soundtracks that remain unreleased.

Why do they do this, especially after composers put so much hard work into them?

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To answer this you have to understand how the anime market works.

Naruto and many long running series sell terribly on DVD, and for a lot of things the production company never even bothers to make Blurays. These shows are marketed to teenagers, and teenagers aren't spending $80 for three or four episodes of Naruto. The series is made to drive sales of the manga, and the action figures, and the fighting games.

It's not about the popularity of the series, but the collector's market. The people who spend money on this stuff in Japan are largely not into Naruto. For example:

Boruto is averaging 745 copies sold for each volume.

Last year's big hit Yuri on Ice is selling an average of 69,520 copies.

So no Japanese record label is likely to go all out and publish the complete Naruto soundtrack. They'd never earn what it costs to press the CDs.

So why don't the American distributors who sell Naruto put out the soundtrack?

Well, that's a separate license, and few are willing to pay. Since the days of Geneon going out of business, the anime soundtracks you CAN buy outside Japan are usually just imports.

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