Japanese industry body the RIAJ has published some figures for the second quarter of 2019, as well as first-half stats combining Q1 and Q2. These are figures for digital music revenues only, revealing that revenue from ‘subscription audio’ streams grew by 24% year-on-year to 18.54bn Yen (around $168m), with additional growth from subscription and ad-supported audio and video streams helping overall Japanese streaming revenue to grow by 27.5% to 21.4bn Yen ($194m).
Even with downloads on the decline still (down 12% for single tracks and 10% for albums) the overall trend was growth: digital music revenues in Japan grew by 6% to just over 34bn Yen in the first half of 2019.
Can you see the ‘but’ coming? The RIAJ puts out its physical numbers separately on a month-by-month basis: MBW has already been combing through those to gauge the overall market trends. While physical ‘audio’ sales actually grew by 2.6% according to its calculations, physical ‘video’ sales fell by 10.8% – with the overall effect that Japanese industry revenues fell by 0.25% in the first half of 2019 to 149.09bn Yen. That means streaming remains just 14.4% of the overall recorded-music market there. All eyes on the second half of 2019, to see if Japan can build on the 3.4% growth in overall revenues that the IFPI reported for 2018.