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Japanese music industry body the RIAJ expects the recorded music market there to make a modest recovery in 2021, after a difficult 2020 in which overall revenues fell by 9%. That included a 15% drop in physical music sales to ¥129.87bn ($1.19bn).

Speaking in our latest country profile, RIAJ executive director Yoichiro Hata says that the RIAJ expects physical music sales in Japan to decline again in 2021 but the decline should be more conservative than in 2020. What’s more, there were some promising signs in the Japanese digital music market. Subscription audio streaming revenues grew by 25% year-on-year to ¥50.7bn ($0.47bn) in 2020, while ad-supported audio streaming was up 56% to ¥2.42bn ($0.018bn).

“Digital music sales have been growing by 10% or more for seven consecutive years due to the growth of streaming and we expect such growth will also continue in 2021,” says Hata. Is Japan finally coming around to streaming, then? Hata suggests so.

“We analysed that there are combined factors that contributed to the growth of ad-supported streaming and subscription streaming revenues,” he says. “Firstly, many big artists in Japan started to license their sound recording repertoire to streaming services in 2020 and such change is ongoing. The number of popular tracks available on such streaming services has been increasing and such changes are making streaming services more attractive for subscribers.”

Read the full country profile here, or browse our archive of profiles of the world’s key (and emerging) music markets.

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Stuart Dredge

Music Ally's Head of Insight

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