Japan’s physical decline still outweighs streaming growth


Revenues from music streaming subscriptions in Japan grew by 128% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2021, according to figures published by industry body the RIAJ. Those subscriptions generated ¥14.62bn (around $133.4m) that quarter, with music video subscriptions up 140% to ¥592m ($5.4m).

There was also growth for ad-supported music in Japan in Q1 this year, with revenues from free audio streaming services growing by 109% year-on-year to ¥614m ($5.6m), and those from free music video streaming services growing by 127% to ¥1.23bn ($11.2m).

The growth is good, but clearly these are still small numbers in comparison to Japan’s physical market, which according to separate figures published by the RIAJ generated ¥28.1bn ($256.3m) in the first quarter of 2021, down 20% year-on-year.

In other words, the Japanese music market saw ¥3.63bn of extra streaming revenue in Q1 this year, but lost just over ¥7bn of physical sales. That’s the ongoing challenge for the world’s second largest recorded music market: streaming is growing rapidly in percentage terms, but that growth is not yet making up for physical’s decline.

Written by: Stuart Dredge