What if I told you that there was a country where music sales are huge yet it never really got that much into streaming? Would you guess that country was in South America, or maybe Africa? Believe it or not, that country is Japan, and it’s been the second largest music market in the world for quite some time now, all on the back of CD sales.
Although streaming has existed in Japan for some time, Japanese users have been slow to embrace the technology, preferring CDs instead. The biggest reason for this is a CD sale is a message of support to a favorite artist, more than for musical convenience, a sentiment that doesn’t exist in most other parts of the world.
By the way, in 2020 the largest music market in the world was still the United States, followed by Japan, United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea, China, Canada, Australia and Brazil, according the the latest from the IFPI.
But the pandemic has caused the Japanese music delivery tastes to change, as the country has experienced a 15% decline in CD sales while seeing a rise in streaming by 25%. A big reason for the change is that fans are no longer visiting CD stores during the pandemic, not so much because of an official lockdown (there really wasn’t any there), but out of fear of catching the disease. Another reason is that more people are at home now, have less money to spend, and streaming is a much cheaper and easier way to hear new music.
Although everyone thought that physical sales in the Japan would eventually wane, it’s taken much longer than other places in the world. Likewise, streaming has been slow to catch on, but the last year has forced many to change their consumption habits, so the expectation is that streaming will now increase at a faster rate.
Overall, the Japanese music market was down by 9% last year while most everywhere else it has increased over that time period. The country is experiencing streaming growing pains, but it now looks to be speeding up faster than anticipated.