Subscription-based music streaming sales revenue in Japan 2017-2022
Japan was slow to embrace streaming
Japan was comparably slow to embrace music streaming and is now in a process of catching up to other markets. The Japanese music industry has for many years relied heavily on CD sales, which were considered to be more profitable than streaming due to a strong demand and high margins. CDs in Japan are often sold with added value for collectors and fans, such as special tickets that enable buyers to directly meet their favorite artists or to support them in popularity contests. Another reason for the slow start of music streaming can be found in the fragmented nature of the Japanese music industry, which necessitates numerous negotiations with different record labels. This resulted in many consumers being dissatisfied with music services due to a lack of favorite artists and songs. As a consequence, the Japanese music streaming market saw different services come and go. One such example is Groovy, a music streaming app made by Japanese gaming company DeNA, which ended in March 2014 after only one year of operation.
Impact of new market entries
The emerging Japanese music streaming market quickly gained steam around 2015, when several big players entered the competition all at once. Apple Music, Google Play Music, Amazon Prime Music, LINE Music, and AWA, a joint venture between CyberAgent and Avex Group Holdings, all started their operations in 2015. Spotify followed in 2016 after prolonged negotiations with Japanese record labels. Consequently, subscription-based music streams increased in importance and size, and today account for the lion's share of digital music sales in Japan. Digital music reached a sales value of about 89.5 billion Japanese yen in 2021.