Online music distribution continues to grow in Japan, with sales in 2017 up 8% compared to the year before. It was the fourth consecutive year of growth for the industry.
Total sales in 2017 reached 57.3 billion yen ($538 million at today’s exchange rate), according to figures released by the Recording Industry Association of Japan. In the last quarter of the year, total sales were 14.4 billion yen ($135 million), a 3% increase compared with previous year.
Downloading and streaming reached about the same level of popularity. The sales breakdown is as follows: 47% downloading, 46% streaming, 4% ring-back tones, 1% master ringtones and 2% others.
Online music sales for cellphones had grown rapidly with the spread of cellphones at the turn of the century but began gradually decreasing in late 2000. After 2013, music streaming by subscription has garnered major attention. In 2013, it brought in 3 billion yen ($28 million). Last year, it reached 23.7 billion yen ($222 million).
Meanwhile, the total sales in the music industry was 289 billion yen ($2.7 billion), a 3% decrease from the previous year. Driving the decrease was the 6% drop in sales of music CDs, DVDs and Blu-ray discs, which together made 232 billion yen ($2.2 billion).
It is expected that the spread of smart speakers will bring growth to music streaming services and the overall music industry in Japan.