An interesting case: Why won’t Japan get on board with streaming?

There are still a few places on the planet where CDs rule and streaming struggles. Nowhere is this more apparent than Japan.

Streaming services are available, but for the most part, they’ve barely made a dent in the CD market. Why? Reluctant artists.

From The Japan Times:

Streaming services were supposed to change Japan’s music industry, or at least that was the line trotted out by tech evangelists and people who were sick of overpriced CDs. In 2018, though, a couple of years after the major streaming players debuted in this country, the status quo remains largely unchanged. The only digital music destination that’s flourishing is YouTube, which has become the default go-to for younger viewers wanting not just music, but all forms of entertainment. Unfortunately, the streaming experience remains incomplete.

The reason? Many of J-pop’s biggest releases aren’t uploaded at the same time as when they come out in stores, which was also the case during the days when Japanese labels tried to create their own streaming platforms — it’s still a case of physical sales first, convenience second. Coincidentally, one of the first big names to make their music available on a streaming service was Hamasaki, whose 2016 album “M(a)de In Japan” appeared exclusively (for a time, at least) on Avex’s AWA streaming service.

Keep reading. There’s even more to the story.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

One thought on “An interesting case: Why won’t Japan get on board with streaming?

  • August 31, 2018 at 9:33 am

    I was in Japan last month and it really is the physical music product fans’s heaven. Music stores are still a relatively common sight around cities and in suburban malls. The famous 8 floor Tower Music in Shibuya. The independent Disc Union chain which seem to be everywhere in central Tokyo, have a mindblowing range of new and used vinyl and CDs. Great way to find rare (for us at least) Japanese pressings with bonus songs. Japan seems to be stuck in a time warp in some areas. I heard they are one of the only countries that still Fax machibes extensively. Weird. But in a great way.


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