Japan's Subscription Music Services Struggle to Be Heard - eMarketer

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Japan's Subscription Music Services Struggle to Be Heard

Streaming subscription rates remain low among the country’s smartphone users

September 13, 2016

Streaming music subscription services like Spotify, TIDAL and Apple Music are seeing growing popularity in markets around the globe. Yet despite this worldwide rise in streaming music, Japan is one market that’s been tough for such services to crack.

Digital Music Subscription Services Used by Digital Music Services Subscribers in Japan, July 2016 (% of respondents)

Though the market has seen continued growth in streaming users in recent years, so far Japan’s smartphone users have been somewhat resistant to music subscriptions.

June 2016 research from Impress Group suggests streaming is still struggling to gain traction among Japan’s smartphone users. In fact, nearly three-quarters of respondents said they had never subscribed.

When naming the most important considerations for selecting such digital music streaming subscription services—among those who have compared more than one digital music streaming service—many listeners in Japan mention affordability of subscription fees and availability of favorite songs.

More than 26% of respondents said an affordable monthly subscription fee was an important consideration, while nearly 26% said that the availability of songs from favorite artists was critical.

The selection of songs to choose from, ease of use, high-quality sound and a good playlist functionality were other important considerations for selecting their primary digital music subscription service.

Overall, this combination of affordability and access to the songs of favorite artists may explain why single track downloads remain of one of the country’s most popular music purchases.

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