Streaming music remains a small portion of revenue for Japan’s music industry, and skepticism from artists could be a reason. Many popular performers in Japan are opting to keep their new albums off streaming services at launch, at least domestically. A feature in Japan Times explored the trend, which could be furthering the dominance of CDs in the local economy. The article’s author noted that although several top artists are not opting to stream their new music locally at launch, they will release to streaming services in other markets. That indicates an understanding that streaming has become a primary distribution tool in several other markets, which seems more like a smart business move than a knee-jerk reaction against a changing industry.
In 2017, online music distribution sales totaled 57.3 billion yen ($538 million) out of the total market’s 289 billion yen ($2.7 billion). The share for digital services has been growing at a slow pace over recent years, but it’s unclear what, if anything, might shake the dedication to physical formats.