With half a dozen streaming services available to consumers, Japan’s music industry in its beginnings of the transition to digital; Spotify is next.
Business Insider reports after more than a year of saying it’s coming, Spotify has reported that they are finally have plans to go live in Japan before the end of this month, working in tandem with Tokyo-based advertising giant Dentsu for this initiative.
The Nikkei earlier this summer reported that the launch was imminent. The publication, one of Japan’s leading business publications, said that Spotify Premium will cost around 1,000 yen (close to $10) per month.
This launch in Japan, the second largest music market, has been a long time coming for Spotify, which recently passed 40 million paying customers.
Spotify’s Tokyo office has been open for 18 months but has been making efforts of hiring for the past two years. During this lull, they have sat back and watched as others have beaten it to the punch in Japan. Messaging service Line has nearly 70 million users in Japan and launched a music streaming service in Japan last year, while Apple, Google and even Rakuten have piled in with their own streaming services.
Spotify has taken its time building its Tokyo team—currently hiring for nine positions—but there is some logic behind the delay, and that’s because the Japanese public still loves CDs. But, with annual music sales estimated at nearly $3 billion, Japan is a market that streaming companies hope can become just as lucrative for them.
Spotify has brokered deals with labels in Japan—and even hired staff from them—and it’ll be banking that the competition, which haven’t exactly changed the music landscape as drastically as expected, have created early demand for streaming which it can piggyback on. So far, it has been reported they have struck deals with Avex Group, Universal Music Japan and other big Japanese record labels. But Spotify will respect the wishes of individual artists when it comes to streaming their music.
Spotify first entered Asia in 2013 and it is already available in five countries on the continent: Hong Kong, Singapore, the Philippines, Malaysia and Indonesia.
Time’s ticking, with just a week left in the month. Will Spotify be a hit in Japan?