The Recording Industry Association of Japan Releases Its Annual Report for 2016

Following on the heels of the IFPI report on the worldwide music industry, the Recording Industry Association of Japan recently released its annual report for 2016.

According to the RIAJ, the volume of production of physical music (both audio and video formats) was 212.98 million, 95% of 2015’s total. Revenue from physical music was 245.7 billion yen, 97% of 2015’s total.

On the digital front, revenue was at 112.9% of 2015’s total, at 52.9 billion yen. This is the third year of consective growth in the digital market.

When combined, the physical and digital markets were at 99% of 2015’s total, at 298.5 billion yen.

In 2016, the revenue split between physical and digital was 82% to 18%, respectively.

Looking at the phyiscal market further, 72% of revenue came from audio formats (primarily CDs), while the remaining 28% was composed of video formats (primarily DVDs and blu-rays).

Looking at the revenue breakdown of the digital market, a first has occured. Streaming services (such as LINE MUSIC and Spotify) now make up the bulk of the digital market, with 38% of digital revenue coming from that sector. It is followed by single track sales (songs purchased individually off of sites such as Recochoku and iTunes) at 33%. Digital album sales off of these sites make up another 18% of the digital market’s revenue. Rounding out the digital market are ringback tones at 5%, master ringtones and music videos at 1% each, and other digital products at 4%.

Note: The IPFI report says that the Japanese music industry grew by 1.1% in 2016, while the RIAJ report says that music sales in total were down 1%. It should be noted that the IFPI report also counts performance rights, which the RIAJ doesn’t. This may very well make up for the discrepancy.


  • Comments

    • With that being said, should we add streaming charts? LINE MUSIC is the biggest, but I’m hesitant on streaming. It is really a good measure? Streaming is a different beast than digital sales. Streaming has a much younger demographic and the fact that you can stream a song as much as you want skews things in a way that digital sales don’t. It’s actually like physical in that way.

      • Michele

        You can stream as much as you want, but I guess even their own charts have rules too (and not just the official ones like Billboard).

        I disagree that it’s like physical. When you stream you’re actively consuming the music which is different from bulk buying your faves’ latest release and don’t even play those CDs once.
        To me streaming looks like the most accurate way of measuring what people are listening to, if that’s what the charts should be about.

        So, my answer is yes. You should definitely add the streaming music charts.

        • Streaming is the worst thing which happend to music. Low quality (if it isnt tidal), you can stream for your faves (like in korea streaming is factor why groups can be in top10 after months). With CD you get physical copy, good quality and some gifts.
          Digital and physycal sales nowadays is more accurate, than streaming.
          Listen music not charts :)

          • Michele

            Streaming is the best thing happened to music if you care only about the music and not the physical product or the gifts. ;-)

            And by the way, Apple Music and Spotify premium both offer the same quality as the digital files you buy from the iTunes store or other digital outlets. The quality is low on freemium services.

            • Kanjo Maru

              I’m pretty sure Hana is talking about places like Youtube.

              Are you by any chance familiar with LINE music? Might sound accusatory but I’m really only asking because I don’t and I’m curious. I have no idea if it’s like youtube/radio or if it’s like Spotify/Apple Music.

              • Guest

                it is like Apple Music because there’s no freemium model

            • But itunes has shitty quality too🤔
              I care only about music that is why i always buy cds

              • Midna

                iTunes isn’t that bad though? Some of the iTunes files I have are really good quality.

                • They have some tracks with good quality, but week ago i was listening pussycat dolls’ dolls’ domination and terrified……. like i have cd and it has incredibly different sound

          • Guest

            In the West no one buys physical anymore so streaming data is actually more accurate re: what’s popular.

            In Japan there’s so much content that isn’t available on streaming though so it is different although most people are still clearly consuming music through this method.

            • dj_spellchecka

              “In the West no one buys physical anymore..”

              gentle correction>>>>
              IFPI: Revenues from physical formats declined in 2016 but still accounted for 39% of overall global income and remains the format of choice for consumers in a number of major markets worldwide including Germany and France.

              According to the RIAA: Physical sales is the U.S. accounted for 21.8 percent of music industry revenue in 2016

      • Good idea! Monthly charts would be good.

      • Kanjo Maru

        Seems interesting, though I’m not sure of the value if we have kpop-like kids trying to get their group to get to x views in a day or whatever.

        Do you know if Billboard streaming rank uses LINE music as one of its sources? I’d guess so but I don’t know.

        • You’re speaking on my concern with streaming.

          And Billboard includes streaming, so I guess LINE MUSIC is included.

          • Guest

            LINE MUSIC is not available in the US and Billboard only counts US-based streams since it is a US chart.

            Also, at least in Spotify/Apple Music, there are rules. If you stream songs a certain amount of times, it stops being counted. There is no reason to believe Line Music does not follow this same logic.

        • Guest

          LINE MUSIC is not available in the US and Billboard only counts US-based streams since it is a US chart. So no, they do not count LINE Music.

          Also, at least in Spotify/Apple Music, there are rules. If you stream songs a certain amount of times, it stops being counted. There is no reason to believe Line Music does not follow this same logic.

          • Kanjo Maru

            I was talking about Billboard Japan.

      • Kaido

        If you have the resources (and time), please do it. Whether its a valid indicator of a song’s or an album’s actual popularity is another matter. People will have different opinions on streaming of course, with sound reasons, but streaming is getting more popular so it’s inevitable and does contribute to artists’ income. I personally do not stream music but maybe sometimes in the future I might.

      • Midna

        Please to streaming! It’ll be interesting to see what people are listening to.

      • monica_monami

        my only concern about streaming is rabid kpop fans. With their dedication to prove that kpop idols are popular in japan (I am not denying that they do hv fans there), they might use all methods to inflate the numbers. Just look at korean digitals charts. and youtube.