The Recording Industry Association of Japan Reports 4% Growth in 2021

A few weeks ago, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry reported that the Japanese music industry grew by 9.3% in 2021, ending two consecutive years of decline. The Recording Industry Association of Japan recently released its year end report for 2021, going into more detail about the state of the industry over the course of last year.

“Statistics Trends RIAJ Yearbook 2022” states that the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic continued to affected the Japanese music industry last year. Despite what the IFPI reported, the RIAJ reported that the combined physical and digital markets only saw growth of 4% in 2021, to ¥283.2 billion. However, it was the first year of growth in three years.

In 2021, the revenue of the physical market, which includes CDs, vinyl, DVDs, and Blu-rays, remained virtually unchanged at ¥193.6 billion. Last year also saw a 3% increase in the number of units produced compared to the previous year, totalling 151.03 million units.

On the other hand, the revenue of the digital market, which is composed of downloads and streaming, increased by 14% compared to 2020, totalling ¥89.5 billion. This is first time that digital market revenue has passed ¥80 billion since 2010. This is the eighth consecutive year of growth, and the fourth consecutive year of double digit growth. The digital market’s share of the Japanese music industry exceeded 30% for the first time since data started to be compiled in 2005.

In regard to music audio discs, the number of units produced remained virtually the same compared to 2020 at 159.9 million units, while revenue from this segment decreased 1% to ¥128 billion. The number of CD albums produced remained almost unchanged at 71.11 million units, while their revenue fell by 2% to ¥94.2 billion. In terms of CD singles, the number produced declined by 1% to 32.44 million, while their revenue fell by 5% to ¥29 billion. The vinyl market returned to growth after seeing its first year of decline in 2020, after six consecutive years of growth. This segment saw an increase in the number of units produced of 74% to 1.91 million units, while revenue rose by 84% to ¥3.9 billion. This was the fifth consecutive year the vinyl market had production of over one million units and the first year since 1999 that saw revenue exceed ¥3 billion.

In terms of music video discs, the number of units produced increased by 11% compared to the previous year to 45.04 million, while revenue grew by 2% to ¥65.6 billion. The number of DVDs produced remained virtually unchanged at 26.94 million units, while revenue fell by 1% to ¥30.1 billion. In regards to Blu-rays, the unit production grew by 32% to 18.1 million units, while revenue grew by 5% to ¥35.5 billion. This is the first year the amount of Blu-rays produced passed 18 million.

Based on revenue, the physical market is 66.1% audio discs and 33.9% video discs.

When it comes to the digital market, downloads fell by 19% in 2021 compared to the previous year to 60.53 million downloads. Download revenue fell by 21%, to ¥14.1 billion. On the other hand, streaming grew by 26%, to ¥74.4 billion. Based on revenue, the digital market is 83.1% streaming, 15.8% downloads, .9% ringback tones, .1% master ringtones, .2% other.

In terms of total revenue, the Japanese market is 68.4% physical and 31.6% digital.

Pop / kayokyoku is the most popular genre for newly released domestic physical recordings in 2021, comprising 69.8% of the market. It is followed by enka (10.1%), anime (8.1%), screen (4.9%), kids (1.6%), light music (1.3%), classical (1%), traditional (.9%), and miscellaneous (2.3%).

Rock / pop / dance is the most popular genre for newly released international physical recordings last year, making up 34.8% of the market. It is followed by classical (23.3%), jazz / fusion (19.4%), additional genre (19.2%), screen (2.5%), and miscellaneous (.8%).

There were 421 debuts last year, made up of 357 first debuts and 64 second debuts.

The full report can be read here.