Japanese Music Industry Declines for Second Consecutive Year

The International Federation of the Phonographic Industry has released “Global Music Report 2021”, this year’s edition of its annual report detailing what happened in the music industry worldwide last year.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the report says that the worldwide music industry saw revenue grow for the sixth consecutive year, by 7.4% in 2020, totalling $21.6 billion.

Streaming revenue grew by 19.9%, and now makes up 62.1% of global revenue, at $13.4 billion. This was driven by an 18.5% growth in paid subscription revenue. At the end of 2020, there were 443 million users of paid streaming services worldwide, accounting for 46% of global revenue. Ad-supported streaming services make up of the remaining 16.2% of global revenue that streaming accounts for.

After streaming, the next biggest source of revenue is physical, which now makes up 19.5% of global revenue, at $4.2 billion. This is down 4.7% compared to 2019.

Physical is followed by performance rights, which makes up 10.6% of global revenue, at $2.3 billion, a fall of 10.1%. This fall comes after more than a decade of growth, due to the pandemic impacting live music performance worldwide.

After peformance rights is downloads and other digital, which now makes up 5.8% of global revenue. This segment brought in $1.2 billion last year, a 15.7% decline.

The last segment is synchronization. It makes up 2.0% of global revenue at $400 million. This segment shrank by 9.4% compared to 2019. This fall comes due to the pandemic affecting the production of television shows and movies in which music is played.

The top 10 music markets in order are the United States, Japan, the United Kingdom, Germany, France, South Korea, China, Canada, Australia, and The Netherlands. This is unchanged from 2019, with the exception of The Netherlands replacing Brazil at #10.

For the sixth consecutive year, Asia saw growth, with an increase of 9.5%. Last year also was the first one in which digital revenue broke the 50% mark in terms of total revenue. Japan, however, saw a decrease of 2.1% in 2020. If Japan wasn’t included, Asia would have been the fastest-growing region, due to it’s 29.9% growth outside of Japan.

When speaking of Asia, Shridhar Subramaniam, Sony Music’s
President of Strategy & Market Development for Asia & Middle East, says the region is absolutely central to the continued growth of the global industry. He also believes that, as its size and significance expands, Asia can no longer be viewed or treated as a single region. “Five to eight years into the future, I think the economic weight of this part of the world, and what it brings, will be obvious – especially when you consider the industry probably hasn’t even engaged with a third of the population there. So, we should no longer look at Asia as one giant block, it needs to be broken up into hubs: Greater China, Korea, Southeast Asia, India, and the Middle East. Each is an economic powerhouse with vast populations, but they’re also very different both culturally and economically, and in terms of the evolution of the market and the internal market dynamics.”

So where does Japan fall in all of this?