Spotify in Japan is a bold move for the streaming service. The Japanese market is still heavily focused on physical music formats. For example, vinyl sales increased by 83% in 2019. CD sales dropped from 168 million units in 2015 to 132 million in 2019, but revenue per unit is still strong at 149.5 billion yen. The Streaming service threw caution to the wind when it entered the country with its freemium model.
Spotify’s Japanese music library
As the second-largest market for music in the world, Japan is an important market for streaming services like Spotify. It’s a competitive market, with many players offering similar offerings. The company is offering both freemium and paid subscription services to customers, and it will be interesting to see if its Japanese music library will compete with the established players.
There are many differences between streaming services, though. Some have less competition than others, and others have more content than others. Spotify will be competing with local apps like Line Music and Awa. While the Japanese market isn’t as crowded as the US, the competition is still strong. Meanwhile, Sony is launching PlayStation Music in Japan, which will incorporate Spotify content.
Moreover, many Japanese labels have made their music available on iTunes Japan. To access these songs, you’ll need to set up an account in Japan with a Japanese credit card or a Japanese iTunes Music Card. You can also download songs from Spotify. If you’re already a plus member, you can download the music for free. Alternatively, you can upgrade to a premium membership for $7 a month.
Spotify’s Japanese music library will include some of the most popular tracks of recent years, such as Japanese diva Ayumi Hamasaki and Korean pop band Big Bang. The service also plans to create accounts for the artists themselves, where fans can write messages and get glimpses of their lives. Despite being small, Japan is one of the world’s biggest music markets, worth $2.6 billion in 2014. Although packaged media still account for 78 percent of sales, digital downloads are exploding in Japan.
To further establish its presence in Japan, Spotify is partnering with the entertainment company Yoshimoto, which launched an original stand-up comedy show with two comedians. The show was the first original comedy series to be produced in Japan and Spotify’s first ever original comedy show. The service also partnered with TV Tokyo, which produces Omimi, a podcast hosted by Marika Ito.
Japanese streaming services have had a relatively slow start, but the record industry has started to get involved in the process. Companies such as Avex and Sony Music are now financially backing two startups that have launched on Spotify. The two companies have been collaborating to develop Awa, which offers an online music platform for Japanese users.
Streaming service’s “freemium” model
The streaming music service has had a rocky start in Japan. Licensing issues and sluggish agreements caused delays in launching in the country. Moreover, the Japanese market is still in its infancy, so the company did not pursue large advertising campaigns. Still, executives expressed confidence in Spotify’s ability to succeed in the country.
Japanese musicians have traditionally been cautious in adopting new digital services. While some have embraced streaming services, others have taken a wait-and-see attitude. Many have said that streaming services do not replace physical media, but are an evolved version of jukeboxes and radios. The music industry is likely to benefit as more publishers decide to make their songs available on streaming services.
To succeed in Japan, Spotify will have to build an expansive catalogue and differentiate itself from its competitors. It will also need to focus on localising its services. This means that it will need to provide localised content, like mobile karaoke lyrics. It will also need to partner with content creators, like Sony PlayStation for PlayStation Music.
Though Spotify is well-known in the music industry in Japan, it is still relatively unknown to regular consumers. Because of this, the streaming service’s strategy in Japan appears to be to gain traction slowly. This is an approach that contrasts with Google Play Music, which debuted with a large TV campaign and on-ground activations.
In Japan, Spotify will offer two kinds of subscription plans: a free service and a premium service. The free service will allow users to access a basic package for free, while the premium version will include improved features. Users who are not satisfied with the free service will have to upgrade their account.
Spotify’s music business has been the company’s greatest strength, driving its strong revenue growth and expanding gross margins. The company’s music revenue is made up of Premium subscriptions, ad-supported music, and its Marketplace suite of artist tools. Its gross margin in the music business has increased significantly over the past two years, and it will surpass the 25% mark in 2021.
The streaming service’s “freemium” business model has proved to be a good strategy, as it encourages more users to subscribe and avoid ad revenue. It also helps to improve the platform and product offering in the process. As a result, Spotify has a low user churn rate and has seen its churn rate decrease from seven percent to five percent. The majority of its churned premium subscribers rejoin the service within three months.
Its stand-up comedy shows
For the first time, Spotify is producing original comedy shows in Japan. The first, Robert Presents a Listening Stand-up Show at the Akiyama Dai-ichi Building, will debut on the music streaming platform. The comedy shows will be available on Spotify for free, and they will launch the stage for the next generation of comedians in Japan.
Currently, the company is in dispute with hundreds of comedians over royalties. The comedians are working with a global rights administration company called Spoken Giants to negotiate for royalties on the composition copyright of their jokes. Spotify has informed Spoken Giants that the content would be taken down on Thanksgiving, but they have not yet responded to the notice. While comedians receive performance fees when their recordings are played on streaming services, they do not receive royalties for writing their jokes.
There are relatively few Western stand-up comedians visiting Japan. In fact, only three big-name comedians performed in Japan this year. Despite that, the country is now home to a variety of comedy shows, ranging from open mic bar shows to international touring comedians.
The comedians who are performing in Japan include Ryuji Akiyama, Hiroshi Yamamoto, and Hiroyuki Baba. Their routines are uncensored and include plenty of profanity. This podcast is not suitable for children and is not recommended for ages under 13.
Its advertising campaign
Spotify has launched a new advertising campaign in Japan, which involves emojis, and a series of music scenes. Users are encouraged to describe themselves using three emojis and Spotify will respond by playing a song based on their responses. Throughout the campaign, Spotify has also partnered with entertainment companies Yoshimoto and TV Tokyo. The result is an original comedy show that is the first of its kind in Japan. In addition to the comedy show, Spotify has also announced an exclusive partnership with TV Tokyo to produce audio drama Omimi, which stars Marika Ito.
Spotify has been slow to enter the Japanese market due to licensing issues. The company took two years to get into the United States, and licensing agreements have been slow to form. But the company’s founder, Ken Parks, expected the deal to close quickly. In addition to hiring Japanese employees fluent in the language, Spotify is also hiring long-term employees with local knowledge.
With its freemium music service, Spotify is hoping to change people’s perceptions of streaming music. Although the Japanese market is increasingly digital, the music scene remains conservative. Thus, the company is focused on local content and artists. It is estimated that 85% of Japanese music enthusiasts would rather use domestic artists over those from abroad. By focusing on local content, Spotify is making an effort to gain a foothold in the market.
While CDs remain popular, they are not as popular as they used to be. Many record labels have moved to pay-per-view online events. Spotify is also launching a new podcast, “Kemio”, which features interviews with famous people about their careers and life lessons. HIKAKIN-san, a founder of video influencers in Japan, also appears on the show.
With a huge market in Asia, Spotify is likely to find success. The company first launched in Malaysia and expanded to Singapore, Hong Kong, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Its latest expansion plans include India. APAC is a lucrative market, with large populations and increasing access to the internet.