Japan could become the biggest music market in the world this year, surpassing the United States – placed on no. 1 – in total physical sales.
Last year, combined, the United States and Japan accounted for more than half the entire global recording industry, with the United States surpassing Japan with only 1.3 percent, according to industry trade group IFPI.
Japan was one of the few markets that reported higher sales in 2012, by 4 percent.
First-quarter digital sales ballooned 70 percent over 2012 in Japan, according to Japanese trade group RIAJ. During the same period in the United States, however, album sales drop 4.9 percent, while singles slipped 1.3 percent, according to the international press.
In 2012, CDs and physical formats suddenly started selling more in Japan, thanks partly to a reinvestment in physical packaging and sales by J-Pop, K-Pop, and other genres.
According to the RIAJ stats, CD sales nearly doubled year-over-year during the first quarter, with CD-based revenues rising 92 percent. This could help Japan’s music industry a lot more, because physical pays more and supports far greater product bundling.