Japan is being blamed for a drop in global music sales after sales tanked 16.7%, with such a huge drop in sales in the world’s second largest music market causing the world music market to shrink 3.9%.
International Federation of the Phonographic Industry statistics ding Japan for causing an overall decline in global music, so catastrophic were their losses.
Meanwhile in Europe sales actually grew, and even in the US digital sales increased 3.4%, whilst if Japan is excluded from the figures global sales actually increased by 0.1%.
Japan and South Korea are reportedly the only countries in 2013 to have had top 10 album charts entirely dominated by “local artists” (if AKB48 and company can be called this) – and needless to say, most of these are idol groups controlled by a handful of mega-players.
Even the IFPI blames its local cohorts in Japan for completely failing to embrace “digital transition” (although it might be more accurate to say the industry has desperately failed to stifle a digital transition whilst shifting to a handshaking event business model).
In Japan the music industry’s main effort to embrace technological change and the demand for new ways of accessing music has been to blame it all on piracy and use its remaining influence to have the government fully criminalise the downloading of copyrighted material – although much to the delight of all but the record company stooges the drop in sales only accelerated after downloading was banned.
This coupled with blanket domination of Japan’s mass media by AKB48 and a few other idol groups seems only to have precipitated the collapse in sales – as has the collapse in credibility the bundling of handshaking event tickets with CDs has inflicted on music charts and CD sales figures, now largely regarded as risible by all but the mass media themselves.