Thanks to KDDI Lismo music service, 90% of the digital music sales in Japan comes from mobile, according to Wireless Watch Japan. The Record Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) has reported 2007 figures, with total sales increasing for third year in a row, and with an spectacular 91% increase in Mobile Music downloads.
Quoting Music Media Watch, :
“Total music sales for 2007 in Japan came to JPY 466 billion (US $4.66 billion). While CD/DVD sales declined 4% from the previous year, digital downloads jumped up 41% to JPY 75.5 billion (US $755 million), comprising 16% of all music sold in Japan. Mobile downloads accounted for JPY 68 billion (US $680 million), more than 90% of the total figure for digital sales.”
Japan is the biggest mobile music market in the world, fifty times bigger than the German one. This raises 2 questions:
1) Would it be so successful if the RIAJ had imposed a tax on mobile phones to account for (or rather to legitimize) piracy?
2) Will the 3G iPhone be able to grab a significant share of this market? Will the iPhone succeed in Japan?