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Spotify Launches in Japan, the Largest Music Market Outside the U.S.

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Apr 12, 2001
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Spotify launched in Japan today, 18 months after it opened its first offices in the country (via TechCrunch).

The streaming service has been in protracted negotiations with record labels to flesh out rights for the region, allowing rivals like Apple Music to get a head start in the country's hugely lucrative market.

Music sales in Japan are estimated to be almost $3 billion a year, making it the second largest market outside of the U.S. One potential obstacle for streaming services is that people in Japan prefer to buy and own music on CD rather than purchase digital files, although the convenience of streaming could sway consumers and allow services like Spotify to build a significant subscriber base in the country.

Spotify also becomes the only mainstream streaming service in Japan that offers a free-tier option for users, which may have been a factor in its protracted negotiations with the music industry, but could serve to persuade Japanese consumers to give streaming a try over competitors.

Back in March, Spotify launched in Indonesia, the company's first big expansion in Asia for some time. It first entered the continent in 2013 with launches in Hong Kong, Singapore, and Malaysia, but had been relatively quiet in the region since.

Spotify has 40 million paying customers compared to Apple Music's 17 million paying customers. Yesterday it was reported that Spotify is in 'advanced talks' to purchase SoundCloud, which has upwards of 175 million listeners per month and could provide a huge influx of users to the service, giving it an edge over Apple.

Article Link: Spotify Launches in Japan, the Largest Music Market Outside the U.S.
 

stanman64

macrumors 6502a
Jul 9, 2010
755
756
Good for them. I don't want to see Apple monopolise the streaming market in the same way they dominate the download market. They have shown a total lack of commitment to fixing and improving iTunes.

I agree. Competition drives the amount of effort companies put into their products. No competition = no effort = no improvement.

And Spotify is some darn good competition.
 
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thatanonymoususer

macrumors regular
Oct 12, 2015
249
315
I wonder if that means I'll be able to try streaming Japanese music. It's a bit hard to get Japanese music legally in the US without buying Japanese iTunes gift cards or just streaming off of youtube.
 
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JosephAW

macrumors 68040
May 14, 2012
3,390
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Been using Spotify since the days of running OS X 10.5 Leopard on my G5. Still works on my PowerBook 17"

A lot of my playlists contain some Japanese music that is not in iTunes. I wonder if this list will expand?

Has anyone done a study of the total tracks available between Spotify and iTunes to see who has more worldwide?
 

Mr Fusion

macrumors 6502a
May 7, 2007
812
853
I wonder if that means I'll be able to try streaming Japanese music. It's a bit hard to get Japanese music legally in the US without buying Japanese iTunes gift cards or just streaming off of youtube.
The recording industry rules with such a tight fist in Japan you'd think they take their cues from North Korea. It takes real effort to be that backwards.

Good for Spotify... But maybe someday they can explain their business model to me. They lose money on every user that signs up, so the best they could ever do is break even by shutting down. Who are the brilliant minds funding this venture?
 

rworne

macrumors 6502a
Jul 23, 2002
572
45
Los Angeles
I wonder if that means I'll be able to try streaming Japanese music. It's a bit hard to get Japanese music legally in the US without buying Japanese iTunes gift cards or just streaming off of youtube.

I attempted that just last night when it went live.

No, you cannot.

Apparently, your Spotify login does not work when logging into Spotify Japan. You need a special Japan-only account (currently invite-only). Spotify will only let you listen to Japanese music while on a Japanese IP address (free account) or you must have a billing address in Japan (Premium).

I've tried it via VPN, exiting in Japan, my account will not let me change countries and I have access to only the same stuff I have with my US account. Although I signed up for the invite, nothing has come in yet.
 
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Defthand

macrumors 65816
Sep 1, 2010
1,351
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One potential obstacle for streaming services is that people in Japan prefer to buy and own music on CD rather than purchase digital files​

This is true. I read that Japan’s consumers covet the album art and other fan novelties that accompany the CD.
 
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smbu2000

macrumors 6502
Oct 19, 2014
365
162
I wonder if that means I'll be able to try streaming Japanese music. It's a bit hard to get Japanese music legally in the US without buying Japanese iTunes gift cards or just streaming off of youtube.
Well there are other streaming services as well that stream JP music over here. I can stream JP music via my Amazon Prime (JP) account. It only costs 3,900 yen/year. I don't really use it that often, but they have a decent selection of English/JP music. I basically signed up for the shipping service as I can get same day shipping on many things if I order early enough in the day. (very useful handy, although standard is next day shipping)

Apple also just released that itunes music card that you can buy to get a 1 year subscription to Apple Music for 9,800 yen.

I was thinking about trying it, but I generally prefer to listen to music on my devices and don't really stream that much.

I'm not sure if you need to have a JP IP address for them though.

I'm not really a fan of the Amazon Prime Music app on my Mac though. It's not too good, IMO. The iOS app is a bit better.
 
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Kroner

macrumors regular
Jul 13, 2011
183
9
Norway
Apple also just released that itunes music card that you can buy to get a 1 year subscription to Apple Music for 9,800 yen.

I was thinking about trying it, but I generally prefer to listen to music on my devices and don't really stream that much.

I'm not sure if you need to have a JP IP address for them though.

No IP block for Apple Music JP.

Althugh if you are gonna use the Japanese Apple Music, you will have to change the App store to the Japanese one. Which might prevent you from seeing updates for your apps if the Japanese store doesnt have the app untill you switch back again.
 

pika2000

Suspended
Jun 22, 2007
5,587
4,899
With all these digital revolution in the music industry, Japan is one of the most traditional music market. (they were the last one I think that's still using DRM iTunes while everybody were DRM free already). Their labels and rating systems still focus on sales of physical CDs. The irony is that people are not using CD/MD players anymore. The big labels are not providing their main cash cows digitally. If you are in Japan and a big fan of Japanese pop music, the best way to economically enjoy them is through the CD-rental places. They will even sell you an external CD-drive that can rip your rented CDs and transfer it to your phone via wifi.

For those outside Japan, I'm afraid the best way is still finding the music illegally (torrent). iTunes provided some selections, but still very limited. The Japanese labels still only target their own local market.
 

aussieinjapan

macrumors member
Jun 30, 2010
76
4
Im using my aussie spotify but getting all the ads in Japanese.....I have not made an account in japan or used a VPN to access aussie spotify. It just changed from last wednesday.
 
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