It seems like Japan is the only place where the CD still reigns supreme, at least compared to the dire market for the aging platform in the rest of the world. According to a new report from The New York Times, CDs still make up about 85% of album sales in the country, compared to just 57.2% in the U.S. market. The article speculates that the reason why Japan is still so attached to CDs is a business culture that “still views the digital business with suspicion” mixed with a market that values collectibles, which is why greatest hits compilations still do so well in the Japanese market. The CD market is also lucrative for record companies in the country because of retailer restrictions that limit the price of new CDs to more than $20.
Even as the digital and streaming economies take over the music market worldwide, Japan doesn’t seem to be much interested in either: digital sales are down from $1 billion in 2009 to just $400 million last year, and neither Spotify or Rdio have entered the Japanese market. Meanwhile, even digital sales have given way to streaming services in the rest of the world — digital sales are down 11.7% so far this year in the United States alone and streams from Spotify’s Top 50 tracks have risen 108 percent over the course of the past year.
“The Japanese record companies’ hope is to maintain the current size of the physical market, and to try to make the digital market grow again by licensing new digital services,” Yoichiro Hata a director of the Recording Industry Association of Japan, told the Times. Read the full report here.