Physical record sales down in Japan

Music shipments decline 17% over last year

TOKYO -- Figures from the Recording Industry Association of Japan for the January-June period showed the continued slide in physical shipments of music in Japan, with a 17% decline compared with the same period last year. International repertoire also continued to fall.

A total of 101.5 million audio product units were shipped in the first half of 2009, down 17% from the first half of 2008. The wholesale monetary value totaled ¥118.9 billion ($1.3 billion) and this represents a drop of 19% from the same period of the previous year.

International repertoire accounted for 20.6 million units shipped in the first half of 2009, and this represented a value of ¥24.6 billion ($261.9 million). These figures were down 27% and 23% respectively from the first half of 2008.

Domestic figures also showed a double-digit decline: 80.9 million units were shipped, down 14% from the same period last year, for a value of ¥94.3 billion ($1 billion), down 18%.

Any rise in digital music sales is unlikely to make up for the physical decline in 2009, at least based on last year. Although previous RIAJ data for 2008 showed a 20% value increase for digital delivery compared to 2007, the decline of 8% for value of physical shipments in 2008 meant the overall RIAJ market value was down by 3% from ¥466.6 billion ($5 billion) down to ¥452.3 billion ($4.8 billion).