Arama They Didn't

10:29 am - 11/05/2012

A month after new download law comes into effect, consumers are spending less than ever on music

As of 1 October this year, knowingly downloading copyrighted music and video in Japan became punishable by up to two years in prison and a 2 million yen (US$25,000) penalty.

The law was passed in June after the Japanese music industry, the second largest in the world after the US, reported continued financial losses, with analysts suggesting that just one in 10 downloads were legal.

Since the law came into effect, there have certainly been some changes, and many internet users have become reluctant to click that download button for fear of receiving a hefty fine, meaning that the law has been a success in a way.

According to a recent statistical survey, however, since the law was passed, sales of music in Japan have continued to fall and consumers are actually showing less interest in music than ever before…

Livedoor News reported yesterday that the results of a consumer survey show that more than 68% of respondents spend “0 yen” on music in an average month; the highest the figure has been in almost ten years.

The multiple choice survey asks consumers, “How much do you spend on music in an average month?” with answers ranging from “0-500 yen” (US$6) to “over 10,000 yen” ($125). “0 yen”, shown here in light orange, has risen significantly since 2004, while numbers of every other response have decreased each time since 2007.

The internet masses had plenty to say about the results of the survey and the Japanese music industry in general:

“Bring the average price of a CD down and I might by one…”

“I rarely actively listen to music now anyway- it’s just on in the background. For the price stores charge I wouldn’t buy an actual CD.”

“In terms of cost performance, CD albums are pretty poor.”

“This is how the Japanese music industry will die…”

“Since they got so strict about downloads I actually don’t feel like buying new music.”

“Listening via YouTube’s enough for me.”

“I used to discover a lot of new bands by downloading their albums without worrying about whether I’d like them or not. Now I can’t do that, so I hardly buy CDs.”

“I usually buy about 100 songs a year, but more often than not I get them from foreign stores. Music here is too expensive.”

“What idiot would pay those prices for a new CD!? I buy my music used now…”

“I don’t want CDs, per-se; I want music. If more tracks were available to download I’d buy more.”

“Why pay? I can sing for free…”

It’s interesting to see that, although one or two people suggest that the tough new law has put them off buying new music, the vast majority of responses suggest that– just maybe– the reason music sales have fallen so much recently is due to a general lack of interest and that new albums are simply not particularly good value for money.

It would seem that the public’s perception of the music industry has changed, and that fewer and fewer people are willing to invest their hard-earned cash in music that they simply use to fill the silence rather than sit and listen to for pleasure.

Perhaps the enormous rise in illegal downloads is a sign that people are interested enough in music to take it for free, but not so in love with what’s on offer that they’d willingly pay the asking price. There seems to be a general vibe on Japanese online message boards that, with the option to download removed, few people are interested in today’s music enough to pay, and so would rather not bother entirely.

But, as one Japanese internet user states: “Well, they’ve implemented this law now, so they’d look pretty silly removing it. Well done, guys!”


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1gossip_girl 5th-Nov-2012 05:49 pm (UTC)


this doesn't sound good at all..but I agree on the price of CDs and albums in Japan are expensive...

keyllastic 5th-Nov-2012 05:50 pm (UTC)
lol. that's a major slap in the face.
goto 5th-Nov-2012 05:55 pm (UTC)
praying this leads to a decease in album/dvd prices. especially since some companies are cheap as fuck and only include a single lyric sheet THAT DOESN'T EVEN INCLUDE PICTURES!!
randomtasks 5th-Nov-2012 06:02 pm (UTC)
Well. That backfired pretty quickly.
kotomichi 5th-Nov-2012 06:06 pm (UTC)
“I used to discover a lot of new bands by downloading their albums without worrying about whether I’d like them or not. Now I can’t do that, so I hardly buy CDs.”

i feel like this is true for most people

“Why pay? I can sing for free…”

zaziemuto 5th-Nov-2012 11:33 pm (UTC)
myharu 5th-Nov-2012 06:14 pm (UTC)
I pretty much agree with all of this and hope America will not enforce similar laws soon because I would probably stop buying stuff altogether unless I'm already familiar with the product.
hisjulliet 5th-Nov-2012 06:18 pm (UTC)
you tried lmao
hisjulliet 5th-Nov-2012 06:22 pm (UTC)
“I don’t want CDs, per-se; I want music. If more tracks were available to download I’d buy more.”

ding ding ding

I am happy to buy music if it's available on itunes. If not, then oh well to the company
kinari_pamyu 5th-Nov-2012 06:19 pm (UTC)
The last comment is really cute ♥ I've found that even buying through my proxy seller CDs are still pretty expensive from Japan.
taylorniw 5th-Nov-2012 06:20 pm (UTC)
Although I get where they're coming from, I think Japanese companies need to realize that a lot of what they put out is not worth their outrageous single/cd prices.

Edited at 2012-11-05 06:20 pm (UTC)
very_pinku 5th-Nov-2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
Japan's albums and such are too expensive...that's why I stopped buying years ago.
And new songs aren't worth it to the point I want to actively buy their product.
aquariia 5th-Nov-2012 06:33 pm (UTC)
I guess Japan had to learned from own mistake. Illegal downloading actually bring profit to artists since more people can check the music and buy the CD later.
taylorniw 5th-Nov-2012 06:40 pm (UTC)
To be fair, most people don't do that. They just keep the illegal downloads.
ichigonado 5th-Nov-2012 06:53 pm (UTC)
I dislike when they music industry acts the victim and cries in a corner holding onto that outdated compact disc.. I only buy the CD's of artists I really like and feel deserves it. Do I listen to the CD? No, because I don't own a CD player and changing CD's every time I wanna hear another song was something I had enough of in the 90's.

Times changes. We all adapt to the technological changes, the music industry should do the same.
katzsong 5th-Nov-2012 07:16 pm (UTC)
yeah, me too. I only buy to support the artist/group that I really like. I almost never play them, coz CD player is such a hassle :P
zeli17 5th-Nov-2012 06:55 pm (UTC)
Wanna bet their next step is to remove all full songs from YouTube too? Oh wait, they already do that...
jagithebassist 5th-Nov-2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Don't forget the 30-second ad promo clips; if it ain't on an official YouTube page (as if we have those), it is deleted...
botanbutton 5th-Nov-2012 07:30 pm (UTC)
*sigh* we told 'em. I mean, I have to save up for a few weeks if I wanna buy a cd/dvd. If they lowered the prices, everything would be alright.

smh at the 'sing for free' comment lol
matchafrapucino 5th-Nov-2012 08:29 pm (UTC)
Its true that the cost of CDs is pretty outrageous in Japan. I don't think asking people to pay for the songs they want is greedy or wrong, but I also wouldn't be able to purchase as much if the prices here were like those in Japan. I'm not saying I think anyone should tolerate their product being stolen, but making them more available for fair prices and online as well would help.
iheartkimura 6th-Nov-2012 05:42 am (UTC)
OMG I love Samurai Champloo OST too!
raatkerani 5th-Nov-2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
People are just not interested that much in music anymore. I buy CD only if the music is interesting enough (meaning I have heard it wholely before) or if I'm a drop dead fan of the band.

But I wonder if the trend to watch a concert falls down along with trend to buy CD. If concert goers are still high, they should focus on live entertainment instead. And CD can be sold there because high happy satisfied people are likely to spend money.
kanaala 5th-Nov-2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
Japanese CDs are just too expensive... no wonder the sales are going down... economy is not that good either so who is supposed to actually have the money to pay for all of this.
And who even still listens to CDs anyway... actually my CD player is broke so I never do XD Still buying the CDs of my fave artist though. Just because I'd feel bad if I didn't and having the CD and having the mp3 are just two different pairs of shoes.
liime_arix 5th-Nov-2012 09:56 pm (UTC)
I'm really annoyed that when this law came into effect some of my favorite Japanese ripping programs / converters just shut down. Digital music should really be a bigger platform in Japan. Even if you gear it more towards cellphones. Because according to RIAJ their digital sales actually shrunk over the past year(s).
fukkthedumbshyt 5th-Nov-2012 10:06 pm (UTC)
Well I just hope they come down on the cost of CD's (even though shipping would still eat up your bank account, thinking about the $50+ I spent on Dir en grey's Rinkaku). I like collecting CD's and Record's (as most artist I like put effort into not just the music but the design of them, hell I discovered Dir en grey because I was attracted to the artwork of the CD). If things were to ever become just mp3's which are easy to delete/be deleted I probably would be more inclined to just steal music never with the intent to buy.

Edited at 2012-11-05 10:11 pm (UTC)
crsg 5th-Nov-2012 10:24 pm (UTC)
It's true, the price for albums in Japan do tend to be quite pricey. And I also think that quite a few people probably used to download albums to see whether or not they liked them in the comfort of their own homes, before potentially going out and buying them in stores. Now that that's been made illegal, natural laziness is sinking in. Frankly, it surprises me that the music industry didn't think this one through - never underestimate the laziness of your audience.
wheresthepaper 6th-Nov-2012 07:31 am (UTC)
Perfect comment. A lot of people I know actually DO do precisely that, myself included: Download to see if I like it. Once I feel like I have given it a listen through a few times, (as some songs need time to grow on you), I actually usually do end up buying the album. To be honest, the bands I have downloaded are usually bands I already liked and was interested in buying the CDs. I think it's generally the same for most people, and with the economy the way it is, people want to know that they are dropping such a relatively large chunk of change down for a CD that they aren't going to regret buying.

In the end, the industry really seems to have shot itself right in the foot, here.
ryrymini 5th-Nov-2012 10:32 pm (UTC)
Honestly it's a shock that people have continuously been buying CDs at these rates..they're by far some of the highest in the world. Like 1000+ yen for a single with 2 songs and a booklet? Not that I don't buy them sometimes, but it's a huge ripoff.
lolufailhard 5th-Nov-2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
“Why pay? I can sing for free…”
damn right.
chanastri 17th-Nov-2012 11:06 am (UTC)
like your post (^^)b
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