• Kyodo

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Japan surpassed the United States with the world’s largest combined sales of physical and digital music in 2012, the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry said Monday.

Japan marked $4.3 billion (¥425 billion) in sales of CDs and music downloads, trading places with the United States, which posted $4.1 billion, for the first time since 1973, the group said.

Nondownloadable products such as CDs and records accounted for 57 percent of sales on average in the world but those products formed an unusually high 80 percent of sales in Japan.

The United States was still the largest market in the world in terms of overall size, including licensing fees for music used in movies and commercials, the federation said.

In line with COVID-19 guidelines, the government is strongly requesting that residents and visitors exercise caution if they choose to visit bars, restaurants, music venues and other public spaces.

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