When music consultant Mikiro Enomoto asked a class of Kyoto Seika University students how they listened to new music last year, he reckons 80 percent of them mentioned YouTube or YouTube-linked sites. When he asked the same question to this year's class, almost all of them said they don't bother looking for new music anymore.

It wasn't an exact study — many people are reluctant to admit to using YouTube or illegal downloading sites to hear the latest tunes. Their response, however, will do nothing to calm concerns that Japan's youth have been turned off by the music industry's heavy-handed pushback against digital content.

The New York Times reported last year that 85 percent of music sales in Japan came from CDs. What that statistic didn't reveal, however, is that CD buyers tend to be in their 30s or older ("Best of" albums do well here). Or they're part of intense fandoms: For example, idol-pop group AKB48 has excelled at sales thanks to a devoted fan base who buy multiple copies of CD singles for the chance to receive extras, including chances to meet its members.