Last year proved to be a pivotal one for streaming music in Japan. According to a report by the Recording Industry Association of Japan, 2018 saw plays via platforms such as YouTube, Apple Music and Spotify overtake digital downloads.
This would be a great piece of evidence for futurists trying to argue that the Japanese music market is actually catching up to where most other nations are today. But mucking that up is the total lack of info regarding physical sales, a still-major slice of the proverbial pie. And recent changes only underline how important they are, even as different developments point toward other directions.
Tower Records opened Tower Vinyl on the 10th floor of its Shinjuku store on March 21. The space, once reserved for pop-up events, now houses 70,000 records, according to the company, with more than half being secondhand.