Good news for streaming music lovers! Spotify (press release) has launched in Japan on September 29, 2016 after having an office in Tokyo for 18 months! Just like other markets, users can choose if they want to use the free version or the paid subscription version with no ads.
The paid version starts out at 980 Yen per month (about $9.60 but I like to just round up to $10). The version for Japan includes a mobile lyrics feature so you can sing along with your favorite songs wherever you are, and the catalog includes both Japanese and international artists.
Since the service just launched, they are currently accepting “invite only” in order to cope with a surge in the number of people signing up to use the service.
Spotify currently has over 40 million users before launching in Japan, a country with sales estimated at nearly $3 billion each year which makes Japan the second largest music market in the world right now. Will it succeed here? It’s hard to say because most Japanese consumers prefer to buy their musical in a physical CD form instead of digitally right now. This could mean that stream music can rapidly expand, or streaming music services could fade out due to shopping preference.
This market might be where the freemium version really helps the consumer transition to streaming and the company and music artists to reach more paying consumers. It’s been reported in June of 2016 that they have over 100 million active users in total (So 60% free and 40% paid). Spotify’s competition in Japan includes Apple Inc.’s Apple Music and Alphabet Inc.’s Google Play Music, as well as local services like messaging-app-operator Line Corp.’s Line Music.
The service first launched in Asia during 2013 in Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and then the Philippines. Later, in 2016 it launched in Indonesia. Spotify is a Swedish commercial music streaming, podcast and video service originally launched on October 7, 2008 (and launched in the United States on July 14, 2011). If you’re looking for an interesting job in Japan, then check out Spotify’s opportunities in Tokyo.