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‘The Biggest Question We Face Today Is, How Do We Break Japanese Artists Internationally?’


MBW’s World Leaders is a regular series in which the spotlight is turned towards some of the most influential industry figures overseeing key international markets. In this feature, MBW speaks to Kaz Kobayashi, President & CEO, Warner Music Japan and Kazuhiro Shimada, COO, Warner Music Japan. 

Japan is an outlier in the streaming-dominated global music industry.

Subscription music streaming was a half-a billion-dollar-plus business in the world’s second-largest recorded music market last year, reaching 75.62 billion yen or USD $575 million.

Yet, after four decades since the CD’s introduction in the market, it continues to thrive as the market’s No.1 music format.

According to RIAJ data, revenues from CD sales in Japan topped $987 million (129.8 billion yen) in 2022, reflecting YoY growth of 5% – marking the reversal of the format’s decade-long sales decline in the market.

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