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Music downloads still booming in Japan

But the advance is slowing

The number of legal album and song downloads in Japan continued to climb in the second quarter of this year. But the rate of expansion has slowed dramatically from a year earlier, according to figures published today.

In the April to June quarter there were 5.94 million downloads of single tracks and albums from internet music stores such as Apple's iTunes Music Store and the Sony-backed Mora site, said the RIAJ (Recording Industry Association of Japan).

That represents a jump of 469 percent from the same period last year, when legal internet downloads stood at 1 million, but is only a slight increase from the total number in the January to March quarter of this year, which was 5.92 million. Second-quarter downloads were worth ¥1.3bn (about £5.9m), up 443 percent on the period a year earlier.

The dramatic change in market growth can be largely attributed to the launch of the iTunes Music Store in August last year, and a more competitive offering from Mora tied in with more attractive digital music players.

Internet downloads still remain a minority of all legal music downloads in Japan both by unit and value. The market for mobile phone downloads, which includes full tracks and ringtones, came to 84.6 million tracks in the second quarter, according to the RIAJ's figures. In value terms the market was worth ¥11.3bn, up 53 percent on the same period a year earlier.


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