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Japan's Download Market Softens – Is This A Trend?

TOKYO (Hypebot) — The total number of paid downloads in Japan fell about 2% for the first time last quarter according to PC World. 6.3 million single tracks were downloaded via the net down from 6.9 million in the first quarter of the year. The number of albums downloaded rose to 342k from 333k in the prior quarter. But that was not enough to offset the drop in single track sales.

Downloads of ringtones fell 10% to 54.7 million pulling the entire cell music sector down. Despite an increase in ringback sales and a rise in cell downloads from 23.3 million tracks to 25.5 million, the entire mobile Internet download market shrank 2% form the previous quarter to 104.8 million downloads.

COMMENTARY: The overall decrease from 114.6 million to 111.6 million downloads should not necessarily be seen as a sign of lasting decline.

Japan is a very mature – perhaps even saturated – download marketplace. So this dip may just be part of normal sales fluctuations caused by release schedules and demand for hits from a country of very active and trend driven consumers.

UPDATE: Thanks to alert Hypebot reader Bill S. for pointing out that Billboard has a someone different set of figures and – although it focuses more on just mobile – reaches somewhat different conclusions. Read it here.