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Spotify launches in the world's second biggest music market: Japan

Engadget Engadget 29/09/2016 Mat Smith
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After protracted deal-making with the country's record labels, Spotify has finally launched in Japan. To sweeten the deal to prospective listeners, its already pointing to its lyric display feature -- and the karaoke possibilities that (vaguely) come with that. But what's another country in Spotify's empire? Japan is the second largest music market in the world; Bloombergpegs it at around 300 billion yen (almost $3 billion). The country continues to sell physical music media like CDs well -- it's the country where Tower Records stores still lives on. Spotify Japan has launched both a free ad-supported service as well the typical 980 yen per-month ($9.70) subscription -- it's in invite-only beta for now.

Japan has a notable lack of free-to-listen music services, with rivals like Apple Music, Google Play and Line music only offering paid subscription options. Will Japanese listeners go for the free option, and graduate to paid? I guess it depends how annoying the ads turn out to be. The company certain needs to keep expanding. Spotify still remains unprofitable: something that success in Japan (and perhaps with Soundcloud?) could help fix.

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