Back in December, the Wall Street Journal reported that digital music sales in the U.S. seemed to have stalled — an observation that was further confirmed by a Forrester Research survey suggesting that iTunes sales are (almost) on the way back. For a good write-up, see Nick Carr’s “More evidence that iTunes has peaked” entry.
It is worth pointing out here that a week after being published online, the Forrester analysis was firmly dismissed by Apple, which said the iTMS was doing fine. At this point, it’s unclear which side was correct here, but this Blackfriars’ Marketing blog critique suggests the Forrester survey had it wrong and that iTMS sales are up.
As I was wondering how Japan’s digital music market was doing, I’ve compiled data from a couple of RIAJ press releases (2006-02-24, 2006-8-22 and 2006-11-28) into a CSV file and have posted it to Swivel (source data set).
The image below (numbers on the Y axis are in Million Yen) shows that the incredibly big mobile download market is still growing, while revenues of internet downloads (à la iTMS) are… declining.
I’ve also plotted the “units sold” data on a graph and the results are very similar: an increase in mobile units sold, but the number of internet downloads is lower in 2006 Q3 than in Q2.
All this is rather surprising, and it would be interesting to plot these results against other datasets (e.g. US digital music sales) to see if there are any similarities or correlations. It’s all on Swivel, so mash it up to your heart’s content!