DMT 139: the Japanese music market, Foursquare + Deezer, RIAA Certifications, Songza and more

This week on Digital Music Trends I chat with Steve McClure ( and Taishi Fukuyama ( As they are both experts in the Japanese music market we discuss the subject at length including the recent news that it may overtake the US in revenues in 2013, the bumpy development of a digital ecosystem, the role of management and promotions companies, JASRAC and more. We also cover international news as usual with the partnership between Deezer and Foursquare, the launch of a premium option for Songza users and the RIAA changing its certifications rules for digital albums in light of Jay-Z’s release. Also a couple of service notes with SXSW opening up the Panelpicker process and the release of Napster’s documentary “Downloaded”.
I hope you enjoy the show, have a great week and ’till next time.

00:15 Introduction and guests
02:00 Foursquare announces a partnership with Deezer in 15 territories, is Foursquare pervasive enough to grant Deezer a chunk of new users?
08:00 The Japanese music market, on the brink of surpassing the US in terms of revenues, were you guys surprised? What is the current state of the Japanese music industry today?
13:15 The growth of the Japanese market has been tied to the rise in physical sales related to the J-pop phenomenon and very specific bands. This is not coupled with the growth of a sustainable digital market yet, is this a dangerous position to be in?
18:04 Who is the main provider of music downloads on “feature phones” and how do those work? Taishi talks about Recochoku and the availability of artist-specific subscription as well as on-demand downloads.
20:00 How come that these services didn’t adapt to offer smartphone-based services too when the shift started happening over a year back?
27:00 is the latest website placing a focus on promoting Japanese music internationally, is there a lot of focus on breaking Japanese artists abroad and are Japanese artists working towards that?
36:45 The japanese authors society JASRAC is a huge part of the music industry in Japan, what kind of organisation is it, what’s the perception of the society in JAPAN and how does it behave with digital services for example?
42:30 The RIAA decided to change its certification rules in light of the release of Magna Carta Holy Grail, implying that they will count the copies sold via Samsung as part of the certification process while Billboard stated they won’t count towards the charts. What’s your take on all this?
50:25 Songza launched a premium service with “Club Songza” priced at 99 cents per week.
56:00 What’s the state of internet radio in Japan?
57:30 Napster Documentary “Downloaded” is available to download in the US
58:10 The SXSW machine restarts with the Panelpicker entries open once again
58:57 Thanks and outro

Andrea Leonelli

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