Spotify’s arrival in Japan will bring it into direct competition with Apple Music and Line Music, the service from the company behind Japan’s most popular messaging app, Line Messenger. Both services were launched in Japan last year and require subscriptions. But Spotify’s launch in Japan will be different in several ways. Users can sign up for free but with ads, and there will also be a paid ad-free option.
Japanese fluency required
If you’re interested in working for Spotify in Japan, you’ll need to speak Japanese fluently. The company already started hiring for its Japan team as early as January, when they opened offices in Tokyo. The company recognizes the importance of local culture and language and is actively recruiting employees with Japanese fluency for both short-term and long-term positions.
While learning a new language can be difficult, there are great resources available to make your job easier. The NHK website, for example, has a great Japanese podcast called Japanese Pod 101, which is intended to teach you the basics of Japanese language. Many podcasts are designed to be user-friendly, and the NHK staff take into account your ability to understand the content.
Another great resource for beginners is the manga Sensei podcast series, which features actress Tae Kimura reading various stories. The episodes feature examples of language in a non-textbook, natural Japanese style. The speaking speed is very slow, so the content is challenging for intermediate learners. Although the podcast is not linked to the Sakura website, you can still subscribe to it on iTunes. Michael & Mami, on the other hand, reads current events in both Japanese and English.
Tofugu is a popular Japanese language learning resource, and has expanded into podcast form. Each episode includes mini-lessons and practical advice on how to speak the language in daily situations. The podcast also features episodes that discuss pop-culture and anime. A Japanese podcast can be a great way to learn the language, as most episodes are created by native speakers.
Podcasts and audiobooks are also great resources for practicing pronunciation. You can copy the pronunciation of the podcast speakers by repeating what they say. This way, you’ll practice vocabulary in context, and gauge your own pronunciation. In addition, you can practice copying their tone and inflections.
Small launch campaign
After 18 months of negotiations with record labels and the Japanese music industry, Spotify has finally launched its music streaming service in Japan. The service is available free for all users or with a paid subscription. Those who wish to use the paid service can pay 980 yen ($9.60) per month.
The campaign is a playful, impactful way to promote Spotify in a market with little brand awareness. Users are asked to describe themselves using three emojis and then receive a song recommendation based on their expression. The campaign is operated in partnership with Dentsu, a Japanese advertising agency. While some industry watchers are optimistic about the future of Spotify in Japan, others note the limited catalogue of Japanese music and artists.
Spotify’s entry into Japan was delayed due to licensing issues. The company took two years to launch in the United States, and its entry into Japan was met with skepticism. The company has not given up on the Japanese market, however, and has since continued its advertising efforts.
Spotify has also been collaborating with entertainment company Yoshimoto to release a scripted stand-up comedy show. The show stars Hiroshi Yamamoto and Hiroyuki Baba, and it was Spotify’s first original comedy show in Japan. In addition to this, Spotify recently announced an exclusive partnership with TV Tokyo for an audio drama called Omimi.
In the past four years, Spotify has made significant inroads in Japan. However, the record industry is still reliant on CDs, which accounted for 70 percent of recorded music sales last year. As a result, the digital music streaming service is slowly eating away at the physical music market. According to Jamie MacEwan, a senior media analyst at Enders Analysis, it is only a matter of time before digital revenues surpass physical production in Japan.
Lack of large advertising campaigns
The lack of large advertising campaigns on Spotify in Japan could mean two things. First, the music streaming service needs to be more differentiated in functionality and brand positioning. Secondly, there is a need to offer localized content, such as mobile karaoke lyrics. Thirdly, there are many stakeholders involved in the streaming business. For instance, Sony PlayStation is partnering with Spotify to provide content to its PlayStation Music service. However, Mair says there are still concerns about the effectiveness of ad-supported services.
Another concern is that advertising campaigns could be patronizing to new users. For instance, if a Japanese user has just started streaming music, they might be repelled by ads that tell them to start streaming immediately. Instead, they may be more apt to switch to a different song to avoid such ads.
While streaming services in other parts of the world have seen massive advertising campaigns, Spotify has only been able to penetrate the Japanese market so far. This is partly due to the limited catalog available on the Japanese service. It has been able to compensate for this lack of availability by creating podcasts, a format that is still relatively new in the country.
Spotify is also faced with licensing issues. It took two years for the company to enter the United States. Meanwhile, its entry into Japan was met with skepticism. Its licensing problems may have delayed the company’s progress. The music streaming service was expected to close a deal quickly, but the entry into Japan proved to be more difficult than expected.
In addition to the lack of advertising campaigns, the service’s pricing was also an issue. The initial launch of the service in Japan was delayed due to wrangling with record labels. The record industry found it difficult to agree to the freemium model. Despite the aforementioned obstacles, Spotify launched its freemium service in Japan in March, but it faced several other challenges, including a lack of consumer trust.
Despite its huge popularity around the world, Spotify has struggled to penetrate the Japanese market. After a slow start to its launch campaign, the company has recently been focusing on advertising to promote the service and increase its market share. However, its efforts have been hampered by consumers’ reluctance to switch to a new music streaming service. According to a consumer survey in March 2018, 43% of respondents said they do not use music streaming services because they are too expensive, and a further twenty-eight percent cited that they already have access to free music.
While physical music formats such as CDs remain popular, they are losing ground to digital music streaming. In Japan, Vinyl sales increased by 83% in 2019, compared to the same period in 2017. Meanwhile, CD unit sales have dropped from 168.5 billion yen in 2015 to 132 million yen, but are still strong overall. While this may not sound like a good sign for the future of digital music streaming in Japan, Spotify is still gaining ground.
The company recently announced plans to become the world’s largest audio platform. This goal is reflected in its investments in podcast content, curated podcast playlists, and a new app design that places a greater emphasis on non-music content than before. As a result, the Swedish startup is now a serious competitor in the market and has made bold moves in attracting non-music content.
One of the most notable features of Spotify is its global reach. The company has over 100 million active users, of which 30 million are paid subscribers. Success in Asian markets is tricky, and the language barrier, bureaucratic systems, consumer habits, and cost of living are all factors that make it difficult to reach a large audience. However, Spotify is winning in some Asian markets, including Japan, but has not yet disclosed revenue figures.