Review of 2023: British Music Industry Mission to Japan

Our next highlight in our review of the year tunes in to the creative industries, and a look back to the music industry mission in the summer.

Orchestrated by the Department for Business and Trade (DBT), alongside the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) and Creative Man (Tokyo), a delegation of British music industry representatives visited Tokyo from 18 – 25 August 2023. The mission aimed to open the door on the business opportunities for the British music industry in Japan.

Japan Music revenues totalled US$2.8 billion in 2022 with growth of 5.4%. The market added US$140 million in revenue. Japan remained the largest market in the region, accounting for 45.9% of Asia’s revenues.

The revenue growth in Japan came from both physical and digital formats. Japan remained the largest physical market globally, with a share of 33.2% in 2022, down slightly from the 33.8% that was reported in 2021. The market’s physical revenues increased by 2.3% which equated to revenue growth of US$35 million, taking the total to US$1.5 billion in 2022. This growth was driven by an increase in CD revenue.

Opening with a visit to the showcase Summer Sonic Festival, the itinerary moved onto an introductory session that included a welcome from the British Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom.  The delegation of 20 music professionals representing 18 companies involved in all aspects of the industry, from publishing and record labels to distribution and promotion, engaged in a range of educational sessions and site visits.

Topics covered across the visit included music distribution, digital licensing, the strong physical market in Japan and the support for independent and DIY artists through to Japanese media landscape, live music and music tech in Japan to fan engagement, YouTube and virtual streaming. The British delegates had the opportunity to hear from significant players in the Japanese music landscape, including representatives from LINE, Tunecore Japan, Fuji Rock and Summer Sonic Festivals and Billboard Live.

With a visit to a few of Tokyo’s famous record shops rounding off the visit, the delegation gained an in-depth understanding of all aspects of the music industry in Japan – and come away with lasting relationships to further cement to strong cultural bond between Japan and the UK in their shared love of music, and ensure British exports remain embedded in the Japanese music landscape.