by Glenn Peoples
Spotify and Rdio are expected to launch in Japan in the next few months, according to a report at Japanese music trade McClure Music.
"Rdio and Spotify will have a positive impact on the Japanese market because they’re a great form of communication in social media for consumers, especially teenagers," says Takayuki Suzuki, GM of digital strategy, sales marketing, at Universal Music Japan, told McClure Music.
A Spotify representative did not comment on the report. An Rdio representative had not yet responded to a request for comment.
This latest report follows a report in October that Spotify was speaking to labels about opening in Japan this month.
Spotify is currently available in 20 countries and has posted job openings that suggest upcoming expansions to Mexico, Poland and Italy. Rdio is available in 17 countries. Neither of them are yet available in an Asian country.
Although Japan is the second-largest music market in the world, it has been slower than others to adopt subscription services. Only Sony’s Music Unlimited currently operates in the country.
Japan is somewhat unique when it comes to digital music: mobile-related digital content — ringtones, ringtunes, full track downloads — still dominates. In the first 9 months of 2012, mobile digital content accounted for 67.6% of the country’s digital music revenue, according to data from the Recording Industry Association of Japan. Digital downloads accounted for 29.8% of revenue. The tiny remainder was split almost evenly between Internet subscriptions and mobile subscriptions.
But mobile is trending down and downloads and subscriptions are trending up. Mobile digital revenue fell 39% in the first nine months of 2012 while digital download revenue jumped 34%.
Source: Billboard Biz
When we first checked in on singer Michelle Shaprow, she was getting big in Japan while struggling with how best to maintain personal contact with her growing fanbase on Facebook. Since then she’s continued to build her Facebook following while developing business contacts facilitated by her Facebook activities and expanding her activities to other countries. She most recently signed to a worldwide publishing deal with BMG.
Michelle Shaprow - Thank you to my Facebook Friends
Though Michelle Shaprow hasn’t completely solved her dilemma regarding her desire to maintain direct, personal contact with her fans on Facebook, she has found a few solutions while also using Facebook to develop her team and establish business relationships. In fact, she now views her Facebook friends as an important part of her team.
To some degree, Michelle’s solutions to connecting with her fans via her Facebook Page and maxed out personal account is what one would expect. She now reluctantly accepts that she cannot respond to all personal messages and focuses on interacting on public posts on her wall as well as posting more general shoutouts.
However, she’s been able to maintain her personal touch as I feel she demonstrates in the above thank you message to her fans marking the latest milestone in her blossoming career, signing a publishing deal with BMG. This video is also scheduled for posting today at Music on Facebook, a nice touch given how instrumental Facebook has been as a tool for building her career to date.
Because Michelle has been focusing on international label deals, introducing her music to the world country by country with the assistance of national labels, signing a worldwide publishing deal with BMG allows that process to continue while offering her support with licensing, music placements and connections with sponsors.
Michelle has found that, due to the strength of her fanbase on Facebook and her growing international presence, she’s able to work with a major company like BMG based on proven appeal. For example, they can see that she is reaching a much broader demographic than one might expect for her music and so she is able to avoid approaches that target only populations that might seem the most obvious fit.
This flexibility has also allowed her to continue working with labels in such countries as Japan, Korea and the Netherlands to tailor her approach to each territory. These deals are being developed by her manager, Dominique Trenier, with whom she had mutual friends but who first listened to her music video on Facebook and then established direct contact. Oddly enough, the two have yet to meet face-to-face!
In addition to developing such traditional business contacts with the help of Facebook, Michelle also now considers her Facebook friends to be part of the team. For example, fans have recommended particular blogs with which she was previously unfamiliar that have been receptive to her music. Fans have also connected her to business opportunities including, for example, getting her music on radio in Botswana.
Though she expects to eventually sign a U.S. label deal, she is biding her time and working from a position of strength enabled, in part, through Facebook. She also recognizes that one day she will have to find a helper for some of her Facebook activities but such a person will need to be closely aligned with Michelle’s philosophy of music and life to become a solid part of the team.
Though some elements of Michelle Shaprow’s use of Facebook are similar to previous success stories, other aspects seem rather unique and serve as a strong reminder that social media-facilitated success can take many forms. Given that good things come in threes, I imagine we’ll be doing a future followup regarding Ms. Shaprow bringing it all back home to the States.
Article originally appeared on Hypebot (http://www.hypebot.com) and was written by Clyde Smith.