"New technologies, industrial structure, and the consumption of music in Japan"


This study examines the impact of mobile technologies and the internet on the way music is consumed and marketed in Japan , drawing from interviews of executives from the music, telecommunications, and internet industries; it also compares the behavior of Japanese and American consumers, as determined by surveys conducted in late 2006 and early 2007. Japanese telecommunication carriers created an environment friendly to the development of mobile phone applications by offering low commission rates and settlement systems to content companies and incentives to upgrade handsets to consumers. Japanese record companies were initially skeptical of mobile downloads, but mastertone and full-track downloads quickly became important promotional tools and significant revenue streams. While both Japanese and American students listened to music on the go and used multiple ringtones, Japanese students were less likely to own PCs and more likely to own 3G-enabled phones; they were thus more likely to discover new songs on mobile portal sites and use phones to listen to music than American students. However, American students were more likely to express their feelings about themselves and their friends through their ringtones than Japanese students, who were more likely to use vibration or silent mode. Hence, this study shows how both corporate policies and cultural factors can impact the way consumers use devices, ultimately affecting how music is heard and acquired.

Search terms: economics, Internet, music industry, mass media, advertising and marketing, ipod, mobile, ringtone, technology, Japan, popular music

Noriko Manabe www.norikomanabe.com nmanabe at gc dot cuny dot edu