Asia Minute: Vinyl’s Record Appeal in Japan

Aug 25, 2016

Music stores may be more of a memory than a booming business in many places, including Hawai‘i.  Although venues such as Hungry Ear records and Ideas Music and Books in Honolulu are still in operation, in at least one part of Asia, record stories are still a growth industry.  HPR’s Bill Dorman has more in today’s Asia Minute.

Credit David Hilowitz / Flickr

Tokyo is getting another record store…and a pretty big one.  Jiji News reports the store in the Shinjuku neighborhood will have about 70,000 records for sale…along with record players, and some 20,000 CD’s.  It will be run by a subsidiary of the convenience store Lawson’s, which launched its first record store in the nearby area of Shibuya a couple of years ago.  Most of the records in the new store will be used, with prices ranging from about three dollars to as much as a thousand dollars for rare items.

New music is still coming out on vinyl in Japan.  Jiji reports nearly 700,000 records were pressed in Japan last year—more than six times as many as in 2010.  The draw of the old-fashioned record store is still strong in Japan…where you can still buy CD’s at Tower Records.  Atlantic Media’s Quartz dot com reports there are about 6,000 music stores in Japan…more than triple the number in the United States.

In the US and other markets, most music is sold by digital downloads…but in Japan, 75% of music sales still take a physical form---mostly cd’s, but also vinyl. That figure comes from the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry—which puts Japan’s overall annual music sales at nearly 2.5 billion dollars.