Q2 Internet downloads sluggish; mobile soars.

Signs that sales of digital music might be slowing down in Japan are reflected in the latest quarterly figures from trade body the Recording Industry of Japan.

The number of Internet download units sold in the second quarter (April to June) rose to 5.94 million, an increase of about 24,000 units on the first quarter of 2006.

This represents a significantly-lower growth rate considering that unit sales during this year's second quarter represent a five-fold increase over the same period in 2005.

Last year was the first time that RIAJ started to compile download figures. And the Japanese market received a boost with the introduction of the iTunes Music Store in August 2005.

Mobile-phone downloads during April to June, compared with the first quarter, increased by a slightly higher margin, from 83.03 million to 84.55 million units. The mobile-phone unit-sales figure for the corresponding quarter in 2005 was 57.87 million.

In revenue terms, sales for Internet downloads were worth 1.26 billion yen ($10.83 million), up from ¥1.22 billion ($10.5 million) in the first quarter. In the second quarter of 2005, revenues from digital formats were ¥233.12 million ($2 million).

Meanwhile, the revenue figure for mobile downloads rose to ¥11.29 billion ($97 million) from ¥10.93 billion ($94 million) in the first quarter. In the second period in 2005, mobile download sales were ¥7.37 billion ($63.3 million).

Despite the slowdown of downloads, the release of the high-speed Chaku-Uta Full-Compatible handsets by mobile-phone giant NTT DoCoMo is expected to contribute to the growth of the overall download market in Japan.

Chaku-Uta Full is a service that allows the downloading of complete music tracks from providers for normal playback or for the creation of ring-tones.