Japan's biggest record company, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), today (April 28) reported increased sales for the year ending March 31, 2004.

Japan's biggest record company, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), today (April 28) reported increased sales for the year ending March 31, 2004.

Revenues for SMEJ and its 30 subsidiaries totaled ¥154.2 billion ($1.5 billion), up 6.6% from the previous year. Of that amount, ¥85.1 billion ($804 million) came from sales and distribution (including product from other record companies) of recorded music, marking an 8.1% increase. The remaining ¥69.1 billion ($652.5 million), up 4.7%, comprised revenue from music publishing, artist management and other SMEJ subsidiaries.

SMEJ does not release profit figures.

Sony says the rise was due to strong sales of albums by domestic artists such as male vocalist Ken Hirai and newcomer pop/rock band Orange Range. Hirari's "Sentimentalovers" sold more than 1 million copies, and Orange Range's "MusicQ" has shifted more than 2 million units, SMEJ says.

SMEJ executive VP Mamoru Sakuma says one factor behind the increased sales of domestic product was the rapidly increasing popularity of digital downloads, both online and mobile-based.

Domestic product accounted for 79.2% of the company's sales in the year to March 31, up from 78.9% in the previous year. Sakuma says SMEJ expects better results for foreign product in the current fiscal year due to a stronger release schedule by Sony's front-line international acts.

When asked about the future of SMEJ and BMG Funhouse, which maintain separate operations in Japan despite the Sony BMG merger in the rest of the world, Sakuma comments: "We are not just a record company - we're a wide-ranging business, with artist management, publishing, magazine and other subsidiaries, and so it's going to be hard to decide just how to merge (with BMG Funhouse)."

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboardbiz

Print