Despite hopeful signs for growth in the early part of 2011, the Record Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ) final 2011 physical music shipment figures showed a continuing, if slowed, decline.
Total audio shipments in this period were 199.5 million units, down 5% from 2010, for a value of 211.6 billion yen ($2.7 billion). This represents a drop of 6% in value compared to 2010. By comparison, however, the decline slowed from the previous year. In 2010 total shipments fell 10% in value compared to 2009.
Volume of domestic shipments mirrored the overall total with a drop of 5% in volume and 6% value.
However the news was better for international acts where the recent downward spiral for international repertoire has slowed compared to a previous year-on-year comparisons. Audio shipments totaled 39.4 million units, down 6% from 2010, for a value of 38.9 billion yen ($498.4 million).
This is far better than the drop of 26% in value in 2010 compared to 2009, bringing some hope international repertoire can hold on to market share in Japan. Experts attributed the better performance to releases by Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, as well as Korean acts or K-pop. K-pop is classified as either domestic or international repertoire depending on the language the songs are sung in.