Tokyo-based Independent label Avex has edged out Sony as Japan's top CD label in market-share terms, according to SoundScan Japan.

The music-sales tracking service says that Avex Marketing had a market share of 15.4% in 2007, while Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)'s was 15% -- the first time since 1998 that Sony has not been No. 1 in SoundScan Japan's year end market-share rankings. In 2006 Sony was No. 1 with a 15.9% share, while Avex was No. 2 with 13.8%.

At No. 3 after Sony was Universal Japan, with a market share of 13.6%, followed by EMI Music Japan at 7.2% and Warner Music Japan with 6.7%.

SoundScan collates point-of-sale-based sales data from some 3,500 music retailers throughout Japan as well as data from some online CD retailers -- although not, which now ranks as one of Japan's top five music retailers.

The SoundScan data does not include digital-music sales. The rankings are based on CD sales only and do not include DVD or video sales.