TOKYO — Around the world, the music business has shifted toward downloads and streaming. But in Japan, the compact disc is still king.
On a drizzly Sunday afternoon recently, Tower Records’ nine-level flagship store here was packed with customers like Kimiaki Koinuma. A 23-year-old engineer in a Dee Dee Ramone T-shirt, Mr. Koinuma said that, unlike most men his age around the world, he spends little time with digital services and prefers his music on disc.
“I buy around three CDs a month,” he said, showing off a haul of six new albums, including the Rolling Stones’ classic “Exile on Main St.” and an assortment of the latest Japanese pop hits.
Japan may be one of the world’s perennial early adopters of new technologies, but its continuing attachment to the CD puts it sharply at odds with the rest of the global music industry. While CD sales are falling worldwide, including in Japan, they still account for about 85 percent of sales here, compared with as little as 20 percent in some countries, like Sweden, where online streaming is dominant.
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