If you need more j-pop in your life, then you will be happy to know one of its biggest stars is heading to the world of streaming. Fans can finally listen to Utada Hikaru on Spotify after a lengthy wait, but there is a big (huge) catch. After all, the singer’s catalog is not up yet in North America.
Thanks to Arama Japan, fans of Hikaru learned her songs went live on Spotify around the world starting January 8. Netizens have shared all sorts of screenshots of their new j-pop playlists, but U.S. users are still in the dark. North American fans in Canada, Mexico, and the States cannot access the singer’s lengthy catalog.
J-pop fans learned Hikaru would begin streaming her music through Spotify last month. In December, the singer’s agency confirmed it would roll out all of Hikaru’s songs on sites like Apple Music and Spotify. If you can access her music on the latter site, all of her studio albums from FIRST LOVE to Fantome are up for your listening pleasure. This year, Hikaru is set to release her seventh Japanese studio album, so fans can look forward to the impending debut.
Of course, j-pop fans are familiar with how hard it is to legally stream its music. Japan has been slow growing its streaming market in comparison to the U.S. The industry is still strict on Youtube with the music videos it will post and whether they will be geo-locked or not. In the last few years, services like LINE’s Line Music and Avex’s AWA have helped normalize streaming as a distribution method for Japanese agencies, and the arrival of Hikaru to Spotify is a milestone moment.
After all, Hikaru is one of the best-selling musicians in Japan. The artist debuted in 1998 but rose to fame a year later when her album FIRST LOVE was released. The album is still the top-selling Japanese album of all-time, and Hikaru has since sold over 53 million records globally. She is best-known by the general public for doing the theme songs of Kingdom Hearts, “Simple and Clean” and “Sanctuary”.
Do you think Spotify will get Hikaru's discography for North American users? Hit me up on Twitter @MeganPetersCB to let me know and talk all things comics, k-pop, and anime!