A trio of big names in the anime music industry talked about the growing importance of the international market and financial health of the industry. Lantis chief producer Shigeru Saitō (Love Live! producer) appeared on Tomokazu Tashiro (The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya end song composer) and Tomoya Tabuchi’s (band member of Unison Square Garden) Tacchi Radio podcast and talked about anime’s changing boundaries.
They mentioned how the international stage has been changing how production companies look at anime over the past 10 years. Due to digital distribution and licensing deals, companies can recoup costs on series that don’t sell well in Japan. In fact, last year saw the international market as the highest revenue stream segment for the anime industry, bringing in a record 583.3 billion yen.
According to the trio, this has to do with China’s growing market: they and the rest of Asia made up 38.9% of international revenue. Currently, Chinese licensors are in a bidding war for anime, which has brought in a large windfall of revenue. The growing appeal of simulcasting around the globe has also helped the anime industry, and the trio feels like this will become the new standard for broadcasting.
In terms of music, the trio, especially Saitō, spoke about how their industry is in a transitional stage: similar to anime during the early 2010s. Music anime has been growing in international and domestic appeal over the past 10 years, and Saitō mentioned how Lantis is largely supported by The iDOLM@STER and Love Live! Both franchises have spawned singles and albums that have charted on the Oricon mainstream charts, signaling that the music has appeal outside of otaku.
The trio capped things off talking about how the international market is the final frontier for anime music. Companies are starting to allow anime singles to be sold on iTunes, to be legally streamed on Spotify, and have been introducing some concerts in overseas countries.
The creation of the ANiUTa streaming service (which Lantis is help funding) is another proactive sign that the industry is starting to take the international market seriously.