Music streaming service Spotify has launched officially in Japan, the company announced on Thursday.
Similar to its service offerings in other markets, there will be an ad-based free tier, and premium ad-free subscription for 980 yen ($9.65) a month.
But not everyone will be able to log in today. Spotify’s initial launch will be on an invite-only basis before opening more broadly. Users need to request for an invite on Spotify’s Japanese website.
Spotify also announced that users in Japan will be first globally to get song lyrics on mobile and desktop. It had the feature on desktop last year, but had to stop the service when it stopped working with lyrics catalog, Musixmatch.
The launch on Thursday also includes Sony’s PlayStation Music service, which taps Spotify for its tunes, and will work for PS4 and PS3 consoles in Japan.
Spotify’s Japan debut has come quite belatedly after other Asian markets. Singapore, Malaysia and Hong Kong were first in 2013, followed by the Philippines in 2014 and Indonesia earlier this year.
Japan still loves CDs
Part of the reason for its late coming to Japan could be the country’s notorious reputation for eschewing streaming services. As Billboard noted in an earlier article, physical formats such as CDs and LPs are still popular in Japan more than 80 percent of music sales were on physical formats in 2015.
Licensing is also pretty tough there, because rights are owned by a fragmented spread of smaller companies, and not by a handful of large labels as you’d typically find in other countries.
So for Spotify to launch in Japan proper, it would have had to go down a far longer list of labels to attain those rights.
Perhaps that explains why Spotify’s taken over a year-and-a-half to debut in Japan, after it first opened its Tokyo office. The company also ramped up hiring in the earlier part of this year, for positions including business development, operations, marketing and sales.
Line, the country’s dominant chat messenger beat them to punch in June 2015, and its Line Music app allows people to share what they’re listening to with Line contacts.