August 21, 2005

Apple plays winning tune in Sony back yard

Guardian: Apple's foray into Japan - which is the world's second biggest market for music in terms of album sales - has sparked talk of a rapid growth in the market in digital music downloads and of a bitter battle with Sony.
Analysts agree that the momentum is with the visitor from California.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Apple, Asia, Sony | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Yahoo Japan To Expand Its Online Music Service

Reuters: The Japanese online music market is heating up, especially after the blockbuster launch of Apple iTunes there. Now Yahoo Japan will expand its online music distribution service, allowing customers in the world's second-largest music market to listen to selected songs in full before they decide to buy. The new service with 100,000 available songs would be launched on Monday morning.
Yahoo Japan expects to earn ad revenue and commissions from song sales, while it also aims to bolster traffic to its fee-based operations through the new service that is based on an online radio format.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Asia, Yahoo | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2005

Music Downloads To Phones Dominate Japanese Market

Macworld: [by James Pearce] Mobile phone downloads in Japan (including complete songs and ring tone melodies) totaled 108.9 million songs during the first half of the year and were worth ¥13.6 billion according to figures from the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ). "In contrast, legal music downloads from the Internet to devices like portable music players totaled 2.2 million songs and were worth ¥538.8 million during the same period, the RIAJ said...Those figures mean cell phone downloads accounted for 98 percent of the market by song and 96 per cent by value during the first half."
That's a pretty significant difference and is likely to give fuel to those predicting mobile phones will soon replace portable music players, although the Japanese market is different from other markets in a number of ways (after being castigated by Wireless Watch Japan I won't hazard a guess as to why that is).
However, it should be noted that the mobile market in Japan has a greater proportion of songs downloaded than of revenue -- so I infer that the songs on mobile phones are at least as cheap as those sold on the internet. Still, the figures don't include those of the recently opened iTunes store, which was a run-away success. (via Ringtonia)
Related stories:
--Music Mavens Change Tune
--Interview: Problems And Predictions Of Mobile Music
--Digital Music Boom In Asia

Posted by Rafat Ali in Asia, Mobile Music | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Netease Drops Music Search Service To Cut Piracy

FT: (sub. req.) Chinese portal player Netease has suspended its online music search service over concerns about copyright piracy, a move that could create pressure on others such as newly listed to follow suit.
Music companies have complained that MP3 search services offered by Chinese portals and search websites promote the distribution of unlicensed content...
Baidu declined to comment on Tuesday on Netease's move or its plans for its own music search platform.Google does not offer a dedicated MP3 search service in China. Such services are offered by a range of other companies, however, including Sina, China's biggest portal.
Music search services form one part of a debate over how to manage digital copyright, with some observers arguing that online search engines should not be held responsible for content accessed through their services.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Asia, Piracy | Permalink | Comments (0)

August 14, 2005

Japanese Musicians Trying to Join ITunes

AP: Japanese musicians under contract with Sony and other labels that haven't joined Apple's iTunes Music Store are starting to defy their recording companies and trying to get their music on the popular download service launched last week in Japan.
Rock musician Motoharu Sano, who has a recording contract with Sony, is making some of his songs available on iTunes, according to his official Web page...Sony Music spokesman Yasushi Ide said Sano is no longer considered "a Sony artist," although negotiations will decide whether his recordings under the Sony label will be offered at iTunes or not.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Apple, Asia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Koreans not impressed by Apple's iPod

InfoWorld: It may be the hottest, most sought-after digital music player in other parts of the world, but in South Korea iPod registers as barely a blip in the sales charts, according to a recent report by market analysts GfK AG.
With iPods accounting for just 1.6 percent of units sold in South Korea, Apple ranked as the number 13 digital music player manufacturer in the country...local companies like Reigncom Ltd., Digitalway Co. Ltd. and Cowon Systems Inc. were early leaders in the technology and are still strong today, especially in their home market.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Apple, Asia, Hardware | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 09, 2005

iTunes store a quick hit in Japan

AP: In just four days, 1 million songs have been downloaded at Apple's new iTunes Music Store in Japan, the fastest pace for the service's launch in any of the 20 nations in which it's now available, including the United States.
The U.S. version of the service took a week to sell 1 million song downloads.
But more work needs to be done on signing more labels: Apple has not signed a deal with Sony's music division, which has some of the most popular Japanese singers and bands under its label.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Apple, Asia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 03, 2005

Apple starts iTunes online music service in Japan

Reuters: Much has been speculated on this over the last year: Apple has launched its iTunes online music store in Japan, bringing its market-leading download service to the world's second-largest music market by album sales. The service will charge 150 yen ($1.35) each for 90 percent of its songs and 200 yen for the other 10 percent, undercutting some existing players such as Sony's Mora online download service, which charges 210 yen per song.
About 15 Japanese companies including Avex Group Holdings would provide content for the iTunes store, which will have over 1 million songs.
AP: It could also change the music business here, where people who download music are still accustomed to paying more money for a limited lineup of tunes from sites for PCs and mobile phones that cost about 200 yen (US$1.80; euro1.50) a tune or charge monthly fees.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Apple, Asia | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Napster and Tower Records Japan Create Joint Venture to Launch Napster Japan

Release: Napster has tied up with Tower Records Japan, the leading music retailer in Japan, to launch Napster Japan in the territory within the next 12 months.
The new venture will initially operate out of Tower's Tokyo headquarters under the guidance of a dedicated board of directors chaired by TRJ CEO Hiroyuki Fushitani. The announcement earmarks Japan as Napster's next major market after the U.S., UK, Canada, and soon-to-be-launched Germany.
Under the terms of the deal, TRJ will contribute up to $7 million in cash and undertake additional funding obligations in exchange for an approximately 70% majority equity stake in Napster Japan. Napster will provide up to $3 million in cash in exchange for a 30% minority equity stake in Napster Japan and guaranteed royalty income.

Posted by Rafat Ali in Asia, Napster | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

June 28, 2005

Korean Internet Portal Daum Changes Streaming Strategy

Korea Times: Daum Communications, Korea’s second-biggest Internet portal site, recently drew back its offering of free music streaming services in the face of strong opposition from record labels...

The company now states that "it will limit the free streaming of any music files to just once from the previous three times a day for users", which is an abrupt change from Daum’s previous statement last week that it would continue to enable its customers to stream any music files registered at Daum site three times a day."

Unless I'm missing something major here - Daum's innovative approach makes perfect sense because if it pays broadcast fees for the music streamed (instead of the individual Web surfers)...Why wouldn't the labels like a new revenue stream in the face of declining global CD sales and why is the industry so against an on-demand radio system that is technologically completely trackable and payable to the rightsholders?

Posted by Todd in Asia | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack