For the last four years now, KDDI/au has been setting the pace in Japan for mobile music services, launching the first mastertone service in 2002 and the first full-song download service two years later. The company has recorded a total of over 38 billion mastertone downloads and 78 million full-song over-the-air downloads. They have also achieved impressive handset sales, with more than 22.8 million mastertone-capable and 10.4 million full-song-capable KDDI mobile phones sold in Japan.
At a recent press conference in Tokyo, the wireless operator raised the bar yet again – unveiling plans for its upcoming digital radio launch and introducing the latest incarnation of its LISMO! music service.
In addition to music, KDDI’s digital radio service will feature visuals and text information. Music will be streamed in CD-quality HE-AAC format (at a bit rate of 64kbps to 96 kbps), and of course users will have a ‘one-click’ option to download the track that’s currently playing. Tokyo FM began its digital broadcasts on December 1, and the first handset to support digital radio service – the Sony Ericsson W44S – is set to go on sale in the next few days..
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Other notes of interest:
RIAJ releases Q3 report
In brief: RIAJ (Record Industry Association of Japan) released a report on digital music distribution for the third quarter (July-September) 2006. There was a steady 36% increase in mobile download sales over the same period last year, resulting in over JPY12 billion (US$100 million) of total sales. Full-song downloads showed a 101% while chaku-uta (mastertones) recorded a 17% rise.
JASRAC issues second complaint to YouTube
The Japan Society for Rights of Authors Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) has requested that video-sharing site YouTube install a filter that would prevent copyrighted material from being uploaded to the service. YouTube deleted roughly 30,000 files after receiving a complaint about copyright infringement from JASRAC last month, but the Japanese group sent a letter on Monday explaining that the problem persists, and the current system is ‘not functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads.’
HMV Japan to start new mobile site for music fans
HMV Japan announced last week that it is starting a new mobile blog site for fans to post their opinions
about music and movies. The new service, which will be free, is called ‘Hear My Voice’, and will start in
December. HMV Japan says it aims to acquire 500,000 subscribers within two years.