Over the past few years, I’ve often been asked if file sharing – especially music file sharing – is as widespread in Japan as in the US and Europe. My answer has generally been something along the lines of ‘it certainly exists here, but the number of people doing it is pretty small compared to most other countries.’ In just the past year, though, we’ve seen a sharp increase in action taken by Japanese record industry and copyright organizations to step up efforts against file sharing.
I suppose it’s not so surprising that mobile file sharing has become a major concern here – after all, 90% of digital music downloads in Japan are to a mobile phone. Researching further, though, I was a bit taken aback at just how prevalent these free mobile sites are, especially compared to just one year ago, which was the last time I had looked into the issue.
At that time, there were just a handful of sites with very rough instructions for making your own chaku-uta (mastertones). This time, though, I was quickly able to find several ‘underground’ sites offering free mastertones and full-song downloads, and also encouraging other users to create and upload their own files. Sites such as ‘Muryou Shugi’ (which translates roughly to something like ‘Free-ism’) provide very detailed information now on how to convert tracks from a CD to the various formats, and anonymous bulletin board sites such as 2-channel offer tools for making the handset-specific adjustments needed to obtain the best sound quality.
Continue reading via Music Media Watch.
Other notes of interest:
RWC to sell tube amp and speaker set for iPod
On January 25, RWC will begin selling the RM-VA1S audio system for iPods in Japan. The new system is a tube amplifier and speaker set with a docking port for all iPod models that is aimed at fans of high-quality ‘classic’ audio equipment. The RMVA1S will have an open price, but is expected to sell at around JPY69,800 (US$580)
Mora teams with Mixi for music distribution
Label Gate, a joint venture of Japanese record companies which runs the Mora online music download service, announced last month that it will partner with popular SNS service Mixi to offer music through the ‘Mixi Music’ corner of the site. Mixi music features ranking lists of songs by genre. Some of the song titles will contain a Mora icon that starts up Windows Media Player and allows users to hear a sample or purchase the song for download.