Yamaha has just completed a major reorganization, moving its entire content division out of the parent company and into a subsidiary called Yamaha Music Media (YMM). Until now, YMM has focused mainly on publishing instructional books and magazines for pianists, guitarists and other musicians. Under the new structure, this print media will be combined with Yamaha’s considerable mobile content assets, as well as its music software catalog.
This move makes sense. Other music publishers in Japan such as Rittor Music and Doremi have already started to establish their own mobile presence, and have shown that readers of their music magazines (generally segmented by instrument) are keen for mobile ‘extras’. The editor-in-chief of one of these guitar magazines recently expressed to me his surprise at the demand for mobile content, saying that they had tried for years without success to tie print articles to other content (for example, guitar tablature) on the magazine’s web site.
When polyphonic ringtones were at their peak in Japan in 2002, Yamaha moved quickly to develop instrument-specific ringtone sites for guitarists and keyboard players. Now that ringtones have run their course as a mass-market cash cow, Yamaha is turning the attention of its mobile content people back to their core audience – people who like to create music and play instruments. As a result of this restructuring, we may just see a whole new range of innovative mobile music software applications coming over the next few years. At the very least, we can expect to see a much tighter coupling between mobile and print media for instrumentalists.