Following on from an earlier post, it seems that Japan’s record companies’ phobia of digital music distribution (by foreign companies) has been overcome. Mostly, anyway.
The Nikkei Shinbun is reporting that Apple is to launch its iTunes Music Store in Japan in early August, providing tracks from the majority of Japanese record companies, with preparations being made to make available between 500,000 and 1,000,000 tracks. The article notes Apple’s dominance in digital music distribution worldwide, and thinks that it will do similarly well in Japan.
Thus far, distribution deals have been reached with Toshiba EMI, Avex Group Holdings (which is running a digital music download site of its own) and Columbia Music Entertainment. The notable absence, as indicated by this Reuters article, is that of Sony Music Entertainment. One cannot help but wonder if this has anything to do with Sony’s age-old monopolistic behaviour, making sure that, at least in Japan, Sony artists’ music can only be bought from Sony-run digital music sites using Sony DRM for playback on Sony players. How long they will hold out against Apple remains to be seen.
The price per track, the Reuters article suggests, is to be ¥150 (£0.76; $1.41).
Update: This article in The Register suggests that it was all hogwash. Japanese users will have to wait and see.