Wed, May 18, 2011 - Page 12 News List

KKBOX launching music service in Japan next month

ALL YOU CAN EAT:A service provided by the company allows people to listen to online music libraries for a flat monthly fee of less than US$20

By Jason Tan  /  Staff Reporter

KKBOX Inc, Taiwan’s largest online music service provider, yesterday said it was set to roll out its music subscription service in Japan in the middle of next month, marking its second overseas foray after Hong Kong.

The company is joining forces with RecoChoku, Japan’s largest digital music content provider, to provide music licensing and content to the service, a statement said. RecoChoku was formed by major Japanese music labels.

The monthly subscription service, dubbed “LISMO unlimited,” will offer more than 1 million titles in the database for users to tune into on their Android-based smartphones, whose sales are expected to exceed 10 million units in Japan this year, it said.

The service is an “all-you-can-eat” package that costs consumers ¥1,480 (US$18) a month — the first such business model in the market as single-song downloading is currently the dominant model in Japan.

“Cloud [computing] music is a rising trend in the digital music industry, and it is also a killer application for smartphones,” KKBOX CEO Chris Lin (林冠群) said in the statement.

KKBOX said that expansion in Japan is critical because the country is the world’s second-largest online music market, and is expected to overtake the US in the next few years.

KKBOX sold 76 percent of its shares to KDDI Corp, Japan’s No. 2 telecoms services provider, for ¥5 billion in December.

Its fast-growing potential also attracted attention from HTC Corp (宏達電), the world’s No. 5 smartphone brand, which announced in March that it would spend US$10 million to acquire an 11.1 percent stake in the music provider.

The company launched its service in Hong Kong in November 2009, and currently has more than 8 million registered members in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

KKBOX said it has been in talks with record labels in China, Malaysia and Singapore, but there are hurdles to overcome, such as rampant illegal downloading and copyright infringement.

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