Sony, BMG, Warner yet to sign up.

Tokyo-based label Victor Entertainment has begun making its repertoire available on the Japanese version of iTunes Music Store, with effect from today (Dec. 21).

VE will initially offer 208 tracks from 18 albums by acts such as pop duo Kiroro and female vocalists Minmi and Ua for download on the music service.

The label is using data compression technology called "net K2," which it says allows music downloaded from the Internet to be played at CD quality.

VE, a subsidiary of the Victor Co. of Japan, will sell individual tracks at either ¥150 ($1.29) or ¥200 ($1.72), while full albums will cost ¥2,000 ($17.23).

The label's decision leaves three major record companies here -- Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), BMG Japan and Warner Music Japan -- without digital distribution agreements with iTunes Japan.

The iTunes download service went live Aug. 4 in Japan. At launch, the service boasted one million available available titles from 15 labels including Toshiba-EMI, Universal Music and Avex.

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