Yahoo Japan and Tokyo-based music-download service operator Label Gate today (Feb. 21) announced the joint launch of a music portal, marking Yahoo's first foray into the country's music-download busin

Yahoo Japan and Tokyo-based music-download service operator Label Gate today (Feb. 21) announced the joint launch of a music portal, marking Yahoo's first foray into the country's music-download business.

Based on Label Gate's Mora download service, the Yahoo Music Download service will offer access to some 73,000 songs, including titles from all the majors. Seventeen Japanese labels jointly-own Label Gate, whose download service was rebranded as Mora in March 2004. Twenty-two other labels will also offer tracks through the new service.

Individual downloads are priced from ¥158 ($1.51) - ¥358 ($3.43). Full album downloads cost ¥525 ($5) - ¥3,000 ($28.80). Each record company decides the pricing. A spokesman says Yahoo Music Download should be live by the end of this month.

"Until now, Yahoo Japan has offered a range of music-related services such as music search services and music-related news services on its Yahoo Music site, as well as sales of packaged products through its Yahoo Shopping site," says Yahoo Japan in a statement. "By hooking up with Label Gate and offering online sales of downloadable tracks, we seek to further satisfy our customers."

Mora claims it is Japan's biggest music-download service, with a catalog of more than 100,000 songs, and estimates it will have racked up some 2 million downloads by the close of the fiscal year ending March 31, 2005.

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