London-based audio technology firm Shazam today launches its music-recognition technology in Japan.

London-based audio technology firm Shazam today launches its music-recognition technology in Japan.

Shazam, which already operates in 12 other countries, is launching the MTV Music Finder service with the co-operation of MTV Japan and the network's mobile-services partner, Yamaha. The service -- which Shazam claims is the first of its kind in the territory -- is a partnership with SystemK, the Sapporo-based Japanese licensee which localized the system for Japanese mobile Web platforms.

The service is initially available to Vodafone Japan's 15 million subscribers. Shazam CEO Jerry Roest says the company hopes to make it available through other local mobile providers soon. "Japan has been a strategically important country from the beginning and we have spent a lot of time on the ground understanding the market needs," Roest says.

After registering with the service, Japanese users can then identify individual tracks by dialling 9963 on their handset and holding it toward the music source. An email is then sent to the mobile phone with the name of the artist and song. Five successful recognitions cost ¥300 ($2.77). Consumers will also be given the opportunity to purchase that ringtone via MTV Sounds, one of MTV Japan's three mobile online Websites.

Shazam claims its service has attracted more than a million users across the United States, Europe, Asia and Oceania. According to the company, more than 4 millions tracks have been "tagged" in the United Kingdom alone since its launch there in August 2002.