Universal Music K.K. (UMKK), the major's Japanese affiliate, and HMV Japan have teamed up to enable consumers to buy physical Universal product directly from the label's Web site.

Universal Music K.K. (UMKK), the major's Japanese affiliate, and HMV Japan have teamed up to enable consumers to buy physical Universal product directly from the label's Web site.

HMV supplies the e-commerce system for the service at universal-music.co.jp. It is thought to be the first such alliance between a major label and retailer in Japan, the world's No. 2 ranked music market.

"By linking the [Universal and HMV] sites, both of which are among the top of their kind in the country, we plan to provide a new kind of target marketing," the companies say in a joint statement. "UMKK plans to exploit this service to create an environment where customers can buy CDs they like from wherever they like, and to create new channels for distribution."

"Until now, our Web site has mostly been concerned with providing information," says UMKK's Takashi Yoshimoto, GM of sales and marketing. "From now on, with a scheme that enables customers to actually buy products, our customers will have more choices available."