The on-demand CD printing service by Columbia Music Entertainment, Japan's oldest record label, is picking up steam. The service allows customers to order long out-of-print titles and receive them with new packaging, images and information.

Hiroshi Furukawa, GM in the sales marketing department at Columbia tells Billboard.biz, "There are two ways to order the CDs with this service, you can order them through Web sites associated with buying CDs, like Amazon, Tower or HMV, or you can order them directly from a record store."

The order then goes to the Japan Distribution System (JDS), the nationwide service that handles CD ordering for major labels in Japan, and they order the printing of one CD. The customer generally receives the title in five business days.

Furukawa explains, "The usual system in Japan is that CDs in are ordered from JDS in lots of 100 from the factory, so even if these titles were in print it would take forever to accumulate 100 orders."

Columbia's service currently includes about 300 titles from domestic repertoire, generally Japanese artists who were popular in the 1970s and '80s, singing traditional Japanese ballads. Says Furukawa, "We're adding 100 to 200 titles to the service every month and we plan to have 2,000 available by March, 2010." As most of the titles were out-of-print as vinyl LPs, this service represents the first time that consumers have been able to buy the music on CD.

As of now the on-demand service only includes Columbia catalog, but Furukawa notes, "We're in talks with other labels and rights holders to perhaps include some of their out-of-print repertoire in this service."

Columbia has a total catalog of some 150,000-160,000 titles and has digitized about 100,000 of those releases.

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