Sony Corporation announced the launch in Japan of Music Unlimited, a cloud-based music subscription service that will offer users over 10 million songs.
The service will make tracks from Sony Music Entertainment (Japan), Universal Music LLC (Japan), Warner Music Japan and EMI Music Japan Inc. available to users across the country. It will be accessible on Android-based devices and Windows computers, as well as Sony products such as PlayStation3 and Mac computers, among others.
It is the first subscription-based music service in Japan since Napster attempted to establish its service in 2006. Music Unlimited is the first such venture to have the backing of all the major labels in Japan. Napster folded in 2010.
In a press release Tim Schaaff, President of Sony Network Entertainment International said: "Bringing the cloud music subscription service to Japan, which is one of the largest music markets in the world, is a key step in the expansion of Music Unlimited."
All major labels were represented in Sony's press release. "EMI Music would like to have its music available to as many music fans as possible in a great number of formats, and is very happy to provide its music content to Music Unlimited, the multi-device subscription/streaming service by which consumers can enjoy listening to music while benefiting from a diverse array of cool functions," said Hitoshi Namekata, Executive Chairman & Representative Director, EMI Music Japan Inc. "We expect the service will bring discoveries of new music as well as encounters with nostalgic tracks, and hope that it will fulfill a valuable service for the music market."
The service will not be available on iPhone or other Mac mobile devices. However, at the same time Rekochoku, the largest digital store for mobile phone in Japan, announced that it would make its content available on iPhone, the first time the store has done so. Rekochoku currently accounts for about 65% of digital music sales in Japan, according to Billboard estimates.
Music Unlimited is stunning leap into the cloud-based subscription format that Japan had resisted mightily until now. "Music Unlimited heralds a new era for the music industry in Japan," said Kazuhiko Koike, President and CEO, Universal Music LLC (Japan). "This service creates opportunities for customers to discover new music wherever they are in the world, and we are delighted to offer listeners access to our great music library."
Kei Ishizaka, Representative Director, Chairman & CEO, Warner Music Japan Inc., and ex-president of the Recording Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ), said "I am thrilled about the launch of Music Unlimited here in Japan and also very excited that now we can deliver more of Warner Music's Beautiful and POP repertoires to music fans through a variety of devices." He added, "I strongly believe that music subscription service which is rapidly growing in overseas, will bring us another opportunity to expand digital business even more here in Japan."
The price of Music Unlimited has been set at about $18.50 (1,480 yen) for 30 days for consumers in Japan. The service is currently offering new users the first 30 days for free.
Naoki Kitagawa, CEO, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. said: "We are excited to be able to deliver our music through this new Music Unlimited service. Innovative technologies have changed and diversified people's lifestyles as well as the way they enjoy music. We hope that even more people can enjoy our music in novel ways through new offerings like Music Unlimited."