MMW-100 -- Chaku-uta Full, DoCoMo Style

J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
Commentary on Japan's music technology news

Issue No. 100
Tuesday, June 27, 2006



++ FEATURE: Chaku-uta Full, DoCoMo Style

** KDDI Releases 'Walkman Phone'
** RIAJ To Publish Digital Music Charts
** Listen Japan Moves Into Mobile Space
** KCCS Starts Chaku-uta Conversion Service
** Yamaha Starts New Mobile Site For Electric Organ Music

++ FEATURE: Chaku-uta Full, DoCoMo Style

In our last feature, we reported that NTT DoCoMo was on the
eve of launching its own full-song mobile download service
for the i-mode portal, and was set to release the first and
only handset capable of using the new service. That handset -
Panasonic's P902iS - went on sale June 7, and a new 'Chaku-uta
Full' category appeared on the i-mode menu the same day,
showing a total of 58 third-party sites.

Despite the fact that the service was only available to those
who had just purchased a new P902iS phone, 'Chaku-uta Full'
was nonetheless given top billing by DoCoMo - prominently
displayed at the top of the 'i-menu' seen by all i-mode
subscribers. The point was not so much to drive traffic to
the service as it was to let people know that full-song
downloads have arrived and are available to them (if they
upgrade their phone to the latest Panasonic model).

Even with an older phone, though, i-mode users can still
browse the different sites and see what songs are available.
The genres and categories are broken down in a manner similar
to those on the chaku-uta menu: about half the sites are
J-Pop, a quarter foreign pop/rock, and the rest a mixture of
anime/game, indies, TV/movie songs, and instrument-specific
sites. Not surprisingly, the Label Mobile site (a cooperative
venture where major labels pool their content) was given the
top spot on the menu for both J-Pop and foreign pop/rock

Almost all the new full-song sites have a similar look and
feel to their 'partial-song' chaku-uta counterparts. Most
likely, the top chaku-uta site operators simply copied the
structure of their existing sites and added full-length
versions of their better-selling chaku-uta tracks. It also
appears that several content providers are offering full-length
versions of selected tracks from their chaku-uta sites.
This is something that KDDI does not allow - full song
downloads can only be offered from full-song sites.

So how does DoCoMo's first 'chaku-uta full phone' stack up
in terms of memory, SD card support and other features?

While there is only enough memory available to store about
10 songs on the device itself, the P902iS supports miniSD
cards of up to 2GB in size, enough to hold about 1,000
tracks. If you want to set one of the full songs as a
ringtone, however, it takes a little more work than you might
expect. The ringtone portion of the song must be selected
and saved on the phone as a separate 'i-motion' file, which
is then set as the ringer. Also, many of the full-song
tracks cannot be used as the phone's alarm sound.

One interesting feature of the P902iS from a marketing
perspective is that Panasonic has tied up with the popular
Japanese band 'Love Psychedelico' and pre-installed one
of the group's songs on the phone. The song takes up 10%
of the available device memory for music, and cannot be
deleted or moved to a miniSD card. You're basically stuck
with it. This is the first time we've seen a full song
from a popular band bundled with a handset, but don't be
surprised to see similar tie-ups from other i-mode handset
manufacturers when they start rolling out their own
full-song models.


** KDDI Releases 'Walkman Phone'
In brief: On June 20, KDDI began selling the W42S handset
from Sony Ericsson in Japan, branding it as the 'Walkman
Phone'. The new handset features 1GB of memory reserved
specifically for music, and retails for JPY 19,000 (US$165).

** RIAJ To Publish Digital Music Charts
In brief: The Record Industry Association of Japan (RIAJ)
announced last week that from this fall it will begin
publishing sales data for digital music downloads. The new
data will include the top 100 chaku-uta downloads for each
month as well as certifying sales of digital tracks. Under
the new system, a full-length chaku-uta track will be
awarded 'Gold' status for recording 100,000 downloads,
'Platinum' for 250,000 and 'Double-Platinum' for 500,000.

** Listen Japan Moves Into Mobile Space
In brief: Listen Japan, which operates one of the online
music stores in Japan, announced that it was starting its
first chaku-uta mobile download site on July 3. It will
follow this with a site on KDDI's EZWeb portal and also
a full-song service sometime in the fall.

** KCCS Starts Chaku-uta Conversion Service
In brief: Kyocera Communications Systems (KCCS) announced
last week that it would begin offering a file conversion
service for chaku-uta in Japan. The new service will use
an ASP model, with pricing set at 1,800 yen (US$15.65) for
one full-song chaku-uta conversion. KCCS said it is aiming
for first-year sales of JPY 250 million (US$2.17 million).

** Yamaha Starts New Mobile Site For Electric Organ Music
In brief: Yamaha launched a new chaku-uta (mastertone) site for
electronic organ players on KDDI's EZweb portal. The tracks all
come from a monthly magazine called 'Gekkan electone' (Electric
Organ Monthly). Yamaha launched with a catalog of 1,200 tracks
and will add about 40 new tracks each month.
Subscribers: 4,833 as of June 26, 2006

Written by: Steve Myers (
Steve Myers is president and chief enthusiast of Theta Music
Technologies, which specializes in the development of music-related
software applications.

Edited by J@pan Inc editors: (


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