J@pan Inc Magazine Presents:
M U S I C M E D I A W A T C H
Commentary on the week's music technology news
Issue No. 12
Wednesday, April 3, 2002
++ FEATURE: Music Software for the Cellphone, Part 1
++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS:
- J-Stream Announces Packet Transfer Service for Music Data
- Court Victory For Kazaa
- Yamaha Unveils New Electronic Violins
- Matsushita Releases "Sound Window Speaker"
++ FEATURE: Music Software for the Cellphone, Part 1
Readers of this feature who live in Japan will likely be familiar with the
popular Java applications that run on many of the cellphones here.
DoCoMo's 10KB i-appli for i-mode are probably the best known, but J-Phone
and KDDI each have their own Java platforms and "officially approved"
applications as well. Although many people still associate Java
applications for the phone with "mini-versions" of games such as Tetris
and Pac-Man, we are beginning to see several useful applications appearing
on many of the i-mode sites. Not surprisingly, a fair proportion of these
So what exactly can you make in terms of music software that will fit into
10KB? Well, not much -- or at least that's what we thought early on.
DoCoMo was the first to bring Java to the phone with the debut of the
P503i in January of last year. By mid-2001, there were countless game
i-appli's, but only a handful of music-related programs, and most of these
were either jukebox-type ringtone players of some sort or karaoke
applications. Even though ringtone download sites had by that time firmly
established themselves as the most popular form of i-mode content, it was
rare to find much in the way of music i-appli on these sites.
Perhaps the biggest reason for this initial lack of music software on the
ringtone sites is that programmers of i-appli must overcome a variety of
technical obstacles, and this was especially true in the early months.
First, the 10KB limit on program code (jar file) size is extremely
restrictive. Second, just as the same ringtone sounds different on the
various models, the same i-appli code will often look and behave
differently depending on the 503i model. Finally, a few of the models have
bugs that make them particularly unsuitable for music applications. For
example, a highly publicized glitch on the N503i makes it possible for
users to store any ringtones used in i-appli's. Because this bug is so
well-known, JASRAC insists that providers who include ringtone i-appli's
on their site pay extra in copyright licensing fees -- the same as if they
were actually providing the ringtone for download.
In addition to the technical obstacles, the inclusion of an i-appli also
didn't make much business sense for most ringtone providers. Most of these
providers needed to focus all of their energies into building up their
song catalogs, and anything else on their site was seen as an unnecessary
extra. Only the largest providers (Yamaha, XING, GIGA, et cetera) could
afford the investment required to develop Java programs, and when they
did, they were usually offered for free, as an "added attraction" for the
One outstanding "mobile music software" exception from the first half of
last year, though, was the i-appli version of Konami's popular Dance Dance
Revolution game. In the arcade version of this game, players actually
stand up and physically dance, gaining points according to the accuracy of
their timing and movements. In the i-appli version, while a ringtone is
playing, players must hit specified buttons on the phone at key points in
the song. If they hit the keys at the right time, they gain points and
essentially play a real-time percussion part. The game is highly
addictive, and has proven a highly popular addition to Konami's game site.
Sometime around the middle of last year, however, a second generation of
music applications for the cellphone began to emerge. Next week, we'll
examine this new wave of musical Java programs, survey the current
offerings, and take a look ahead at what's coming in the way of music
software for the new cellphone models due out later this year.
3G Wireless Special
J@pan Inc magazine invites you to promote your company in our June
2002 issue, which will feature a special advertising section focusing
on wireless technology and 3G.
This year, we're teaming up with Wireless Japan -- the only exhibition
in Japan exclusively focused on wireless technology. The event had
more than 26,000 participants last year and would be an excellent
opportunity for your company to promote its business to people who
For more information, call Fabien Brogard Cipriani at:
firstname.lastname@example.org or 03-3499-2175 x 1709
(Long URLs may break across two lines, so copy to your browser.)
** J-Stream Announces Packet Transfer Service for Music Data
Excerpt: J-Stream Inc., a content-delivery service company, announced last
week that it will begin a new service for digital audio data distribution
by packet transfer this summer. J-Stream currently operates the Pho-dio
service, which provides CTI decoding and distribution of streaming music
data. The new service will distribute audio data via the packet
transmission network for cellular phones, resulting in better audio
quality for cellphone users. Users of the new service may need new
cellphone models that support video content.
** Court Victory For Kazaa
Excerpt: The District Court of Appeals in Amsterdam last week reversed the
November 29th verdict of the District Court of Amsterdam, in which Kazaa
BV was ruled to be liable for copyright infringement. The new ruling was
worded as follows: "Kazaa rightfully appeals the ruling of the District
Court, where it stated that as a preliminary issue Kazaa acts contrary to
copyright law. In so far as any infringing use is being made by the means
of Kazaa, these acts are committed by its users, not by Kazaa."
* Yamaha Unveils New Electronic Violins
Excerpt: On April 20, Yamaha Corp. will debut new two electronic violin
models as part of its family of electronic string instruments, the company
announced last Friday. Yamaha has already released its 'Silent' series
including the Silent Violin, an electric violin that can control volume
for playing at home. Priced from 129,000 yen, the new electronic violin
models are designed to make exact tones, just like real violins, for stage
performances, especially for rock or pop music.
** Matsushita Releases "Sound Window" Speaker
Excerpt: Matsushita announced last week that it has developed a
transparent speaker which can be attached to a glass surface. The speaker
is expected to be used primarily for PDAs, mobile phones, LCD TVs and
other products that have display screens.
SUBSCRIBERS: 541 as of April 3, 2002
Written by Steve Myers (email@example.com)
Steve Myers heads the Theta Group at Layer-8 Technologies, which
specializes in the development of music-related software
Edited by J@pan Inc editors (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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