MMW-59 -- NTT's New Music Recognition System

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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
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Issue No. 59
Tuesday, March 30, 2004
Tokyo

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CONTENTS

++ FEATURE: NTT's New Music Recognition System

++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS:
** Yamaha Offers Online Group Keyboard Lessons
** Sony Music Entertainment Launches Real Music Tone Service
** New Ringtone Composer Software Released for BREW Phones

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++ FEATURE: NTT's New Music Recognition System

In previous MMW issues, we've featured developments in music-
recognition technology, focusing on systems developed by Gracenote and
Shazam Entertainment. Last week, NTT announced that it has developed
its own music-recognition technology and has built a prototype system
to demonstrate its capability. The company is now in the process of
creating a new mobile service based on the system.

Recall that music-recognition systems work by comparing a sample of
analog sound-wave data against a database of stored samples, looking
for a "match" in the wave patterns. The trick is to find clever ways
of detecting the unique digital sound features of a song (also known
as its "digital thumbprint") in order to minimize the size of the
stored samples and the time required to search the database.

These systems are beginning to show up in an increasing number of
products and services. With its acquisition of Cantametrix in 2002,
Gracenote added wave-recognition capability to its well-known CDDB
database of music meta-data such as artist and title information.
UK-based Shazam Entertainment started a mobile service for song
identification called "2580" last year, and Mobiquid has a variety of
recognition services for the French market.

NTT, however is the first company to announce definite plans for a
Japanese service. Aimed at users of 3G mobile phones, NTT's system
will allow users to search for the title of a song by holding their
phone up to an analog audio source such as a home or car stereo. NTT
plans to partner with other content providers to offer related
content, such as the ringtone or chaku-uta (master tone) for the song.

The big question regarding NTT's upcoming service is "How reliably can
it identify these songs?" A common complaint about the current
generation of music-recognition systems is that songs are often unable
to be identified, or worse, mis-identified. For now, the company is
claiming an accuracy rate of 90 percent for popular songs, but it did
not give any information about how its tests were conducted.

NTT says its service will launch by the end of this year but has not
yet divulged any details. It will be interesting to see how a mobile
music-recognition service fares in Japan, and also if NTT has any
competitors by the time it launches. Several other companies, in Japan
and abroad, have talked about starting a music-recognition service
here, but so far no competing systems have been announced. This is one
area we'll be watching closely over the coming months.

-- Steve Myers

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++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS

** Yamaha Offers Online Group Keyboard Lessons

In brief: On March 25, Yamaha began a trial program in Japan to offer
group keyboard lessons over the Internet. Called "Net Group Lesson,"
the online lessons are aimed at beginners, and the class size is
limited to 10 people per lesson. Instruction is given in real time via
streaming video and MIDI. Students can see and hear a sample
performance played on their own keyboard and can interact with the
instructor via chat and email. The trial program will feature one
lesson per month for six months.

Source (Japanese only):
http://www.yamaha.co.jp/news/2004/04032201.html

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** Sony Music Entertainment Launches Real Music-Tone Service

In brief: Sony Music Entertainment and Verizon Wireless announced last
week the launch of the first real music-tone site for Verizon's
platform. Called Sony Music Box, the new service features music clips
from original sound recordings (music tones), digital voice tones and
polyphonic ringtones. The service is available on several Verizon
Wireless phones, including the LG VX6000, LG VX4400, Motorola T720,
Motorola T730 and the Samsung SCH-a530.

Source:
http://news.vzw.com/news/2004/03/pr2004-03-24b.html

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** New Ringtone Composer Software Released for BREW Phones

In brief: Waymobile.com announced the release last week of a new MIDI
ringtone composer application for Qualcomm's BREW platform. The
application, called ToneSession, allows users to create single music
tracks or multiple tracks that can be combined to make original
ringtones.

Source:
http://biz.yahoo.com/prnews/040322/lam051_1.html

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STAFF
Written by: Steve Myers (steve@thetamusic.com)
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: (editors@japaninc.com)

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