MMW-64 -- Japanese Mobile Music Providers Continue Overseas Expansion

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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 Japan's music technology news
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Issue No. 64
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
Tokyo

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[*We are redistributing this week's Music Media Watch to correct an
error in the earlier mailing: the wrong text was posted. We
sincerely apologize for the double mailing this week.]

CONTENTS

++ FEATURE: Japanese Mobile Music Providers Continue Overseas Expansion

++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS:
** Sanyo Develops Single-chip FM Tuner For Mobile Phones
** Columbia Starts "National Anthem" Chaku-uta Service
** Dwango, Tower Records Announce Mobile Tie-up

++ EVENT: PremiumMusic Fair

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++ FEATURE: Japanese Mobile Music Providers Continue Overseas Expansion

Beginning with the launch of i-mode in Europe over two years ago,
Japanese ringtone providers have been looking increasingly to foreign
carriers as a way to expand their ringtone and mastertone business. Some
providers have expanded by partnering with or acquiring local companies,
while others have set up their own foreign subsidiaries. This summer
has seen a whole new wave of overseas expansion by Japanese music
providers hoping to leverage their large catalogs and ringtone creation
expertise.

Here are summaries of a few recent announcements made by these Japanese
companies and/or their subsidiaries:

1. Faith Inc. - The company that makes DoCoMo's ringtone file format
has announced it will partner with local carriers to offer ringtone
download services in Singapore, Malaysia and the Phillipines. Faith's
US subsidiary operates the top-ranked ringtone service on Verizon
Wireless in the US.

2. Kanematsu - Has recently introduced distribution services in more
than 10 Latin American countries, including Argentina, Columbia and
Mexico, and plans to develop a similar service in China by the end
of the year.

3. For-side.com - Hoping to capitalize on the current 'health boom'
sweeping South Korea, For-side has recently started a Korean MMS
service called "Well-Being" that combines ringtones with health
advice. The company has also been on a bit of a spending spree lately,
buying up not just one but two US companies: Zingy and
Vindigo. In addition, For-side's UK subsidiary has also recently
paid 8 million euros to acquire 4.5 percent of London-based
iTouch.

4. Index - Earlier this month, the company's European subsidiary,
Index Europe, announced that it would acquire 66.65 percent of
French mobile content provider 123 Multimedia. In June, Index
Europe also launched a ringtone service and two other mobile
services on the new Greek i-mode carrier Cosmote.

Although revenue from overseas ringtone services has yet to come
anywhere close to that of their Japanese counterparts, several
foreign markets have nonetheless shown strong growth potential.
By establishing themselves early, Japanese providers are not only
positioning themselves well for the future, they are also able
to sell existing content (such as 4- and 16-poly tones) that is
now outdated in Japan.

This recent spate of overseas expansion activity represents the
latest in a trend we've been covering since 2002. While some
Japanese providers seem content to focus only on the domestic
market, others such as Yamaha and the companies mentioned above
continue to push the envelope in taking their mobile music content
to the rest of the world. With new opportunities emerging
constantly (i-mode will soon be launching in Australia under Telstra),
expect to see more moves from these firms in the coming
months.

============ LOCALIZATION SURVEY ===============

Japan Inc. magazine is developing a story (for its October
issue) on the localization and translation needs of foreign
companies in Japan. We invite you to fill out the survey,
and help us get the data needed to analyze the market.

To provide some incentive, Okamura Corporation has donated
a FEEGO chair as prize to one lucky respondent.

http://www.japaninc.com/contest/

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++ NOTEWORTHY NEWS

** Sanyo Develops Single-chip FM Tuner For Mobile Phones

In brief: Sanyo Electric announced earlier this month that it will
release a new IC that integrates all the different parts of an FM
receiver circuit onto a single chip. The new IC eliminates the need
for external parts and is intended for use in mobile phones. Sanyo
says the chip will be available by the end of August.

Source:
http://neasia.nikkeibp.com/wcs/leaf/CID/onair/asabt/news/324011

** Columbia Starts "National Anthem" Chaku-uta Service

In brief: Columbia Music Entertainment announced it would launch a
"national anthem" chaku-uta (mastertone) service on DoCoMo's i-mode
portal starting on August 13. The service features mastertone
renditions of the national anthems of 76 different countries, priced
at about US$0.95/song.

Source (Japanese only):
http://k-tai.impress.co.jp/cda/article/news_toppage/20148.html

** Dwango, Tower Records Announce Mobile Tie-up

In brief: Mobile music content provider Dwango announced two weeks
ago that it has reached an agreement with Tower Records whereby
Dwango will take over development and management of Tower Record's
mobile services. As part of the deal, Dwango will also buy 10
percent of Tower Record's stock.

Source (Japanese only):
http://www.mainichi-msn.co.jp/it/mobile/news/20040811org00m300115000c.html

++ EVENT: PremiumMusic Fair

The PremiumMusic Fair will take place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 2 at
Potsdammer Platz in Berlin. This fair aims to to bring together
exhibitors (indie labels, producers, repertoire owners) with music
content providers and others who need music. The PremiumMusic fair
is organized in a similar way to a fashion fair, with no presentation
booths and an emphasis on communication and networking.

More information:
http://premiumusic.com

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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 editor: (editors@japaninc.com)

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