MMW-106 -- FEATURE: KDDI Set To Launch Digital Radio Service

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

Issue No. 106
Friday December 8, 2006
Subscribers: 4,852 as of December 8, 2006



++ FEATURE: KDDI Set To Launch Digital Radio Service

++ EVENT: MidemNet Forum - The World's Forum For Digital
Music (Cannes, France, January 21-25 2007)

** RIAJ releases Q3 report
** JASRAC issues second complaint to YouTube
** KLab launches new lyrics site
** KDDI's expansion in ringbacktone service
** HMV Japan to start new mobile site for music fans
** Khronos releases new podcast on OpenSL ES

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++ FEATURE: KDDI Set To Launch Digital Radio Service

For the last four years now, KDDI/au has been setting the
pace in Japan for mobile music services, launching the first
mastertone service on its in 2002 and the first full-song
download service two years later. The company has recorded
a total of over 38 billion mastertone downloads and 78
million full-song over-the-air downloads. They have also
achieved impressive handset sales, with more than 22.8
million mastertone-capable and 10.4 million full-song-capable
KDDI mobile phones sold in Japan.

At a recent press conference in Tokyo, the wireless operator
raised the bar yet again - unveiling plans for its upcoming
digital radio launch and introducing the latest incarnation
of its LISMO! music service.

In addition to music, KDDI's digital radio service will
feature visuals and text information. Music will be streamed
in CD-quality HE-AAC format (at a bit rate of 64kbps to 96
kbps), and of course users will have a 'one-click' option
to download the track that's currently playing. Tokyo FM
began its digital broadcasts on December 1, and the first
handset to support the digital radio service - the Sony
Ericsson W44S - is set to go on sale here in the next few

Tokyo FM is starting with two digital channels - the
'Agressive Lifestyle' channel for its younger audience,
and the 'High Quality' channel for the 30-and-over crowd.
Not surprisingly, the Agressive Lifestyle channel features
programs oriented toward rock and J-Pop music, with titles
such as 'Rock Train' and 'Hits of J-Pop'. The High Quality
channel, meanwhile, leans more toward world music and jazz,
with programs such as 'Jazz Life' and 'Hits of the World'.

Most of the programs are 1-2 hours in length, and feature
well-known radio and TV personalities. 'Premium DJ Zone'
on the High Quality channel, for example, features Peter
Barakan, a British music critic and DJ who is known in Japan
for introducing a wide range of blues and roots music on his
analog FM radio programs.

In addition to the digital radio service, KDDI also announced
enhancements to its LISMO! music service, which seeks to
integrate mobile and online downloads with an iTunes-like PC
application called au Music Port for managing digital content.
The biggest development is an expansion of the chaku-uta full
format for full-song downloads to include video clips.
Starting with three handsets including the digital
radio-capable W44S, new KDDI phones will be capable of
playing high-quality QVGA video along with the full-song
audio tracks.

There will also be a new version of the file management
software. au Music Port 3.0 features an improved user
interface and capability for importing different file
formats, including AAC, WMA and WAV. The software also
allows backup files of the video clip downloads to be
saved on the PC.

While these announcements are impressive, there is still
some concern over whether the new digital radio service
will be fully ready in time for the upcoming release of
the W44S handset. IT Media reported this week that on the
first day of digital broadcasting, Tokyo FM discovered a
problem in its system that prevented it from sending all
of the data for several or the programs. The station
acknowledged the problem, but said it was unable to determine
the cause.

So with KDDI's first digital radio-capable handset set to
go on sale any time now, the pressure is on over at KDDI
to get the remaining system kinks worked out before the
phones it the stores and there is suddenly an expectant
audience tuning in to the Tokyo FM programs.

++ EVENT: MidemNet Forum - The World's Forum For Digital Music

January 20-21 2007 - Cannes - France - at MIDEM, the world's
music market. Join over 1,200 international business leaders
to network and exchange digital music knowledge including:, Miles Flint (Sony Ericsson), Martin Bandier
(EMI Publishing), and Chris Anderson (Wired). Register
before December 19 and save 20%. Hurry, the event was
sold out in 2006. | midem |
tel. : 1 (0)212 284 5130


** RIAJ releases Q3 report
In brief: RIAJ (Record Industry Association of Japan) released
a report on digital music distribution for the third quarter
(July-September) 2006. There was a steady 36% increase in
mobile download sales over the same period last year,
resulting in over JPY12 billion (US$100 million) of
total sales. Full-song downloads showed a 101% while
chaku-uta (mastertones) recorded a 17% rise.

** JASRAC issues second complaint to YouTube
The Japan Society for Rights of Authors Composers and
Publishers (JASRAC) has requested that video-sharing
site YouTube install a filter that would prevent copyrighted
material from being uploaded to the service. YouTube deleted
roughly 30,000 files after receiving a complaint about
copyright infringement from JASRAC last month, but the
Japanese group sent a letter on Monday explaining that
the problem persists, and the current system is 'not
functioning well due to the large volume of illegal uploads.'

** KLab launches new lyrics site
In brief: Klab and Interrise have started a new site for
song lyrics. 'Uta-Map' is accessible by PC or mobile phone.
The service allows users to search for and download song
lyrics, as well as post messages and even their own lyrics.
The catalog covers lyrics for over 300,000 songs, mainly
from the J-Pop, enka and anime genres.

** KDDI's expansion in ringbacktone service
In brief: KDDI and Okinawa Cellular will expand their
'machi-uta' ringbacktone service. Currently KDDI
ringbacktones can be heard by incoming callers using au,
NTT DoCoMo, Tukar, SoftBank, and KDDI fixed-line phones.
Starting December 15, NTT East, NTT West, and NTT
Communications will join the service, allowing callers
using fixed-line phones from these carriers to hear KDDI
ringbacktones. The service costs au users on KDDI 105 yen
(US$0.90) per month.

** HMV Japan to start new mobile site for music fans
In brief: HMV Japan announced last week that it is starting
a new mobile blog site for fans to post their opinions
about music and movies. The new service, which will be
free, is called 'Hear My Voice', and will start in
December. HMV Japan says it aims to acquire 500,000
subscribers within two years.

** Khronos releases new podcast on OpenSL ES
In brief: Khronos has produced a new podcast featuring
technical information about Open SL ES (Open Sound Library
for Embedded Systems). OpenSL ES is a cross-platform
foundation for audio on mobile devices with support for
interactive sound for games, streaming audio, music mixers
and ringtones. It offers a common API, with support for
current standards, as well as hardware-accelerated support
for higher-level audio APIs such as OpenAL.

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.
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