MMW-39 -- Yamaha's "Piano Hearts" Site Set to Open in March

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

Issue No. 39
Friday, February 28, 2003


++ FEATURE: Yamaha's "Piano Hearts" Site Set to Open in March

- RealNetworks, Ericsson Collaborate on Mobile Media
- "Honest Thief" Begins Service
- Record Labels Send "Copyright Security Guide" to Companies

++ FEATURE: Yamaha's "Piano Hearts" Site Set to Open in March

Around the middle of last year, we ran a feature which described how
the larger Japanese ringtone providers were starting to turn their
general sites into ringtone portals, divided into various
genre-specific sub-sites. Yamaha was one of the first to offer an
instrument-specific site in the form of "Guitar Hearts," aimed at
guitar fans of all genres. A few weeks ago, Yamaha announced that a
companion site for piano enthusiasts will open next month on their
"Meloccha!" portal.

Just as "Guitar Hearts" features ringtones made especially for guitar
lovers, "Piano Hearts" offers many of the piano classics as well as
piano arrangements of popular songs. In addition, the site includes a
dictionary of more than 1,000 musical terms, information on upcoming
piano-related events and album releases, and an ongoing piano "quiz"
game where users can accumulate points that can be redeemed for free

The most unique feature of the new piano site, however, is a
sheet-music print service whereby users can obtain the printed piano
score for any of the songs on the site at a local convenience store.
Teaming with the popular 24-hour convenience store chain Lawson,
Yamaha is offering the sheet music for 200 yen to 450 yen per song,
depending on the number of pages. In order to get the music, users
must first enter the number of the song they desire into the "Loppi"
information terminal at Lawson. They then receive a ticket from the
terminal which is taken to the register where the finished print of
the sheet music should be waiting.

So what would attract a serious piano enthusiast to this site? For
starters, the songs in the catalog appear to be both well chosen and
extremely well made. "Guitar Hearts" has received quite a bit of
attention from guitar-related publications for the realistic
guitar-type effects found in the songs. No doubt Yamaha is hoping to
duplicate this feat with "Piano Hearts." Second, piano students
looking for new material can quickly check out a large number of
possible pieces (all of which are rated according to difficulty)
without having to find the original recordings on CD or MP3. Finally,
the convenience of being able to buy the sheet music for only the
piece a student wants (rather than a whole book, which might also
contain a lot of less interesting music) soon after hearing the piece
is an attractive selling point.

With the release of "Piano Hearts," Yamaha is continuing to
distinguish its "Meloccha!" site as the "musician's ringtone site."
The company is aggressively targeting users who play some kind of
instrument (which Yamaha just happens to be in the business of making)
or who like to create and experiment with their own music. This is a
smart strategy -- not only does it help to integrate the mobile side
of the business with the instrument-manufacturing side, but it also
sets Yamaha apart from the countless "me too" ringtone sites on the
service menus. Furthermore, Yamaha is one of only a handful of
providers who are using ringtones for the purpose of music education
(another key part of the company's business).

"Piano Hearts" will open officially on March 17. The service costs 200
yen, which allows the user to download up to five songs per month.
Classical pieces can be downloaded free of charge.

-- Steve Myers

"Mobile Jakajan -- A Personal Guitar Tutor for Your Phone," MMW #18

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** RealNetworks, Ericsson Collaborate on Mobile Media

In Brief: It appears that RealNetworks is moving actively into the
mobile space. The company announced last week that it had reached a
non-exclusive agreement with Ericsson whereby Ericsson will
incorporate RealNetworks' technology for audio and video playback into
the components it sells to mobile-phone manufacturers. The combined
technologies will support playback of files in RealAudio, RealVideo,
MPEG-4 and 3GPP formats.


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** "Honest Thief" Begins Service

In Brief: Taking advantage of last year's Dutch appeals court ruling,
which absolved Kazaa of any legal responsibility, a Dutch company
called IPR announced that it will begin offering a new service called
"Honest Thief" in the spring and will also offer legal advice to
others hoping to launch new P2P services. The new service is further
enhancing the Netherlands' reputation as something of a legal haven
for P2P services. Pieter Plass, the company's founder, said he hopes
that "Honest Thief will become to file sharing what the Swiss are to


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** Record Labels Send "Copyright Security Guide" to Companies

In Brief: The RIAA (Record Industry Association of America) and MPAA
(Motion Picture Association of America) have begun targeting Fortune
1,000 corporations in an effort to stop illegal downloading at the
workplace. The group has sent a brochure to many of these companies
called "Copyright Use and Security Guide," which describes the
security risks and legal issues associated with illegal downloads. The
brochure goes on to warn that the record industry is starting to
identify organizations whose computers are used for unauthorized
downloading of music files.


SUBSCRIBERS: 1,201 as of February 28, 2003

Written by: Steve Myers (
Steve Myers heads the Theta Group at Layer-8 Technologies,
which specializes in the development of music-related
software applications.

Edited by J@pan Inc editors: (


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Hello sir or Madam
Please send me the exact site of Yamaha keyboard company located in Japan but in english language.
Thank you very much.