Mobile messaging giant Line has introduced a music streaming service in Japan, just weeks ahead of a similar launch by Apple. Unknown to many, Japan boasts the world's second biggest music market.
Messaging app operator Line launched its music streaming service "Line Music" for the domestic market on Thursday, getting a head start in Japan's nascent market for mobile music subscriptions.
According to the country's Recording Industry Association, Japan is the world's second largest music market, estimated to be worth $2.6 billion (2.3 billion euros) in 2014. The US takes the top spot, with its market worth $4.8 billion.
The industry body says revenues from subscription-based mobile music streaming in Japan amounted to a mere 5 million yen ($40,660) in 2014.
Despite its size, Japan's music market is still dominated by CDs, which account for around 80 percent of music sales. Licensing and other legal issues are said to be hampering the digital music market in Japan.
Line Music, will offer unlimited access to a library of more than 1.5 million songs initially for a monthly fee of 1,000 yen ($8.13), or 20 hours of access for half that. The service is available for Android and iPhone users.
The move comes just a couple of weeks before Apple is set to launch its music streaming service "Apple Music" across 100 countries on June 30.
Line is Japan's largest social network with 58 million registered domestic users. Line Music is jointly held by Avex Digital, Sony Music Entertainment and Line Corp, which itself is owned by South Korea's Naver Corp. Universal Music Group is also set to take a stake in Line Music.
ng/hg (Reuters, AFP)