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Napster Japan takes on iTunes

updated 11:40 am EDT, Tue October 3, 2006

Napster Japan launches

Napster today announced it has launched in Japan, which will directly compete against Apple's iTunes Music Store and music-enabled cellular phones. Napster Japan, a joint venture between America's Napster and Tower Records Japan, is set to introduce a service that allows members to download any number of songs from its 1.5 million song collection for $16.80/month, according to Reuters. Napster Japan will also allow users to transfer that music onto compatible music players, and allows consumers to purchase songs without a monthly subscription. "It would have been very difficult for us to enter this market without a local partner," said Napster President Brad Duea. "Japan is a very unique market." Napster Japan's music offering currently consists of roughly 90 percent non-Japanese tracks, but the company hopes to expand the number of local songs available. The new service hopes to lure 1 million subscribers over a three year period with 1 million individual downloads per month by March of 2007.

by MacNN Staff



  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Napster, competition???

    This is kinda funny, but I guess anyone selling music would be labeled 'competition' by the MacNN editors.

    Napster as 'competition' for Apple is a kinda very funny proposition, though.

    "The new service hopes to lure 1 million subscribers over a three year period with 1 million individual downloads per month by March of 2007."

    That'd be quite a trick, and kudos to whoever sweet talked Tower Records into actually believing such numbers to be achievable - considering that Napster in the US barely has a tiny fraction of that number of subscribers and downloads. Even with a diffferent management team, which I would hope Napster Japan has, this will be a challenge for them to achieve, especially considering they are up again 'iPodu'.

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Napster Numbers...

    In the US, Napster subscriber numbers are on the decline (no surprise) and will decline further, I suspect, once Zune is released into the wild.

    Currently, Napster barely holds on to 512,000 subscribers, with countinuing losses year after year.

  1. jarod

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Isn't that cat dead already?

  1. tomodachi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    OMG, beginning of the end

    The almighty Napster teamed up with...... Tower Records?

    Isn't that the record shop that just went bankrupt? ;-)

    (I know Tower Japan is now a completely different company, but I just had to say it)

  1. testudo

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It makes sense

    You sometimes can't figure out why something becomes popular in Japan (hello, kitty, anyone?). So why not? And it probably helps that the ipod isn't as big of a force over there as in the US. However, they might need to make a new player that doubles as some kind of virtual pet/baby.

  1. Deal

    Joined: Dec 1969




    Little school girl "taking on" Evander Holyfield...

  1. ZinkDifferent

    Joined: Dec 1969


    testudo writes...

    ..the usual c***: "And it probably helps that the ipod isn't as big of a force over there as in the US"

    Let's see:

    iPod & iTunes #1 in Japan with 60% marketshare:

    This was a year ago. I would think it hasn't lost any marketshare in that time, but gained it.

    I guess it has:

  1. dbergstrom

    Joined: Dec 1969


    testudo is right

    Lay off the guy. He's right. The iPod is not as much as a force in Japan. I am sitting in my hotel room in Ginza right now, and was in Boston last week, and you see nowhere near as many white earbuds in Tokyo as in Boston.

    iPod may have 60% of the MP3 player market, but most people see are listening to their phones, not an MP3 player. It's a different market.

    It will be interesting if Apple releases a phone for Japan. Phone designs here are considerably different from the US/Europe, with few that I have seen having the "RAZR aesthetic". An iPod phone may be a big hit.

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