MySpace Japan Launches

Noel Gallagher and Gem Archer of Oasis played an hour-long semi-acoustic set at a Tokyo club on November 15th to publicize MySpace Japan, a Japanese language version of the famous social-networking Web site that launched November 7th.

The audience was made up of MySpace members who had entered a contest for tickets.

Since 2005, MySpace, which boasts about 133 million members worldwide, has been owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation, which cut a deal with Japan’s telecommunications powerhouse SoftBank to create a local site. MySpace’s biggest competition in Japan is Mixi, a local social-networking site with 6 million members.

According to a recent article in The Japan Times, MySpace Japan will try to capitalize on MySpace’s wealth of international music artists and record labels, who use the site to promote their wares – something Mixi, which emphasizes small groups of like-minded users, doesn’t have access to.

However, because of Japan’s strict usage laws, streaming and downloading may be more difficult for Japanese users. For that reason and the fact that Japanese record companies keep a tight hold on their charges, it may not be as easy to get Japanese artists to participate in MySpace Japan.

Another obstacle is Japanese consumers’ preference for downloading songs on their cell phones. MySpace Japan has yet to develop a protocol for cell phones, but a representative told The Japan Times that it is now developing one. SoftBank happens to be one of Japan’s three main mobile telephone carriers.

— Philip Brasor