Labels Stymie Spotify
The obstacle appears to be reluctance on the part of Japan’s major record labels to have anything to do with a service that provides music, at least to some of its users, for free. According to CMU, in the wake of poorer CD sales in the last year or so, the Japanese arms of Universal and Warner have been lobbying to allow streaming platforms to operate in Japan, though Sony and Avex are still reportedly resisting the movement.
The latter two companies are supposedly working with the very popular messaging app Line to launch a streaming service in Japan “over which the record companies would have some control.” Last week, Line announced that Universal would become a shareholder in its music service, opening the way for Universal’s enormous catalogue to be available to Japanese subscribers when it goes online.
However, as CMU reports, there has been no indication of what Line’s streaming service will look like when it finally does go live. In Thailand, Line’s streaming service requires a monthly fee of less than $2.