Warner Music Japan to test 'Net music waters

Entertainment giant Warner Music Japan will set up a strategy committee soon to consider how to launch at least of part of its vast repository of music online by the end of the year.

Entertainment giant Warner Music Japan will set up a strategy committee this fall to consider how to launch at least of part of its vast repository of music online, a company spokesman said here yesterday.

"Packaged music sold in stores will continue to be our main business, and at the same time we will start to do more on the 'Net," said Warner spokesman Seiichi Inoue [CQ].

He emphasised that Warner has not yet worked out the details of its Internet strategy, but will initially focus on bringing lesser known artists to the 'Net. The company hopes to have its system to sell online songs up and running by the end of the year, Inoue said.

While Japan has been somewhat slow to embrace the Internet music craze compared to the US, a flurry of announcements over the past few months suggest that local music companies and electronics vendors here are finally feeling the lure of the money to be made online.

Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) I, the largest record producer in Japan and a division of electronics maker Sony, announced earlier this month that it will begin selling music over the Internet by the end of this year.

Another of Japan's major entertainment companies, Victor of Japan Ltd. (JVC), earlier this year said that it will work with telecom carrier Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) to develop a satellite-based system to download music from special terminals in kiosks.

Warner Music Japan can be reached in Tokyo at +81-3-5412-3111 or on the World Wide Web at http://www.warnermusic.co.jp/.

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