In a move that might entice Japanese salarymen to come home early, Matsushita next April will offer the largest PC-based online karaoke service the Japanese archipelago has ever seen, a company spokeswoman says.
Under the plan, users will be able to dial into the Matsushita's Wonderland home page (http://town.hi-ho.or.jp) and download up to 5000 songs for singing karaoke at home with the help of their PCs.
Though online karaoke is not new to Japan, since many bars and clubs subscribe to commercial online karaoke services, Matsushita claims its service will be Japan's largest service geared toward individual home users, says the spokeswoman.
Through a CD-ROM, users can connect to the service, search songs by title, artist and year, and download songs at a fee of about US$2 a selection, she says. Each selection will take roughly one minute to download over an ordinary telephone line, she says.
Within the first year of the service's launch, Matsushita expects to attract up to 20,000 users, a figure that will likely double in the second year, she says. Matsushita expects the service to generate about US$1.8 million revenue in the second year while the total market size for PC-based online karaoke is expected to grow to 100,000 users this year, up from 40,000 in 1994, she says.