Yahoo Japan Offers Free Streaming Music to Market Downloads
Yahoo Japan, possibly feeling the heat from Apple’s iTunes Japan success, has started an online streaming audio service which lets Yahoo Japan users listen to entire songs for no cost. Users then have the option to purchase the songs via Yahoo Japan after listening. Yahoo Japan, Japan’s largest and most popular web portal, is using the free streaming music as a marketing gimmick to sell more downloadable music and CD’s over Yahoo Japan. Given Apple iTunes Japan’s million downloads in four days, Yahoo Japan is leveraging its existing user loyalty and communication networks to secure its share of the music download market.
One aspect of the success of Apple iTunes Japan is its price point of 150 yen for all music downloads. Yahoo Japan charges 210 yen per song which is on the Japan pop music charts and 150 yen per older song. According to a Yahoo Japan spokesperson “Yahoo would be the first company to allow customers to listen to certain songs for free before they decide to buy the music. Existing services only allow customers to listen to song samples of about 30 seconds.”
Besides Apple’s Japan iTunes opening, Yahoo Japan music download competition includes Sony owned Mora (Japan’s most popular music downoad service), Oricon, Excite Japan, and Tower Records Japan. Softbank owned Yahoo Japan is one of the most successful and popular Internet companies to expand from the states into a difficult market to break. Japan’s Yahoo Broadband (known as Yahoo BB) is synonymous with the terms DSL or ADSL (as Google is synonymous with search in the US). Yahoo Japan Shopping has taken great strides to offer their services over the preferred version of Japanese Internet – mobile iMode. Yahoo Japan has also used the Japanese market to introduce blogs, earthquake info centers, and Japan’s largest online auction service.
Softbank, the parent company of Yahoo Japan is the largest owner of Yahoo properties outside of the Yahoo company. Softbank is also a major owner of Yahoo Europe and Yahoo Korea, with majority interest in Alibaba.com and Yahoo China.