[UPDATED] Sony Music will use Rhapsody's "Powered By Napster" platform to launch the first high resolution streaming music service in Japan. The move by Sony Music Entertainment Japan makes Sony the first major label to directly challenge Spotify, Apple Music and others with their own music streaming service.
Music will be sourced from multiple lables and distributors, as well as Sony.
Rhapsody International's “Powered By Napster” technology, which includes streaming and downloads, allows Sony to launch a music service quickly without an acquisition or major investment in technology.
Japan has been slow to adopt paid streaming. While almost 50% of Japanese use YouTube to listen to music, a September 2018 survey showed that only 11.2% said they would pay for music streaming. 44.5% of Japanese who knew about music streaming services said they would never use them.
Subscriptions to the new Sony service, dubbed mora qualitas, are 1,980 Yen/$17.57 USD per month for lossless FLAC at a 24-bit/44.1-96khz (Hi-Resolution)/ 16-bit/44.1khz (CD quality). It is available for Windows and Macintosh desktop at launch, with many other platforms to follow.
“There is a lot of momentum happening in streaming and it’s going to keep getting better for consumers and artists with the introduction of mora qualitas, our new global on-demand audio service,” said Shigeki Tanaka, Senior Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan). “Napster’s deep expertise in high resolution audio streaming and industry experience made them the clear choice to partner with us in launching Japan’s new premier service.”
“Our partnership with Sony Music Entertainment Japan offers the ultimate experience for audio enthusiasts in Japan as they no longer have to choose between a streaming service and high quality audio. With mora qualitas, fans can now have both for the very first time,” said Brian Ringer, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific Region of Rhapsody. “We are committed to accelerating the growth of streaming on a global scale by helping new services like mora qualitas launch quickly as well as enhancing existing services.”