One of Asia’s largest mobile messaging companies has decided to launch its own music streaming service.
Although Line is relatively unknown in Western Europe, the service has in excess of 50 million users in its native Japan and more than 600 million worldwide.
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Line has decided to use its significant install base to push its music service, which launches in Japan today. CDs currently account for 80 per cent of total music sales in Japan, so there is huge potential for an online streaming company, if they can navigate potential music rights issues.
Line Music will have 1.5 million songs available initially and set users back 1,000 yen (£5.20) a month for unlimited access and 500 yen for 20 hours of music. The platform is available to Android and iPhone users and will be offered free-of-charge for the first two months of use.
The service is owned by Line Corp, Sony Music and Avex Digital, while Universal Music Group is expected to invest in the company at a later date. This is likely to see its music library expand, with plans to have more than 5 million songs available by the end of the year and 30 million in 2016.
Although Spotify is the most popular music streaming service worldwide, it does have a number of competitors, including Deezer and Rdio. Earlier this week, Apple confirmed it will be entering the market with its own Apple Music service, which will be available to consumers at the end of this month for $9.99 a month.
The digital music market may be in steady decline in Japan, but if Line can capitalise on the popularity of its messaging app, then there’s certainly a possibility that its music streaming platform could see success. Reuters reports that although the Japanese digital music industry was worth approximately $1 billion in 2009, it has shrunk this year to just $350 million.