Beyond chaku-mero

In JinJapan’s Trends in Japan section, an interesting article about pay-per-download content for mobile phones Update: new link. Inspired by the succes of the all-around chaku-mero (= karaoke versions of popular songs which are used as ringtones), KDDI recently started offering downloads of so called chaku-uta, more expensive copy-controlled bits of popular songs. The following quote is particularly interesting:

Even if an electronic chaku-mero becomes a popular download, the copyright fees go to the karaoke company that rearranged the song for chaku-mero and the distributor; not a single yen is passed on to the record company that owns the rights to the original song. But since Chaku-uta replicates the sound of the original recording, permission for its use must be acquired, and the record company and artist concerned benefit from the sales as well. Thus, both parties are fairly willing to have their songs used.

Apparently, the author considers the sales model of chaku-uta as an improvement over the chaku-mero business – both the record companies and the artists benefit from the sales… But what about the consumer? OK, he’s got better sound quality (for only a 30 seconds sample), but pays more and receives the data in a DRM-controlled format…

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