Japan's Line Messaging Service Gets into the Music Streaming Business

Japan's Line Messaging Service Gets into the Music Streaming Business
While streaming services are booming in North America, the market is still relatively uncluttered in Japan, where other companies like Spotify, Pandora and Rdio are not yet available. That looks to be changing, however, as a new service called Line Music has just launched.

The streaming platform is a spinoff of Line, a messaging app that's popular in Japan. It's free for the first two months, and after that, subscribers will have to pay ¥1,000 ($10 CAD) for unlimited access or ¥500 ($5 CAD). Labels like Universal, Sony and Japan's own Avex Group are on board, and the catalogue is 1.5 million songs strong. It's available for iOS and Android.

The service is integrated with the messaging app and users can follow artists on Line and receive curated playlists. Users can also share music with their friends.

Line has indicated [via TechCrunch] that it plans to expand and will introduce a web-based version for PC. There's currently no word regarding a global expansion. For now, the company is planning to expand its catalogue.

Part of the reason that Japan is late into the streaming business is that foreign companies have struggled with the country's laws for music rights. CDs are still the dominant medium in Japan. But the times finally seem to be changing, since Line Music follows the recent launch of Avex Group's streaming service Awa.