Sony Music has officially launched its on-demand, high resolution music streaming service called Mora Qualitas in Japan.
The service, originally announced in December 2018, allows subscribers to stream FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files at a standard of 24-bit/96kHz (Hi-Resolution)/ 16-bit/44.1kHz (CD quality).
The service has been created via a partnership between Sony Music Entertainment Japan (SMEJ) and Napster.
The official launch of Mora Qualitas closely follows the arrival Amazon Music HD in Japan, with the move by SMEJ making it the first major label to directly rival the likes of Spotify and Amazon Music with its own music streaming service in the country.
SMEJ’s biggest challenge however, will be convincing customers in Japan to sign up the new service.
Priced at 1,980 Yen a month (approximately $18.20), a subscription to Mora Qualitas is significantly more expensive than Spotify, which launched in Japan in 2016.
A Premium monthly Spotify subscription in Japan costs 980 Yen, which currently exchanges at around $9, around half the price of a Mora Qualitas subscription – although the latter is obviously being marketed on the basis of being a more premium audio experience.
An Amazon Prime membership in Japan, which includes music streaming access to 2 million songs, costs 500 Yen ($4.60) a month.
An Amazon Music HD subscription, which offers 50 million lossless HD songs, costs 1,980 yen and 1,780 yen ($16.30) per month for non Amazon Prime members and existing prime members respectively.
Mora Qualitas has been launched in partnership with Rhapsody International, whose ‘Powered by Napster’ platform provides SMEJ’s service with media streaming and download infrastructure, applications, personalization, recommendations, rights management, customer billing and royalty calculation capabilities.
Subscribers will be able to access music from Universal Music Japan, Warner Music Japan, Victor Entertainment and more in addition to Sony Music Entertainment Japan’s stable of global artists.
According to the IFPI’s Global Music Report 2019, music revenue in Japan saw an increase of 3.4% in 2018.
This increase is owed to streaming, which saw 32.6% growth over the year, driven by local pop acts such as Hikaru Utada and Yumi Matsutoya among others.
SMEJ Senior Vice President Shigeki Tanaka says that the company is “in tune with what [its] customers want from their streaming audio provider” in Japan, with the new music streaming service building on the success of SMEJ’s original high res download service Mora.
“Sony is taking high resolution sound quality to new heights.”
Shigeki Tanaka, Sony Music Entertainment (Japan)
“The world of streaming is accelerating and as great companies like Sony Music Entertainment Japan expand into streaming audio, it’s an exciting time for the industry overall,” said Brian Ringer, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Asia Pacific Region of Rhapsody.
“With the introduction of mora qualitas, music and audio fans in Japan can easily stream their favorite music in high resolution audio.”
“The world of streaming is accelerating and as great companies like Sony Music Entertainment Japan expand into streaming audio, it’s an exciting time for the industry overall.”
Brian Ringer, Rhapsody
Shigeki Tanaka, Senior Vice President of Sony Music Entertainment (Japan) Inc. added: “Sony is taking high resolution sound quality to new heights.
“We’re building on the success of Mora, our original high res download service in Japan, and after six years we’re in tune with what our customers want from their streaming audio provider.
“We chose Napster as our trusted partner because they have the global music experience, sophisticated API and passion to help us launch Japan’s new premier service.”Music Business Worldwide