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Studio-backed Japanese venture to stream anime music

Flat-rate service seeks to fill niche poorly served by the Western names

TOKYO -- A 10-member consortium including Japanese recording, motion picture and video game studios will launch a streaming service specializing in anime music this month, hoping to go international within the year.

A monthly 600 yen (roughly $5) fee will let members enjoy their favorite theme songs anywhere, anytime on such devices as smartphones.

Music-streaming leaders Spotify, Apple and Google handle tens of millions of songs from around the world, but relatively little from anime soundtracks.

The Japanese group's new service will offer more than 50,000 anime tracks from the 1970s to today, including popular ones from such properties as "Mobile Suit Gundam," "Macross" and "Attack on Titan."

They hope to register 100,000 members within the first fiscal year by offering background music from animated works and video games as well. They are also thinking about launching the service in foreign markets with significant anime fan bases, such as the U.S. and Asia outside Japan.

Participants in the venture will include Bandai Namco Holdings unit Lantis, JVCKenwood Victor Entertainment unit FlyingDog, publisher Kadokawa, movie studio Toho, game developer Marvelous and media producer Pony Canyon. The roughly 50 music providers will include Avex Digital. Should ongoing negotiations with Sony Music Entertainment and King Record succeed, all of Japan's major providers of anime music would be covered. Online music distributor RecoChoku will operate the service.

Such features as advance concert ticket sales and limited-edition songs may also be included. The companies hope to use music streaming to interact with fans and gather such marketing data as how many times a song has been played.


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