Japan in Multifaceted Launch and Trans Cosmos Inc., Wednesday launched Listen Japan KK, a search and directory service for legal online music in Japan.

Trans Cosmos Inc. is a Japanese Internet business development and joint venture firm.

Listen Japan features links to downloadable and streaming tracks from a multiplicity of artists, including links to free music files. The audience for the new service is substantial: Japan will have more than 26 million Internet users by the end of this year, making its Internet audience second in size only to that of the United States.

At launch, Listen Japan’s site features:

  • A database of more 65,000 Japanese and Western music artists and over 500,000 songs
  • Japanese and Western music genres that span Rock to Classical to Japanese traditional Enka
  • Reviews written by Listen Japan’s music editorial staff
  • An “other recommended artists” designation, as determined by the Listen Japan editors, to make it easier for music fans to discover new artists
  • Music software and hardware guides for people who are new to the world of music downloading and streaming
  • Community-building features such as member comments and voting along with personalization features via Listen Japan’s My Page, where favorite genres and artists can be saved.

In addition to being a source for legally downloadable music, Listen Japan is designed to be a promotional tool for record labels and production companies. Already, the company has announced relationships with twelve Japanese record labels and online music sites. All of these companies will work with Listen Japan to facilitate reviews by Listen Japan editors of the artists that have music on their sites, as well as the inclusion of the artists in Listen Japan’s directory. The deals also open the door for cross-promotional opportunities with Listen Japan.

Listen Japan also announced partnerships with two other companies in the music space: J-Wave and Tower Records. Listen Japan and J-Wave will work together to build a co-branded section of the J-wave Web site so visitors to the site can access and listen to music online. The partnership with Tower Records will allow users to purchase CDs from Tower’s online site as an alternative to downloading or streaming the music.

As a preview of future partnerships, Listen Japan also announced a deal with Macromedia’s K.K., a multimedia portal site that will launch in Japan later this year. Listen Japan will power the online music directory portion of the shockwave K.K. site.

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