LINE Launches Paid Music Streaming Service in Japan

12 Jun

Instant messaging app LINE unveiled its plan to introduce music streaming service nearly two years ago but the plan had yet to be realized, until June 11. LINE Music was officially launched in Japan to bring music to its messaging users for a whole new experience. The timing, though, is a bit sensitive to some, as Apple just introduced Apple Music, with a scheduled release date on June 30.

LINE Music Corp. was jointly established Dec. 11, 2014 by LINE Corp., Avex Digital and Sony Music Entertainment. According to its official website, Universal Music also plans to take a stake in the venture.

LINE Music supports both iOS and Android systems and there are two subscriptions to choose from. For 500 yen (US$4.05), users can tune in for 20 hours in 30 days, with an extra 300 yen per extra 10 hours used. For 1,000 yen, users can enjoy unlimited access to the service. LINE is currently offering a two-month free trial for users.

Users will be able to share songs and playlists in its LINE Music via the LINE Music app or LINE messaging app. Non-paying members will be able to listen to a 30-second streaming preview of the songs they receive from paying users. LINE Music is also scheduled to set up official accounts for artists, which will provide more information regarding the artists and their songs.

LINE Music will first be available in Japan and Thailand. The release dates for other countries have not been revealed. LINE Music currently has 1.5 million tracks and plans to increase to 30 million tracks by 2016.

However, price wise, LINE Music does not seem to be so much of a deal. Spotify has a library of 30 million tracks and charges just NT$149 (US$4.82) a month, while the upcoming Apple Music has 37 million tracks with almost the same price.

The industry will continue to watch user responses. Whether LINE Music has the strength to keep up with its rivals is another key to watch for.

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