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Sony Japan to sell music over the ‘Net

Country's first music company to announce Internet distribution

TOKYO — Sony Music Entertainment Japan said Friday that it intends to set up a retail music distribution system over the Internet by the end of this year.

Sony Music Japan, a division of Sony Corp., is the first music company in Japan to announce an Internet distribution system. It follows a move the company made earlier this year when it set up a sales system over a direct-to-home satellite broadcasting system.

Music that would be sold over the Internet system would come from domestic artists signed to Sony Music.

The company has not decided on a price for a single, but most expect it to range from 200 to 500 yen ($1.70 to $4.40), less expensive than one sold in stores.

A spokesman said the pricing would be set up in a way that would allow artists to receive the same royalties from an Internet sale as a CD single sale.

“We have not decided if we will use the same Internet distribution system that Sony Music has in the United States,” the spokesman said.

Sony Music Japan is still studying various encryption, payment and compression systems for its Japanese Internet sales operation.

In April, Sony Music Japan launched a music distribution system on the DTS broadcaster Sky PerfecTV (Sony is a main investor) in which subscribers can buy the latest tunes via their set-top boxes.

Subscribers can download digital music to minidisc players or other digital recording equipment using a Sony set top box, company officials said.

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