Apple very conspicuously launched the iTunes Music Store
in Japan last month without any Sony artists onboard, but the AFP is reporting that the two companies are in
negotiations about launching a new online music download service that would let Japanese iPod users buy tracks from
Sony's Japanese catalog. Sounds like there's something that's either missing from the news report or that got lost in
translation, but you'd think that they'd just figure out a way to add Sony to iTMS, right? Instead it sounds more like
Sony is insisting on a separate service, possibly because they'd like to charge more per download than what iTMS Japan
currently charges for downloads (a single track costs ¥150). Our big questions: Would Sony launch a new online music
store that could be accessed by iPod users but not by
Network Walkman users?
Could Apple handle the compromises inherent in a co-branded download service?
UPDATE: Yup, something got lost in translation. Japan Today is reporting that Sony is negotiating with Apple about licensing its catalog to iTunes. Definitely makes more sense, but they way AFP wrote it up it sounded more like they were planning an entirely new service.