Sony and Apple collaborating on online store for Japanese iPod users?

iTunes Music Store iTMS Japan

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?

[Thanks, Gary]

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.