November 17, 2008 / 8:33 AM / 10 years ago

MySpace Japan bets on world demand for J-Pop

Japanese boys surf the net in the cafe in Tokyo, April 19, 2002. . REUTERS/Ruben Sprich

TOKYO (Reuters) - Banking on the global appeal of Japanese pop and video games, social networking site MySpace said it would more than double the number of artists on its Japanese pages to get more clicks internationally.

The growth of new sign-ups and page views is slowing in Japan for rival networking services such as mixi Inc, but Myspace, which launched its Japanese site two years ago, aims to buck the trend by expanding the range of sales artists can make on its site.

This, allied with growing interest in J-Pop music and Japanese video games in other parts of the world, will help the site grow rapidly, said the Japanese head of MySpace, which is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp.

“Until now, Japanese artists catered primarily to the home market, but the home market is no longer big enough,” MySpace Japan CEO Atsushi Taira said in an interview with Reuters. “Demand for Japanese music and games is strong abroad, and we are now uniquely positioned to clear barriers posed by language.”

The number of artists that have registered with the Japanese version of MySpace has doubled in the last six months to a little under 90,000 people, Taira said.

“I think we can easily double that in a year’s time,” as more artists use MySpace to sell their music and T-shirts next year, he said. “Once we have a large group of artists using MySpace, the content will win more fans and other users.”

MySpace recently went into business with music labels such as Sony BMG Music, Universal Music Group and Warner Music Group that allows users of the website to stream and download music, grab ringtones and buy concert tickets.

The service will be available in Japanese next year.

Popularity of social networking sites is waning in Japan, where they are often used to reinforce existing friendships, rather than to expand networks, according to market research firm Synovate, which conducted a poll in October that found 55 percent of Japanese users saying they were losing interest.

Editing by Miral Fahmy

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