JAPAN: Onkyo signs up Warner Music and starts DRM-free hi-res downloads

Onkyo has signed up Warner Music Japan for its e-Onkyo music download service, available in Japan and with ambitions to expand worldwide.

From this weekend, 500 tracks from the label's foreign artists – the likes of Yes, Steely Dan, Talking Heads and Miles Davis – are available in either 24-bit/96kHz or 24-bit/192kHz resolution, with that number expected to rise to 2000 tracks during August.

The tracks will be available free from DRM copy-management, allowing them to be transferred to mobile phones, tablets and the like after download. Prices are around ¥2500 (£20) per album, or about the same price as a conventional CD in Japan.

As we reported a couple of months ago, Onkyo is hopeful that the e-Onkyo service will be expanded outside Japan, and will be able to offer downloads in formats including 24/96, 24/192, DSD and Dolby True HD to a variety of markets.

For Japanese labels, such moves come ahead of a toughening-up of copyright laws, which will fine Japanese consumers downloading pirated content. It's thought that the new regulations will reduce piracy, thus enabling them to relax copy-protection on content available for download.

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Andrew has written about audio and video products for the past 20+ years, and been a consumer journalist for more than 30 years, starting his career on camera magazines. Andrew has contributed to titles including What Hi-Fi?, GramophoneJazzwise and Hi-Fi CriticHi-Fi News & Record Review and Hi-Fi Choice. I’ve also written for a number of non-specialist and overseas magazines.