NTT DoCoMo will acquire a 42 per cent stake in Tower Records Japan as part of an alliance to jointly generate business through NTT DoCoMo's mobile network, the companies said Monday.
NTT DoCoMo will pay $108 million for its stake in the major music retailer.
At first the deal will see Tower Records sign on to NTT DoCoMo's new credit payment service, which is expected to be officially launched later this week. NTT DoCoMo customers will be able to pay for music at Tower Records retail outlets with their cell phones under the service, trials of which are due to begin in the next few months, said Hiroyuki Fushitani, president and CEO of Tower Records Japan, at a Tokyo news conference.
The credit service uses NTT DoCoMo's "Osaifu Keitai" (mobile wallet) platform, which is based on a noncontact smart card embedded in new cell phones.
The companies will also explore using NTT DoCoMo's new "ToruCa" information capture service to provide information on music and artists from Tower Records stores to compatible cell phones.
Tower Records entered Japan in 1979 and gained independence from its US parent in 2002 through a management buy-out. It operates almost 80 stores across Japan.
In mid-October Tower Records formed a joint-venture with Napster to pursue the music download market in Japan. The Napster service won't be affected by the NTT DoCoMo deal and is scheduled to begin in the first half of next year, Fushitani said.