Yahoo Japan has tied up with Sony affiliate Label Gate and will soon launch a music download service, the company said Monday.

The download service will be based on Label Gate's existing Mora download service and offer around 73,000 songs from 39 domestic record companies. The files will be encoded in Sony's ATRAC3 data compression format and be playable on compatible devices including some models of cellular telephones, NetMD-type MiniDisc players, ATRAC CD players and the recently launched PlayStation Portable, said Nozomi Yamaguchi, a spokeswoman for Label Gate in Tokyo.

The songs will cost between ¥158 (79p) and ¥368 (£1.84), said Yamaguchi.

Yahoo Japan attracts around 39 million visitors per month and is consistently ranked as Japan's number one Web destination.

Label Gate began operations in 2000 with support from a handful of record companies and has steadily attracted the support of additional companies. It relaunched its own Web-based download service under the Mora name in April 2004 and in October launched a second service, called Music Drop, that provides music in the Windows Media format. In late 2004 the monthly download rate began to pick up and after breaking 100,000 downloads in October and 200,000 downloads in November it passed the 300,000 monthly download mark in December.