Unless you’ve somehow got yourself a US iTunes account and are financing your purchases by the way of grey imported iTunes Gift Cards, online music purchases have not been an available option for many consumers in Asia, let alone Malaysia. And considering the ease of access pirated CDs and DVDs in countries like ours, it’s no wonder that rights holders are afraid to touch our market. Until now, of course.

Soon, the Clarion car stereo owners in this region will get access to songs from an online music store. Clarion Malaysia signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) here last weekend with Prodigium Mobile, a UK-based cloud services provider. Prodigium Mobile holds the rights to market 18,000,000 songs from a cloud-based, online music store in Asia.

Under this MoU, Prodigium Mobile appoints Clarion as its exclusive licensee in Asia for the automotive industry. As the exclusive licensee, Clarion is the only car audio manufacturer in Asia that can offer its customers access to Prodigium Mobile’s Internet-based music store to purchase and download fully licensed, DRM-free songs.

“We are very excited about this deal because this has never been done before. The Android-based Clarion Mirage will be the first car stereo in Asia that comes with the option to purchase the fully licensed music content that you want, from the Internet. When we launched the Clarion Mirage on 27 March, I said this Android-driven device is a smart car stereo. With the availability of the online music download feature, the Clarion Mirage will now be a unique smart car stereo for the Asian market,” said T.K. Tan, Managing Director of Clarion Malaysia.

These songs will be from all four major licensees, independent music houses, and will also consist of local music in the specific countries that the Prodigium store will be made available in. There are no pricing details yet, but Prodigium assures that the pricing will be affordable. These songs will be 320kbps bitrate MP3 format files, and they will be DRM-free, which means you will be free to copy them around to your various devices and for backup purposes, although Prodigium also plans to have an automatic sync feature that will push all the music you buy to up to 10 devices.

Clarion Malaysia will also collaborate with Prodigium Mobile to launch the “Music for Life” campaign that will roll-out in Asia. Under the “Music for Life” campaign, Clarion customers will also be able to download free songs periodically.

“On the local front, we have built a recording studio in Clarion Malaysia. With this facility in place, we will work with Prodigium to assist talented, independent Malaysian and Asian artistes to record their original music. We will also assist them to make their music available online for worldwide distribution. In this way, we will assist to promote our local talents,” said T.K. Tan, an engineer at heart who was was very enthusiastic about what Clarion has in store for its customers.

We hear that the recording studio will be based at Clarion Malaysia in Penang, and it is in the last phase of construction. All the equipment is already in place, which includes a 32 channel analog and 32 channel digital recording system.

We understand that Clarion are currently waiting for the acoustic panels that have been custom made to be tuned for the room size to arrive from Europe. Clarion will be allowing local indie artists to use this studio for free, and will also assist them with making their music available for worldwide distribution – of course only to those who qualifies – there will be a selection panel.

To read more about the Malaysian-developed Clarion Mirage Android-based player, check our our previous story as well as a video recording of the Mirage in action.