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Universal Poaches Spotify’s Head in Japan to Run Digital Strategy in Market

The importance of Japan to the world’s recorded mu..



The importance of Japan to the world’s recorded music industry requires little explanation: according to IFPI data, it was the second-largest market in the world in 2018 behind the USA, generating $2.87bn for artists and record labels. (The No.3 market, the United Kingdom, was less than half this size, at $1.4bn.)

Industry revenues out of Japan grew 3.4% in 2018, according to IFPI, thanks to streaming revenues bounding up 32.6% to $356.5m. Physical formats still dominate Japan – with 71.5% of the market in 2018 – but streaming is becoming increasingly significant, says IFPI, claiming 12.4%.

Now, one of the leading architects of streaming’s growth in Japan has quit a major digital service in order to join Universal Music Group.

Tamaki has been named as Corporate Executive responsible for Digital
Strategy, data analytics and platform partnerships at Universal Music
Japan, effective February 15.

Tamaki (pictured) joins UMJ from Spotify Japan, which he led as General Manager & President. Tamaki joined Spotify in 2016, when the platform launched in the market.

Prior to Spotify, Tamaki served as VP at Amazon, driving and expanding Amazon’s hardware and Kindle content businesses in Japan.

“Mr. Tamaki’s skills, experience and advanced knowledge will bring us game-changing strategy and help drive UMJ towards the next phase of our rapidly evolving music market in Japan.” Naoshi Fujikura, Universal Music Japan

You can get a sense of Spotify’s current size in Japan from the company’s Spotify Charts data: for example, the Top 200 tracks in Sweden on Tuesday – January 14 – racked up a total of 8.7m plays, according to MBW research; Japan wasn’t too far behind, on 6.2m plays.

As a core member of Universal Music Japan’s executive team, Tamaki will oversee the firm’s Data & Analytics and Platform Partnerships teams, and will be responsible for leading and developing UMJ’s digital and streaming strategy for Japan, working directly with the company’s leadership, international divisions and with its platform partners.

He will be based in Tokyo and report to Naoshi Fujikura, CEO, Universal Music Japan.

Fujikura said, “We are delighted to welcome Mr. Tamaki to our team. His skills, experience and advanced knowledge will bring us game-changing strategy and help drive UMJ towards the next phase of our rapidly evolving music market in Japan.

“We are committed to delivering the value of music for Japanese music fans and to expanding the universe of opportunities for our artists. We strongly believe that Mr. Tamaki’s leadership will help us ensure and accelerate long-term digital growth, whilst helping our artist talent to reach new audiences around the world.”

Universal Music Japan’s highlights in the past year include its work with King & Prince and back number – who were UMG’s fourth and fifth biggest revenue-generating global artists, respectively, in the first half of 2019.

The company has also enjoyed commercial success with BTS, whose Japanese-language releases it handles in partnership with Big Hit Entertainment. (BTS’s non-Japanese releases go through Sony and The Orchard.)

Speaking exclusively to MBW in 2017, Fujikura explained of UMJ: “Our long-term goal is to become Japan’s leading full-service music entertainment company. We understand our unique local market, and we are taking important steps to evolve our business and embrace new opportunities and challenges. Our core strength has always been our ability to discover artists, help develop their careers and ultimately make ‘hits’.”

Universal’s hire of Tamaki comes after UMG, led by Sir Lucian Grainge, notably poached two senior US-based Spotify execs in the past two years: Dave Rocco (now EVP, Creative at Universal) and Mike Biggane (now EVP, Music Strategies & Tactics).

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No1 Showcase: The Art Of David Hicks




David Hicks is a photographer who is just as interested in the behind-the-scenes stories as he is in the stories themselves. A true photojournalist, Hicks aims to capture every aspect of waking life.

Whether that be everyday activities on the streets of Cuba to the passionate and dynamic tango culture in Buenos Aries, Hicks will be there to experience it and share it. He says of his tango collection: “The Tango, a now-popular dance between a man and a woman, started in its current form in the mid-1800s, after a massive migration to Argentina, mostly by men. Because men outnumbered women by quite some number, the only way for a man to get close to a woman was via a brothel or by dance. The men practiced together, as you’d have to be a great dancer to get a woman’s attention. So, this very sexual dance you see now was born out of the reality for men in those old days. Nowadays, you see it performed often, usually on the street corners of Buenos Aires, with live musicians or a pre-recorded soundtrack, and they do it for the tips!”

Follow David’s work down below:  HiXposure (@hixposure) / Twitter  HiXposure | Facebook HiXposure Photography (@hixposure) • Instagram photos and videos

Website: HiXPOSURE | Travel Photography

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No1 News: The Mad Game Embark On Their Latest Rage Against The Machine




It can always be a struggle when you music possesses such a crucial and pertinent message and yet you’re blocked by the damning limitations of ‘going under the radar’ – electronic animated anarchists ‘The Mad Game’ know this all too well.

The band’s debut EP, ‘Player One’, is a righteous middle finger to what they describe as ‘The Mad Game’ – the absurdities in society that have been integrated as the status quo – after tangling with governments, security services and local mafia. Their message of outrage and vitriol is a potent one found across the EPs five tracks – a mere morsel of their true potential – and is certainly enough to make listeners pay attention.

The trio’s soundscape is an eclectic one: the righteous indignation of the best punk music married beautifully to the jarring and skittish landscapes of the best electronica. The lead track, ‘Game Over ‘, in particular makes a phenomenal first impression to the animated anarchists with members Sonu, Karla and Sonya giving their respective inputs to this chilling three-pronged attack. What these newcomers nail best is their sincerity.

It’s hard to take such a venomous assault from someone you don’t genuinely believe has lived through the horrors that they detail – The Mad Game give off no such illusion. What you hear is authentic and those unaware of the band’s craft will soon learn to such things. It makes for a truly gripping and inspiring experience.

This is not a project that anyone should overlook regardless of their tastes; thoughtful, well crafted and genuine music. Not something 2021 receives in surplus.

Follow The Mad Game below: Twitter: Instagram: Spotify: Bandcamp: Youtube:


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No1 Finds: Tunetables – A Stylish Solution To Music Storage




“The Tunetables idea was borne,” says Rob Chappelhow, the man behind a range of ingenious new storage solutions, “out of a personal desire to have my music collection around me once again.”

That’s something all of us record-collector’s can empathise with. Now, I’ve banged on before about how, for many of us, digital streaming doesn’t cut it. Streaming services are great, but for a large number of us hard-core music fans, we want something we can hold in our sweaty hands, right? But, once you have all those lovely records, where do you put them?

Flat-pack shelving is fine, but it’s hardly inspiring. That’s where the Tunetables range comes into its own. More words from Rob Chappelhow, who explains that the idea came to him during a visit to  the Joe Strummer Archive exhibition in the basement of Fred Perry’s flagship store in Covent Garden – “Set out under an acrylic plinth was Strummer’s personal tape cassette collection…his musical heritage and inspiration perfectly showcased.”

It was totally spellbinding. I soon started to conceptualise how I could create my own version of this…a personal time capsule of life-affirming music. I wanted something that could be inherently useful, something that I would see and use every day, and that would be a talking point for like-minded music enthusiasts.”

And lo! Tunetables was born… What Chappelhow has done is to take brand new music-equipment flight-cases (the type we are well-used to seeing lugged around by roadies and musicians) and turn them into hand-crafted storage solutions for your CDs, tapes and vinyl. It’s a wonderful idea and, most importantly, they look great. As mentioned, each case is built by hand, and can be personalised with your own initials (or whatever you fancy). Storage ranges from 100 – 500 for CDs, 30 – 60 for tapes, and 75 for vinyl. That’s not a bad amount at all. I can see a lot of people going for this, from pro and semi-pro musicians to plain music-lovers such as myself. This is modern design with an old-school aesthetic. Check them out for yourself!

Check out Tunetables below: 



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