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Tokyo Dance Music Event: Women Japanese Industry Leaders Give Advice On Being Successful In Asian Market - Magnetic Magazine

Tokyo Dance Music Event: Japanese Women Industry Leaders Give Advice On Being Successful In Asian Market

Success comes in many different forms and these four leaders are here to give you the secrets.
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Music business events seem to be popping all over the world at a rate faster than anybody can keep track of. This is a sign that despite the naysayers, the business is still strong and there is still plenty of room for growth and conversation about how to build the best industry for everyone. Tokyo Dance Music Event is about to kick off this week for four days of Panels, Workshops, Installations, DJ Sets and Live Performances in Shibuya, Tokyo and we chatted with four women about how to be successful in Japan and the Asian market as a whole. This applies to their given field, whether it is live events, technology or labels and not just in the short term, but also growing for long-term success. 

The Tokyo Dance Music Event will run from November 30th to December 2nd. Find more information here and learn more about success in Asia with our chats with these successful leaders below. 

VJ Manami: Visual Designer SYMBIOSIS Inc.

VJ Manami

VJ Manami

Please introduce yourself:

I started my VJ career in 2010 and these days I am working with the best Tokyo clubs and taking part in large-scale festivals such as ULTRA Japan, Summer Sonic, etc. I also make original visual compositions for fashion shows, music videos, and the theater. I’ve worked in New York, Berlin, London, Singapore, China, and Korea.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see with dance music developing in what should become the biggest music market in the world?

In the sense of entertainment, Japan has not achieved a certain level yet – Japanese artists and listeners are so used to relying on trends from overseas. This might be because historically Japan has always adopted tendencies from overseas and remade for the local market. I do not think that is a bad thing to do but this is definitely one of the biggest challenges Asian music market is facing now. Of course there’s some exceptions and very talented and unique artists, but we need to take even more time to be original and true to our vision.

Who are some of the local players that should become worldwide industry companies in the next 3-5 years?

Well, isn’t Pioneer DJ acknowledged worldwide? I think Pioneer DJ is bringing real changes to the global music industry.

Where do you see the most innovation in the Asian dance music industry and why?

I see the most innovation in production itself. All these large EDM festivals coming into Asia – Ultra Music festival Korea, ZOUKOUT in Singapore and Neverland in the Philippines, not to mention Ultra Music festival Japan that’s been held every year since 2014. The huge LED stages are a symbol of these events and so there’s been an explosion of top level LED operators and visual designers around Asia, I meet them here in Japan, in China, in Korea, in Singapore. There is a real chance for these professionals to develop local festivals or production teams that could then work all over the world.

What will be the key to longevity in the Asian market?

Artists need originality, plus the ability to stay current without losing their vision to market trends.

Yukako Yoshida: Director Drecom Co., Ltd.

Yukako Yoshida

Yukako Yoshida

Please introduce yourself:

In 2013, I started working at Drecom and became the CEO of its daughter company. So now I am in charge of PASS application development which offers profitable coupons and real-time information on maps. The idea of making the application oriented at the teen market came to my mind when I was in charge of the music application development, which became very popular among teenage girls. I also work as a radio personality and expert on latest teen trends in Tokyo.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see with dance music developing in what should become the biggest music market in the world?

Well, the thing I really notice with Japanese artists popular among a younger audience, is that they are not “self-produced” enough. Whether that’s making their own labels, doing self-branding, or attending conferences on their own. It is important to realize that the music industry is evolving at a rapid pace due to various innovations and artists have more opportunities to promote themselves – especially on new video platforms and Instagram.

Well, the thing I notice with Japanese artists popular among a younger audience, is that they need to become more “self-produced.” In overseas, I often see Artists making their own labels, doing self-branding, or attending conferences on their own. They tend to build their strategy by themselves. It is important to realize that the music industry is evolving at a rapid pace due to various innovations and artists have more opportunities to promote themselves – especially on new video platforms and Instagram. So Japanese artists need to realize how important that artists themselves need to build their own strategy to be popular among younger audience in Japan.

What are a few unique features about the Asian market that some artists or companies aren't picking up right away?

I guess the fact that Japanese lyrics play a significant role for the young Japanese audience – so many songs are hits because of great Japanese lyrics.

Where do you see the most innovation in the Asian dance music industry and why?

I am really hoping for more Japanese DJs to become known worldwide, whether through an original Japanese EDM festival or simply more international booking.

What will be the key to longevity in the Asian market?

See my answer to your first question! Artists need to be in charge of their own careers.

Lauren Rose Kocher - Business Development & International Marketing Manager for Sony

Lauren Rose Kosher

Lauren Rose Kosher

Please introduce yourself:

I moved to Tokyo from Chicago in 2008, and in 2009 started working at one of Japan’s oldest concert promoters, Kyodo Tokyo. After 14 tours of international musicians, I left the company to spend several years doing freelance interpretation, translation and coordination work including projects for TV and corporate music gigs. I then joined Sony Music Japan in 2013, where I work in headquarters on business development and special projects. I’ve done endorsement and tie-in campaigns, merchandising deals, and ran many events. I’m also the founder and director of the Tokyo Dance Music Event. This is our second year.

What are some of the biggest challenges you see with dance music developing in what should become the biggest music market in the world?

I think the question of what infrastructure do you need for a vibrant and diverse music scene is interesting. In Asia it really depends which country you are discussing - how many music magazines are there? How many music websites, how many shows on TV with live performances, how difficult is it to become a full-time musician? Japan is large and sophisticated but stable, other territories are tiny but growing quickly.

What are a few unique features about the Asian market that some artists or companies aren't picking up right away?

The long-term role of international (Western) artists in the Asian market is the elephant in the room – the stronger and more sophisticated an Asian market becomes, the greater the market share of local artists. The one-way export of music from the US or Europe to Asia is no longer a given, and the question is whether Asian artists will be seen as having enough potential to receive real backing from organizations in the US or European music industry.

Who are some of the local players that should become worldwide industry companies in the next 3-5 years?

There are multiple Japanese management companies setting up shop in Los Angeles, including LDH and Amuse – it will be interesting to see what happens there. Tokyo club WOMB has a great vision of how they want to contribute to the larger Asian club culture and their new project “WOMB Travel” is fantastic – they’ve already started collaborating in India. I work closely with iFLYER.tv, so I’m biased – but their music media and eticketing platform is driven by smart tech and analytics and they have huge potential in the Asian region as well.

Where do you see the most innovation in the Asian dance music industry and why?

I see the most innovation in the work of exciting promoters making original festivals - including The Livescape Group in Malaysia (It’s the Ship!), the Ismaya Group in Indonesia, and A2Live in China – so I think strong Asian festivals are an exciting space.

What will be the key to longevity in the Asian market?

Finding local partners such as artists, producers, clubs, promoters, or labels, and treating them with respect.

Yuki Kawamura(OIRAN MUSIC)

Yuki Kawamura

Yuki Kawamura

Please introduce yourself:

Since 2010, I have been running Shibuya OIRAN, a “warm-up” bar on a street lined with famous clubs and live venues, in the heart of Shibuya’s Dogenzaka district. I also produce various events and host several radio shows about music trends in Shibuya. I’m active as a lyricist and also DJ.

Since the conference talks about music in Asia, I wanted to ask what are some of the biggest challenges you see with dance music developing in what should become the biggest music market in the world? Whether it is technological, economic, cultural, political etc.

I think the Asian music market is facing mostly economic challenges. It would be great if Asian brands and services could hold a stronger position in the international market.

What are a few unique features about the Asian market that some artists or companies aren't picking up right away?

Not many people realize the increasing quality of dance-music-influenced pop.

Who are some of the local players that should become worldwide industry companies in the next 3-5 years?

Internet radio station and music media block.fm, as well as Taiwanese and Japanese music news site UROROS.

Where do you see the most innovation in the Asian dance music industry and why?

The most innovation can be seen in Asian festivals - like Songkran, which combines traditional celebrations with dance music.

What will be the key to longevity in the Asian market?

The ability to become more “self-produced” and to build your own strategy.

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