Tamaki Yamashita (Director, Space Shower FUGA) and Anita Zagar (Manager of Business Development for Asia-Pacific, FUGA).
The IMI 27th Oct 2021

Space Shower FUGA wants to help international artists break Japan

The new JV between global B2B distributor FUGA and Japanese media company Space Shower is looking to provide a platform for businesses inside Japan and abroad to make the most of the territory's new digital music ecosystem...

Big changes in Japan’s digital music ecosystem suggest there are new opportunities on the horizon for international companies and their artists in the world’s second largest music market.

Headed by Director Tamaki Yamashita, and declaring its doors ‘open for business’ at the start of September, Space Shower FUGA hopes to take digital music distribution in Japan to new heights as well as acting as a conduit for foreign music businesses looking into the territory, which has seen streaming increase 38.1% YoY, according to IFPI’s 2021 Global Music Report.

The company is also among a growing number of voices that are talking up the growing potential of Japanese music on the world stage.

Space Shower FUGA is the JV between global B2B distributor FUGA and Japanese music and media company Space Shower Inc. – owner of one of the country’s largest music channels, Space Shower TV.

The partnership adds 15 Japanese DSPs – including Recochoku, music.jp, LINE MUSIC and mora – to FUGA’s network of DSPs across Asia-Pacific. Meanwhile, based across more than fifty countries, FUGA’s 800 clients now benefit from access to distribution, marketing services and local expertise in Japan.

The IMI spoke with FUGA’s Manager of Business Development for Asia-Pacific, Anita Zagar, to discuss the opportunities that Space Shower FUGA hopes to create for talent travelling both into and out of Japan…

Why make this move now?

Anita Zagar: The Japanese market has been developing at tremendous speed and changing the way music is consumed. The shift to digital is now very much underway, with subscription streaming up to 33% in the country last year, so it has never been a better time to enter the market and offer our services.

What potential do you see in the Japanese market that Space Shower FUGA will tap into?

Space Shower FUGA, will combine FUGA’s end-to-end technology with Space Shower’s local distribution expertise to be able to offer a full suite of B2B digital music services for the world’s second-largest music market. This will create opportunities for Japanese music companies to deliver their catalogues, which were previously only in physical form, also digitally. Japanese music will therefore become more widely available to international audiences.

How do you assess the status of Japanese artists on the global stage currently?

AZ: Japanese artists are well known for producing quality music with unique styles but, for international audiences, they are difficult to come across due to various reasons – either their music not being available online, or problems with searching artists names in Japanese language, etc. We are striving to provide the tools for Japanese artists to make themselves more visible and easily accessible to international audiences.

"The global market is getting smaller and smaller. With suitable local support, international companies and artists can break through to listeners and fanbases in Japan."

Who do you see as your competition in this space and how do you differentiate yourself?

Due to the nature of our JV, we are fully equipped to support Japanese repertoire domestically and internationally, and at the same time offer local services to our international clients that wish to enter the Japanese market.

How big are the opportunities for international players entering the Japanese market?

AZ: The opportunities are of course there. The global market is getting smaller and smaller. By identifying what is currently trending in Japan and making the connection in terms of artists and music, with suitable local support, international companies and artists can break through to listeners and fanbases in Japan.

What should music companies outside of Japan know about the music market before trying to enter it?

AZ: Every market is different and operates differently, this is the same with Japan. Applying something that might work in the United States or even countries that are neighbouring countries to Japan, won’t necessarily work in Japan. Getting to know the local trends and bringing music closer to the people in terms of language is important for connecting to the local fanbases, but mainly it is important to have a good local partner who understands the needs of the local market.