Japan's NexTone launches global-facing digital music division ArtLed for independent artists

Japan's NexTone launches global-facing digital music division ArtLed for independent artists

NexTone Inc, a publicly listed Japanese music rights administration and distribution company, has announced the launch of ArtLed, a digital-first, global-facing Japanese music division targeted at the new generation of artists and independent rights owners.

Headed up by Takahiko Kakiuchi, general manager of the digital marketing division, ArtLed said it is driven by the principles of transparency and fairness. Focused on working collaboratively with artists, ArtLed is now targeting growth in the global digital market.

Japan has been slower to embrace streaming with music fans still wedded to physical music, but ArtLed is looking to pursue opportunities in a growing digital market. Japanese labels’ streaming revenues increased by 27% last year, with several major acts releasing streaming-only singles for the first time. 

ArtLed’s founding commitments to its clients include a pledge to maintain transparency, contracts that do not restrict artists’ activities and retention of rights for artists. The company will be in competition with rivals including the majors’ services and distribution operations.

Powered by the existing framework of NexTone Inc, one of the top distributors in Japan representing over 800 corporations, ArtLed will offer a full suite of services tailored to the needs of individual artists and new-generation rights holders.

We believe it is time for a new force to emerge in the Japanese music industry

Takahiko Kakiuchi

ArtLed services include distribution to global and Japanese DSPs, as well as domestic music services in significant markets including China and South Korea; marketing services drawing on in-house sales and expertise; promotion services across online, DSPs, radio, press and events; and copyright management as part of NexTone’s long-standing rights-management business, which facilitates the collection of royalties for digital rights directly from DSPs.

ArtLed is also able to provide artists with the financial support, including funding music videos and creative collaborations.

Takahiko Kakiuchi said: “The growth of the digital market has opened up enormous opportunities for artists to reach their fans in new ways, yet Japan has lagged behind in seizing those opportunities. We believe it is time for a new force to emerge in the Japanese music industry; a local, independent, digital-first, future-focused, artist-friendly company that can build deep partnerships with our clients and lead the way into what is an exciting future for our industry.”

Artists represented at launch include rapper AKKOGORILLA, J-Pop singer Watashi Kobayashi, synth-pop singer-songwriter Unknown Kun and rock quartet Toketadenkyu. ArtLed will also be representing R&B duo Lo-key Design, whose debut EP topped Japan’s iTunes R&B/Soul chart in 2019.

PHOTO: (L-R) Akihiro Miyamoto, Operation Group II; Misaki Matsuura, Sales Group II; Kaori Kondo, Operation Group I; Takahiko Kakiuchi, General Manager; Tomohiro Tokue, Sales Group I; Yuho Akimoto, Sales Group II

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