• capital city: Tokyo
  • population: 127,000,000
  • area: 377,944 sq. km.
  • languages spoken: Japanese
  • annual music sales: $2,627,900,000 (USD 2014)
  • rank: 2nd largest worldwide
  • currency: Yen ¥ (JPY)
  • When drinking socially in Japan, it is customary to let someone pour you a drink and for you to return the favour – then together raise your glasses and shout “Kanpai!”

Japanese music lovers are among the most knowledgeable and dedicated in the world. Western culture fascinates them and their diverse tastes can take them deep into Bluegrass, Emo, House, Metal, Gospel and Latin genres. Foreign sales account for almost 20% of Japanese music purchases – roughly the same size as the entire Canadian music market.

Who’s who in the Japanese music market

 Summer Sonic 2014

Recording Industry Association of Japan

RIAJ was founded in 1942 as an organization representing Japanese music recording industry. It is also responsible for collection and distribution of secondary use fees of commercial recordings from broadcasters, and remuneration from CD rental shops.

2-2-5 Toranomon, Minato-ku, Tokyo 105-0001
P: +81-3-5575-1305
Website general inquiry form


Federation of Music Producers Japan

The FMPJ proudly represents our member companies (over 900) and their artists (over 10,000) who entrust us with their rights. We are also a member of WIN, the worldwide independent music community.

Jingumae Wada Bldg. 2f
5-48-1 Jingumae Shibuya-Ku Tokyo 150-0001
P: +81-3-5467-6851
E: info@fmp.or.jp


Japanese Society for Rights of Authors, Composers and Publishers

JASRAC was established in 1939 to protect and facilitate the utilization of copyrights of musical works, thereby promoting musical culture. We manage the business of musical copyrights in Japan and liaise with copyright licensing organizations abroad.

Shibuya-ku, Tokyo Yoyogi-Uehara 3-6-12
P: +81-3-3481-2121
Website general inquiry form


Music Publishers Association of Japan

MPAJ is the only organization representing the Japanese music publishing industry. On behalf of our members we collect and distribute license fees including sales, broadcasting, rental, neighboring rights and other sources.

2-31-8 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-0062
P:  +81-3-3403-9141


All Japan Concert & Live Entertainment Promoter’s Conference

ACPC is an association of over 260 concert promoters and related business. Established in 1990, ACPC’s purpose is to support the development of Japanese show business through research, business development, education and advocacy.

Ebisuminami 1-21-18 Ebisuminami building
Yubinbango150-0022 Shibuya-ku, Tokyo
P: +81-3-5768-1731
E: info@acpc.or.jp


Touring in Japan

Fuji Rock Festival 2015

According to IFPI, Japan ranks first in physical revenues, third in digital revenues, fourth in performance rights revenues and third in synchronization rights revenues (2014).

Although CD sales have declined over the years, live performances continue to grow setting records each year. The All Japan Concert & Live Entertainment Promoters Conference reports that about 47.5 million people went to over 29,000 concerts in 2015. (www.acpc.or.jp)

The majority of concerts are in the rock/pop category, with performing arts (classical, traditional, theatre and dance) coming in a strong second.

Of the foreign artists performing in Japan, Korean artists make up the largest group, followed by North and Central Americans, and then Europeans. In total, performances by foreign artists in 2015 represented about 7.5% of the entire live market in Japan.

Cultural and language differences make it challenging for international artists to break into the Japanese market. For example, Japan has a relatively small number of radio stations and a smaller number of radio listeners when compared to other regions.

But it isn’t impossible – since 2010, established Canadian acts that have performed in Japan, include: Deadmau5, Magic!, Arcade Fire, Carly Rae Jepsen, Hunter Valentine, Nelly Furtado, Avril Lavigne, Death from Above 1979, Sum 41, K’Naan and Molly Johnson.

Canadians who are travelling to Japan on business trips that don’t include remuneration may apply for a 90-day visa. VISA / Residing in Japan

Canadians who are being paid for performing in Japan will need to apply for a Working Visa: Entertainer. These are available for specified time periods, including 3 months and 15 days. You will need to submit a passport, a visa application form, a photograph, and a Certificate of Eligibility (secured by the promoter in Japan). Working visa: Entertainer

For details please refer to a Japanese embassy or consulate in your area.

In general, a withholding tax on revenue earned by a non-resident while performing in Japan, is paid by the Japanese promoter directly to the tax authorities.

For more information on two of Japan’s major urban regions, please see the Key Regions in the Japan descriptions below.

For more information on live music festivals and conventions, please see the Japan’s Major Festivals tab below.

Fuji Rock Festival 2011

The Canada Council’s Audience Development Office has created a guideline for performing arts organizations called ON THE ROAD – TOURING HANDBOOK which has a chapter on Japan.

The UK organization Jisc Digital Media has prepared a resource website for indie artists, bands, managers, record labels under the name Japan Music Marketing: Selling and Promoting Your Music in Japan.

Key Regions in Japan

Tokyo population 36,923,193

Known as the Kantō metropolitan area, includes the cities of Yokohama, Sagamihara, Kawasaki, Chiba, and Saitama.

Key venues/clubs: AntiKnock www.antiknock.net, Blue Note Tokyo www.bluenote.co.jp, Bunka Kaikan www.t-bunka.jp/en/, Club Asia/Vuenos www.clubasia.co.jp, Cotton Club www.cottonclubjapan.co.jp, Liquid Room www.liquidroom.net, Tokyo Metropolitan Theatre www.geigeki.jp, Quattro www.club-quattro.com/schedule_shib.php, Urga www.urga.net, Unit www.unit-tokyo.com, WWW www-shibuya.jp

Key Radio Stations: MegaNet FM 76.1, FMK FM76.8, Radio Cube FM 78.9, Tokyo FM 80.0, J-Wave FM 81.3, NHK FM 82.5, Banana FM 87.7, Energy98 FM 98.0

Colleges and Universities: Aoyama Gakuin University www.aoyama.ac.jp, Hitotsubashi University www.hit-u.ac.jp, Keio University www.keio.ac.jp, Meiji University www.meiji.ac.jp, Tokyo Institute of Technology www.titech.ac.jp, Tokyo Metropolitan University  www.tmu.ac.jp, Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology www.tuat.ac.jp, Tokyo University of Science www.sut.ac.jp, University of Tokyo www.u-tokyo.ac.jp, Waseda University www.waseda.jp, Yokohama City University www.yokohama-cu.ac.jp, Yokohama National University www.ynu.ac.jp

Osaka population 19,341,976

Known as the Keihanshin metropolitan area, includes the cities of Sakai, Kobe, Kyoto.

Key Venues/Clubs: Bar Rock Rock www.rockrock.co.jp, Bar Midian www.midian.jp, Big Cat www.bigcat-live.com, Billboard Live Osaka www.billboard-live.com/o_index.html, Club Metro www.metro.ne.jp, Festival Hall www.festivalhall.jp/english/, Fandango www.fandango-go.com, Grand Café www.grandcafeosaka.com, Helluva Lounge www.helluva.jp/lounge/, King Cobra www.king-cobra.net, Namba Bears namba-bears.main.jp, Namba Hatch www.namba-hatch.com

Key Radio Stations: FM Hirakata 77.9, FM802 FM 80.2, FM Osaka 85.1, FM Kyoto 89.4, Kiss-FM Kobe 89.9

Colleges and Universities: Doshisha University www.doshisha.ac.jp/en/, Kobe University www.kobe-u.ac.jp/en/, Kyoto City University of Arts www.kcua.ac.jp/en/, Kyoto Institute of Technology www.kit.ac.jp/?lang=en, Kyoto University www.kyoto-u.ac.jp/en, Kyoto University of Art and Design www.kyoto-art.ac.jp/en/, Osaka City University www.osaka-cu.ac.jp/en, Osaka Prefecture University www.osakafu-u.ac.jp/english/, Osaka University www.osaka-u.ac.jp, Ritsumeikan University en.apu.ac.jp/

Japan’s major festivals

Canadian Blast – 2015 Mission to Japan

CIMA, the Canadian Independent Music Association returned to Tokyo for its third mission to Japan. It produced and promoted the event that saw 12 labels and 8 artists attend the Canadian Showcase for Japanese Music Industry representatives from November 16 to 20, 2015.

The mission activities included two Canadian Blast showcases, with B2B Networking and Round Table sessions with Japanese music executives scheduled over the five days.

Previous CIMA-led music missions to Japan (2008, 2012) have generated a total of $3.5 million in new business and over 200 deals for Canadian music companies.

Fuji Rock Festival

FRF is an annual rock festival held in Naeba Ski Resort in Niiigata Prefecture, Japan. The three-day music and camping event, organized by Smash Japan, features more than 200 Japanese and international musicians, making it the largest outdoor music event in Japan.

It began in 1997 at the base of Mount Fuji, the highest mountain peak in Japan. It now draws over 100,000 visitors to its current location just under 200 km from Tokyo.

Festival alumni include: Beck, Green Day, Foo Fighters, Iggy Pop, ZZ Top, Feist, The Chemical Brothers, Oasis, Neil Young & Crazy Horse, Eminem, Alanis Morissette, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Coldplay, Simple Plan, Radiohead, The Flaming Lips, Arcade Fire, and Motörhead.

Summer Sonic

Summer Sonic Festival, which began in the year 2000, is an annual 2-day music festival that is simultaneously staged in Tokyo and Osaka. It features both major and indie Japanese bands and top international performers.

The Tokyo festival is held in the QVC Marine Field baseball stadium in Chiba City on the shore of Tokyo Bay and the Makuhari Messe hall across the road, and the Osaka festival is at the Maishima Park on Osaka Bay.

Festival alumni include: Stevie Wonder, The Smashing Pumpkins, Sum 41, Taylor Swift, Jay-Z, Nelly Furtado, Rihanna, Linkin Park, Cheap Trick, Avril Lavigne, Metallica, Arctic Monkeys, Carly Rae Jepsen, Kraftwerk, Robert Plant, Magic!, and Pharrell Williams.

Tokyo Jazz Festival

Founded in 2002, the Tokyo Jazz Festival is held annually at two venues in the Tokyo International Forum, including the 5,000 seat Hall A and at the Cotton Club nearby. A series of free concerts is held at the open-air Plaza in the Tokyo International Forum.

The performers include the cream of the international jazz community, as well as Japanese jazz artists, and promising ‘newcomers’ from both groups.

Festival alumni include: Herbie Hancock, Wayne Shorter, Buena Vista Social Club, Michael Brecker, Youssou N’ Dour, Joshua Redman, Jack DeJohnette, Chaka Khan, Chick Corea, Larry Carlton, Marcus Miller, Tony Bennett, and Molly Johnson.

Sukiyaki Meets the World

The Sukiyaki Meets the World Festival takes place in Nanto-City (Toyama region) takes its name from the famous Japanese dish (and the 60s pop song) that mixes many different ingredients in the same pot.

The mixture, in this case, combines Japanese artists with African, Asian, Latin American and S/E Asian performers in four different venues in a rural setting.

Japan biz news