Often regarded as the fourth major label in the Japanese music industry, Avex Group held 8.6% of the Japanese music market as of 2019, placing it in third place behind Sony Music and Universal Japan. The company was planning to cut back on operations in recent months, including selling its 18-story building in Tokyo and laying off some employees. But Osada says the steps were not about downsizing, “but rather a shift in focus to invest in new opportunities and new types of intellectual property and to empower a new class of passionate executives.”
According to the leader, Avex has always aimed to expand globally and sees the opportunity to bridge the gap between the music industries in the United States and Japan, which is the world’s second largest music market according to IFPI. “Avex USA is a key part of these new opportunities in which the global company is looking to invest.”
Prior to his new oversight role at Avex USA, Osada held several positions within the Avex group dating back to 2007, including that of Head of Innovation and Strategic Partnerships; chief producer, corporate venture capital and associate director, international business development.
Meanwhile, Avex USA Publishing poaches Defend Music’s Christy saguanpong as vice president of publication administration, as well as Primary Wave Andrew Hawthorne for the role of Vice President of A&R Publishing.
Avex USA Publishing has also entered into a joint venture agreement with the publishing division of Brandon silversteinS10 Entertainment to sign and develop writers and producers together. It begins with the signings of producer and longtime Justin Bieber collaborator Bernard “Harv” Harvey and Internet producer Money Cxdy. “The creativity and vision of Naoki and his new team is catapulting Avex’s business in the United States and we are proud to develop and sign such incredible talent with them,” said the vice president and head of business. edition of S10. Josh hallbauer.
The new hires join an Avex USA Publishing roster that already includes superstar hitmakers like Bryan-Michael Cox (who produced for Usher, Mariah Carey and Mary J. Blige) and Patrick “J. Que” Smith (Britney Spears, Beyoncé). , Ariana Grande). From the start, Avex USA Publishing had stakes in Bieber’s “Peaches”, Cardi B’s “WAP” with Meghan Thee Stallion, and Grande’s hits like “Positions”, “thank u, next” and “7 rings”.
Next, the SELENE Company Label will be led by the newly appointed Avex USA Vice President of Strategy / Operations. Lucas thomashow, former music director at Brat TV and strategist at Google. Thomashow says the label will focus on American artists and music, including initial signings Zach Hood, DIRTYXAN and Sophie Holohan. However, “We will leverage Avex’s strengths in the Japan / Asia market to better serve our creatives and provide unique opportunities to expand their reach,” he adds, and in the near future, Avex USA will also help. to break Japanese artists in the United States.
“Our priority is to create synergy through an A-list publishing list, a new label and investments in music technology to empower, develop and break down the best creatives and the next generation of young impactful artists,” says- he.
Finally, Avex USA’s Future of Music Fund is led by Osada alongside the vice president, responsible for finance. Ryusuke (Ryan) Kamada, formerly of the Investment Banking division of JP Morgan.
The fund will focus on music technology startups creating new IPs, music experiences and revenue models, with initial investments in virtual concert company Wave, which has presented shows with artists like John Legend and The Weeknd. , and the virtual artist label Spirit Bomb, the brainchild of production company Strangeloop Studios.
“We are very optimistic about the metaphysical and digital world which we believe will be as important as the physical space around us,” says Osada. “The digital world offers another dimension to the music industry. We want to focus on the technologies that would become a key part of this world and create new IPs, new experiences and new revenue channels.