How To Grow A Music Star Without Street Live Performance In Tokyo

There used to be some pedestrian precincts in Tokyo, where young indie music artists and bands came down from every corner of the country, they performed their original tunes in front of a street audience and dreamed to debut and release their sound pieces from major labels. But now in the highly populated area of Tokyo, as the car traffic was getting heavier, a number of the pedestrian precincts were abolished.
Street performances are strictly regulated by the parking enforcement guidelines, and the dreaming youths gradually lost the opportunities to show their performances to the public. Not only for star candidates, but also for music industry, it is really critical trend that may lose the opportunities to meet.    Can cyberspace help them be successful in their futures?
MSJ's LogoJ-Wave's Logo
MySpace‘s local subsidiary or MySpace Japan(MSJ)[J] was co-founded by News Corporation and Softbank, and started its Japanese service in 2006. Originally the company’s office was located in the corner of Softbank Headquarter, but last September, it was moved to Shibuya for geographical conveniences, which is at the heart of Japanese indie music scenes and has the largest number of live house among the cities in Japan.
MSJ is so aggressive to defeat Mixi[J] which is now positioned on the top of the SNS business sector here. In April, MSJ plans to start sponsoring a Friday night live show[J] which is aired on the FM radio station[J] having the largest population of young listeners in Tokyo Metropolitan Area. Every week MSJ will pick three from all 900,000 registered MSJ artists, and they will be interviewed and introduced with their original repertories on the program.  Furthermore, MySpace recently started publishing its monthly guidebook[J] in partnership with the TV guide publisher[J], for encouraging more users to visit the website.
MSJ Magazine
Nowdays some artists get eager spectators and fans from the MSJ communities, and release their singles and albums from major labels. Others get success that their works are used for TV commercial songs.
mf247's Logo
On the other hand, 247 Music[J] was founded by the legendary music producer Shigeo Maruyama, who is also known as the former CEO of Sony Music Entertainment Japan(SMEJ)[J], and started Japan’s first DRM-free tune distribution service in 2006.
The artist would need to pay one-time sign-up fee (approx. USD110) for uploading tunes to the company’s music portal site called mf247[J], and the fan listeners visiting the site were allowed to download tunes for free and to enjoy. The company intended to earn revenues from the artist registration and expecting sales of CD titles featuring popular artists and tunes, but actually the plan was failed.
CEO Maruyama was forced to shut down the service, and 247’s management right was up for Yahoo! Auction[J] last year. It was successfully bidden by Hiroyuki Nishimura, who is known as the co-founder of the world’s largest bulletin board 2channel[J] and the video sharing site Nico Nico Douga[J].
mf247’s service platform was definitely rebuilt, and scaled to the environment with only a couple of servers, which is now called “mf247 episode 2” in contrast to the period when Maruyama served as the project lead. The episode 2 allows both of the artists and the listeners to use the service for entirely free.
So far, the new management team has no significant plan to change mf247 business in the black, however, on behalf of all the team, Hiroyuki said it would be not so hard to monetize the episode 2 by engaging users from Nico Nico Douga, because mf247’s renewed system requires just 20,000 yen (approx. USD220) a month as server maintenance cost, which is just .01 percent of what Nico Nico requires.
The company and the service “247” was named after 24/7 and the result obtained by adding one to the number 246 representing Japan’s national route along which many music companies are headquartered.

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