The Universal Music Group-owned V2/Cooperative Music has signed a long-term licensing agreement with Japan's Hostess Entertainment.

Under the agreement, Hostess will release, market and distribute records from V2 and European labels including Wichita Recordings, Bella Union, City Slang and Dance to the Radio.

The deal follows the end of a licensing agreement between V2 Japan and Columbia Music Entertainment. Hostess Entertainment will now be responsible for the marketing and distribution of all Cooperative Music releases in Japan.

The Cooperative Music network was established by V2 in late 2005 to license repertoire from leading independent labels for 12 international markets, where it has dedicated teams and independent distributors and licensees.

Under the new deal, the first releases will be Blood Red Shoes' debut album "Box of Secrets" (V2) and the Los Campesinos! debut "Hold on Now, Youngster..." (Wichita Recordings) on March 12. Those will be followed by a new album by Beach House, "Devotion" (Bella Union), and new Japan-only releases by Bloc Party and Simian Mobile Disco (Wichita Recordings).

Although V2 was bought by UMG from Morgan Stanley last August, with the British arm of the U.K. indie now aligned with Mercury U.K., UMG vowed to continue with the label's pan-European label-licensing network.

Hostess Entertainment was established in 2000, providing local management, promotion, sales and marketing services for international artists and labels seeking to establish themselves in the Japanese market. Its other label partners include Domino Recording Co Ltd and the PIAS Entertainment Group, with releases by artists such as Mogwai, Radiohead, Arctic Monkeys and Enter Shikari.

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