A&R Worldwide, the global artist discovery, development and consulting firm, has launched a Japan operation in conjunction with music consulting company Music Solutions.

The A&R Worldwide Japan unit will be overseen by Music Solutions president Sebastian Mair.

Mair also heads-up Music Solutions, the consulting and brand development company, and also works with Fujipacific Music Inc and is cultural officer (music) at the Canadian Embassy in Tokyo.

The development, explains Mair, is an attempt to give A&R Worldwide's clients and rising artists access to greater opportunities in the Japanese market and beyond.

"Asia is a very important market for A&R Worldwide and its clients," says Sat Bisla, president/founder, A&R Worldwide. "Having a real insight and formal presence in Japan on a daily basis will help us capitalize on the real opportunities this market has to offer."

Mair says that the establishment of A&R Worldwide Japan will give the company a larger presence in the world's second-largest recorded music market.

"Whilst A&R Worldwide has relationships and knowledge of the Japanese territory, it's important to have the physical presence in the marketplace to fully engage and execute as well as capitalize on opportunities for its clients who have a vested interest in Japan," Mair told Billboard.biz.

"Also," he says, "it will provide Japanese companies and executives an opportunity to connect face-to-face with A&R Worldwide in their local market and facilitate opportunities for them externally, utilizing A&R Worldwide's global reach."

A&R Worldwide has helped develop artists such as Keane, Laura Izibor, Dido, Pilot Speed, French act SoShy and Finnish band Bloodpit. The company also represents such firms as technology specialists, record labels, publishers, composers, artists, managers and agents.

A&R Worldwide also works with executives and companies, and produces the annual international music, media and technology executive conference MUSEXPO in West Hollywood.