Universal Music Expands Spinnup Distributor in Japan to Sign Local Talent

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Universal Music Group (UMG) is looking to support, discover and sign independent Japanese artists with the new launch of its global DIY digital distribution service, Spinnup, in the country today (June 24).

Artists in Japan can now use a new, localized Japanese-language version of Spinnup to release their tracks on the world's leading music platforms -- including Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon -- as well as Japanese platforms like LINE and AWA.

UMG A&Rs also use Spinnup to scout for new talent, having already signed more than 80 artists across Europe and the U.S. to its frontline labels through the platform, including Swedish electronic duo Vigiland and Nigerian artist A.T. UMG says that Spinnup now has staff in Tokyo to support that process across Japan.

"Distributing music has never been easier than today, but the challenge of building a professional career is no different for new artists," said Universal Music Japan corporate executive Ichiro Tamaki, who is responsible for digital strategy, data analytics and platform partnerships. "Spinnup not only enables local independent artists to release their music to fans around the world, but it also enables our A&R to discover new talent. We're very excited to be able to find and support new Japanese talent through Spinnup and to invigorate the independent music scene here."

Since appointing Tamaki in January, the news appears to be UMG's latest move to increase streaming revenue in Japan, where physical albums and EPs still dominate recorded music sales. Physical revenue in Japan in 2018 accounted for 71.5% of the value of recorded music, the highest percentage in the world, out of a total of $2.9 billion, according to the IFPI. While physical still increased, by 2.3%, streaming rose by 32.6% to $356.5 million and made up 12.4% of the total market in 2018.

To further encourage Japanese artists to join Spinnup, UMG is granting new accounts one free release of either a single, mini-album or album using the code SPINNUPJP.

In other Spinnup news, the platform recently launched Creators United, an initiative to help artists feel connected and musically productive while self-quarantining through a community Facebook group, livestream series and more.

"As a global service, Spinnup places the utmost importance on being able to reach independent artists all over the world and help them get heard," added Spinnup GM Nina Usher. "We are so excited to launch a fully localised service in Japan, complete with new DSPs and powered by the team at Universal Music Japan. We can’t wait to tap into the community of independent artists here and to discover the best new talent."

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