Universal Music Japan Appoints Spotify Exec to Lead Digital

Ichiro Tamaki
Courtesy of Universal Music Japan 

Ichiro Tamaki

Ichiro Tamaki was president of Spotify Japan since 2016, and did a stint at Amazon.

TOKYO — Universal Music Japan, the Japanese arm of the world’s largest major label, has hired away a Spotify executive to take on a newly created role overseeing digital strategy in the second-largest music market.

Ichiro Tamaki will be the corporate executive responsible for digital strategy, data analytics and platform partnerships. He will be responsible for leading and developing UMJ’s digital and streaming strategy for Japan.   

The move signals an effort by Universal to further boost streaming revenue in the last major market 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. 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, according to the IFPI.

Before joining Universal, Tamaki had served as GM and president for Spotify Japan since 2016. Prior to that, he was a vice president at Amazon, where he worked to expand the company’s hardware and Kindle content businesses in Japan.

“We strongly believe that Mr. Tamaki’s leadership will help us ensure and accelerate long-term digital growth, whilst helping our artist talent to reach new audiences around the world,” Naoshi Fujikura, CEO, Universal Music Japan, said in a statement.