Chairman, Watanabe Production Group

Misa Watanabe is among a select group of music publishers who has been working in the uppermost echelons of the industry for many decades. She attended the first MIDEM in 1967 and booked Japanese artists for such American TV programs as “The Ed Sullivan Show” and “The Danny Kaye Show.” She was instrumental in breaking Queen in Japan and thereby enhancing its worldwide success. In 1981, at the 25th MIDEM, Watanabe was honored as one of 12 who had contributed to the development of music worldwide. This prestigious group included Chris Blackwell, Richard Branson, Clive Davis, Ahmet Ertegun, David Geffen, Berry Gordy and Quincy Jones. In 2013, Watanabe oversaw the many accomplishments of her publishing company, including the signing of the film music catalogs of U.S. firm Cutting Edge Group and French film company Gaumont. In addition, the publishing company scored the “Les Misérables” music catalog. (The film took in more than $62 million in Japan, according to Box Office Mojo.) Watanabe says, “I’m very glad that ‘Les Misérables,’ which I first licensed 28 years go, made a comeback last year and was a worldwide hit as a film. This shows the infinite possibilities of our business.” —Rob Schwartz