Creativeman: “We can see light at the end of the tunnel”
Japan’s leading promoter Creativeman says it is “seeing light at the end of the tunnel” as restrictions are gradually lifted.
The Japanese government recently announced plans to increase the cap on the number of people entering Japan from 3,500 to 5,000 per day starting in March.
In addition, the quarantine period for arrivals will be shortened from seven days to three from March, when the country opens to returning foreign residents (not tourists).
However, the quarantine requirement for international artists won’t be determined until next week, according to Japanese promoters’ association ACPC.
Regardless, Creativeman is bullish its marquee festival Summer Sonic will return to Tokyo and Osaka this summer for the first time since 2019 – international artists and all.
“We are confident Summer Sonic will happen this August,” says Creativeman’s Layli Odamura. “The reception at the announcement was so fantastic on every platform. Everyone is very eager and ready for it to happen and feel the heat.”
“We are confident Summer Sonic will happen this August”
The 1975 and Post Malone were recently announced as headliners of the festival, due to take place on 20–21 August simultaneously at Zozomarine Stadium & Makuhari Messe Convention Center in Chiba, a suburb of Tokyo, and at the Maishima Sonic Park in Osaka.
Other international artists lined up for the event are Carly Rae Jepsen, Kasabian, The Libertines, Maneskin, Megan Thee Stallion, One OK Rock, The Offspring, Primal Scream, St. Vincent, Yungblud, All Time Low, Beabadoobee, Easy Life, Fishbone, Kacey Musgraves, Inhaler, Kula Shaker, Rina Sawayama, Squid and the Linda Lindas.
“More and more artists are reaching out and eager to visit or revisit Japan,” maintains Odamura. “We as a promoter are ready for the live market to return and we will continue to assess the situation with the government. There will be multiple headline shows happening towards the autumn onwards too.”
Despite Japan’s strict border controls and quarantine requirements during the past two years, Creativeman has had some success in bringing overseas artists to the country.
Last September, the promoter pulled off Japan’s first large-scale music event that included overseas artists since the pandemic began, Supersonic.
Zedd, Steve Aoki, Clean Bandit, Alan Walker and Aurora were among the overseas artists that performed at the two-day event at Zozomarine Stadium.
“More and more artists are reaching out and eager to visit or revisit Japan”
The festival was considered a test case for reopening Japan’s live industry to foreign acts and, a few months later, Creativeman promoted the first headline tour of an international artist in Japan in 18 months with King Crimson.
In another win for international promoters in Japan, a Creativeman-led alliance successfully lobbied the government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.
The consortium, completed by Avex Entertainment, Hanshin Contents Link/Billboard Japan, M&I Company and Promax, complements the work of existing music association ACPC, with which it shares members.
The consortium’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines, which Asia-based execs say is the biggest challenge facing the market.
Japan’s leading int’l promoters form alliance
Ten leading Japanese concert promoters have officially announced the formation of the International Promoters Alliance Japan.
Led by Creativeman Productions head Naoki Shimizu, the alliance is hoping to establish unified guidelines for the safe resumption of events involving international artists.
The alliance – which includes Live Nation Japan, Udo Artists, Smash Corporation, Hayashi International Promotions and Kyodo Tokyo – will work closely with the Japanese government, as well as international embassies and consulates, to further the cause.
The International Promoters Alliance Japan is completed by Avex Entertainment, Hanshin Contents Link/Billboard Japan, M&I Company and Promax. The alliance will complement the work of existing music association ACPC, with which it shares members.
In a statement, the group says: “The history of music in Japan was changed forever in 1966 when the Beatles performed at the Nippon Budokan. Since then, musicians from around the world have come to Japan to perform, and the opportunity for fans to experience high quality international live entertainment has led to the growth of a rich and diversified Japanese music culture.
“The fact that Japan has been able to create a larger market for music than any other Asian country is a credit to the more than 60 years of work by member companies of the International Promoters Alliance Japan, who have also contributed to the overseas expansion of Japanese artists and content.”
“That Japan has been able to create a larger market for music than any other Asian country is a credit to IPAJ members”
It continues: “From club and theatre shows through to stadium tours, major festivals, and live restaurants, the breadth of the market is unique in the region, and hosting performances by international artists contributes to international economic exchange, the development of the Japanese music culture and economy, and the growth of employment.”
The International Promoters Alliance Japan was unofficially formed in December last year and in March 2021 the alliance succeeded in getting the Japanese government to amend its compensation scheme to include domestic shows by foreign artists.
The group’s next goal is to ease the business visa restrictions for foreign artists to enter Japan with no quarantines.
Once overseas artists have resumed their visits to Japan, the promoters will work together to “foster continued international cultural exchange in this most important of live entertainment markets”.
Read IQ’s Japan country report, which outlined the opportunities in the Japanese market pre-pandemic, here.