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The New Bosses 2023: Mitsuyo McGroggan, Eventim Live Asia

The 16th edition of IQ Magazine’s New Bosses was published in IQ 121 this month, revealing 20 of the most promising 30-and-unders in the international live music business.

To get to know this year’s cohort a little better, IQ conducted interviews with each one of 2023’s New Bosses, discovering their greatest inspirations and pinpointing the reasons for their success.

Catch up on the previous interview with Lotta Widmer co-managing director of the Winterthurer Musikfestwochen (CH). The series continues with Mitsuyo McGroggan, director of touring for Asia at Eventim Live Asia (JP).

Mitsuyo McGroggan is a driven professional with a passion for bridging cultural gaps between the West and East. Born and raised in Shonan, Japan, she embarked on an exciting journey that led her to London in 2010. It was there that Mits kick-started her career at OddChild Music, where she contributed her talents to management and label operations.

Eager to further explore her aspirations, Mits made the decision to return to Japan. She became an integral part of the live entertainment sector, joining Live Nation Japan. As one of the leading promoters, she orchestrated and promoted captivating tours for internationally acclaimed artists such as Doja Cat, Anne-Marie, Jacob Collier, Miguel, Ginger Root, and Clairo, among many others.

Driven by her commitment to the industry and her dedication to fostering artistic connections, Mits has recently taken on a new role, joining Eventim Live Asia as the director of touring for Asia. While based in Japan, Mits will continue to lead and shape the future of touring in Asia, fuelling the growth of the live music scene across the continent.

Lots of people agree that Asia offers huge potential for industry growth. What advice would you give to anyone thinking of moving from the West to help achieve that growth?
Many may view Asia as a whole, but each market has its own nuances and sensitivities with its own unique cultures. I highly encourage anyone entering the market to try to understand the foundation, immersing yourself in the culture and understanding the dynamics from all angles. Once you’re able to understand the fundamental practices, we can all help one another in bridging the gap between the West and East and further propel touring opportunities in Asia regionally.

What made you decide to switch from the label side of the business to live music? And were there any lessons from the label sector that live would benefit from (and vice versa)?
Coming from a family of musicians and touring folk, I’ve always been passionate about the live music sector, so it was a natural next step for me but from a young age, I was eager to immerse myself in the music scene outside of Japan and luckily started my career in artist management/label in London; giving me the opportunity to understand the process of artist development from a completely new perspective.

Since joining the live entertainment sector, I’ve strived to bring my background in music management and promotion with me and have always been passionate about cross-promoting with the label aspects in mind. It’s integral as promoters that we strive to understand all aspects of the artist and their running campaigns so we can look at the long-term vision. With the incredible support from our local team, I’ve always been able to strategically implement campaigns catered to each individual artist and hope to continue having a hands-on and artist-centric approach.

“I believe that we are in a transition period in Asia and it’s an exciting time for us as promoters”

Japan is a huge live market, while China is always noted as a growth spot, but where are the other countries in Asia that you look toward as offering potential for international touring acts?
While some markets may be more mature than others, specifically Japan and Korea, I believe all markets have the potential for international content. I believe that we are in a transition period in Asia and it’s an exciting time for us as promoters as we continue to look for new innovative ways to introduce Western content to new markets, specifically in Southeast Asia, which is proving to have some of the biggest and most dynamic opportunities for the touring landscape.

Traditionally, Japan has been seen as an expensive market for international acts to visit. How is the tour circuit developing so that artists can put together a run of dates in Japan and other nearby countries, rather than just a couple of shows in Tokyo?
Now more than ever (specifically post-Covid landscape) it is true that costs have gone up across the board and financially it’s an uphill battle for all parties involved but what I’ve learned over the years is that the fans in Japan remain loyal and the return is ten-fold. The artists and managers that are willing to invest in the first couple of years have continually seen this to be the case and I welcome all artists to look into the positives associated with investing presence in Asia as it continues to cement longevity for an artist’s career.

Do you have a mentor, or people you can trust to bounce ideas off?
I’ve been lucky enough to be surrounded by senior executives who have helped shape and continue to support my career but my journey at Eventim Live Asia would not be where it is without the support of my colleague, Mike Galt (senior vice president of touring); his passion and knowledge of the music biz and his artist-centric approach has always been inspiring.

Locally in Japan, I continue to have the honour of leaning on Mr. Yamazaki (Yoshihito Yamazaki, CEO of Kyodo Tokyo) and Shoji Takemata (Kyodo Tokyo). Their track record and success in the market is undeniable and I continue to lean on their wealth of knowledge and experience as a guide to help shape the future of touring in Japan/Asia.

“I think it’s our duty as promoters to champion rising stars”

As a new boss, what one thing would you change to make the live entertainment industry a better place?
I think it’s our duty as promoters to champion rising stars and I hope to continue striving to support new talent in an ever-changing industry. I’m committed and driven to making a lasting impact by connecting audiences and artists from different corners of the world.

A lot of people might see Japan – and other places in Asia – as intimidating places to tour, because of cultural perceptions or differences. What would you say to persuade more artists to invest time building fanbases in Asia?
Asia regionally is on an upward trajectory – agents and managers that choose to learn and lean into the dynamics of the landscape have learnt that there is longevity in this region and that the fanbase continues to stay loyal for the long-term. Historically speaking the Japanese fanbase is intently absorbed in the performance and the artistry that each artist brings and that in itself can go a long way in building a long and meaningful career in the region. I encourage artists to invest in these markets early in their careers in order to establish a core foundation and footprint for maximum exposure within the Asian market.


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