Want to be a Hit in Japan?
Kong's Advice is to Make it in your Home Country First
Ive been in the DJ business since the 70s and maybe because I was so active in Hawaii and Hawaii is one of Japan's favorite tourist destinations, I have ended up in this amazing and endlessly exciting metropolis, Tokyo.
I DJ on several stations including InterFM, and I do podcasts about various events, concerts, etc., going on here. Japan Today is one of the foremost English-based online news sources for Japan and it is the only one that is based in Japan so I am constantly getting questions from around the world about the music and entertainment scene in Japan.
So many people are interested in this amazing market and they ask "How can I get my music on the label in Japan?" Yup, it looks awesome, but like so many other places, this is an incredibly hard market to crack!
Musicians both in Hawaii and around the world see this as a very attractive market and I don't blame them at all. I really think this is a great place to succeed, but, the simple answer is, before trying to get popular elsewhere, first, become popular in your hometown. Start with your hometown, then your state, then become popular in your country.
The World will Come to You
Before you can get a record deal in Japan you need to get a record deal with a major label in your home country, and after that, a Japanese record company might discover you and determine that you might be a good bet for Japan. If and when that happens, You can expect a record deal in Japan. But, you can't skip the basics, you have to make it in your own hometown your own home country and get a major record deal there first. For some reason, many musicians think it's easy to get a record deal in Japan, but I assure you it is not. Japan is a very tough market to break into.
If you look at most foreign artists in Japan, they all became popular in their home countries first. Once you make it though, the Japanese fans are super loyal and will love you forever. Don't give up, make it happen where you are and watch how the world will come to you!