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Anti-internet Japanese management company Johnny & Associates to launch YouTube channel

By | Published on Wednesday 7 March 2018

Johnny & Associates

Famously internet-phobic Japanese artist management company Johnny & Associates is launching a YouTube channel. A number of the company’s newer acts will be allowed to create content for the channel, although it is not clear how much music will be available.

The internationally available channel (many Japanese music companies lock content to Japan only) will host videos featuring artists signed to the Johnny’s Jr division of the company. Johnny’s Jr is generally where new acts are developed, before they officially begin releasing music.

Five acts have been put forward to appear in videos on the new channel: Hihi Jets, Tokyo B Shonen, SixTones, Snow Man and Travis Japan. It seems that there will be some performance videos, but the groups will also create behind-the-scenes clips and videos in which they complete challenges.

“For YouTube, we will try to show another side of Tokyo B Shonen”, says Yuto Nasu, of that outfit. “Our true characters which are not always portrayed on TV programmes and magazine articles. We will also try to answer audience demands to break new ground”.

YouTube’s Lyor Cohen adds: “We are excited and honoured that Johnny & Associates has the vision of connecting Johnny’s talent to the world of consumers on YouTube, the world’s biggest video platform”.

The company behind some of Japan’s biggest pop acts, the length to which Johnny’s has gone to shun the internet to date are fairly impressive.

A long-time hold out from iTunes, the company’s acts do now sell their music digitally in the domestic market. However, international fans are still expected to order CDs directly from Japan. That at least was made slightly easier earlier this year, when the company relaxed one of its rules and allowed online retailers to display the records’ artwork.

At the same time as it announced plans to relax said artwork rules, Johnny & Associates also said that from the beginning of this year online publications would be allowed to use some approved photographs of its artists. Big moves.

Perhaps a more significant shift, however, was allowing three former members of one of the company’s biggest acts, SMAP, to open social media accounts. A move that has been popular with fans, and possibly designed to counter any online presence built up by the other two former members of SMAP who quit Johnny’s in 2016, leading to the group’s split.

The Johnny’s Jr channel will officially launch on 21 Mar.

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