Universal Music Japan

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Universal Music LLC
Native name
ユニバーサル ミュージック
Yunibāsaru myūjikku
  • PolyGram Co., Ltd. (1990–1999)
  • Universal Music Co., Ltd. (1999–2009)
Company typeSubsidiary
FoundedApril 20, 1990; 33 years ago (1990-04-20)
Headquarters1-5-8 Jingumae, Shibuya, ,
Area served
East Asia
Key people
ProductsMusic and entertainment
RevenueSee Universal Music Group
Total equity¥295.2 million (US$2.69 million) (2021)
Number of employees
ParentUniversal Music Group
DivisionsList of Universal Music Japan labels
SubsidiariesDRC LLC
Office Augusta [ja]
Universal Music Artists
Universal Music Creative
Universal Music Publishing Japan
Footnotes / references

Universal Music LLC (Japanese: ユニバーサル ミュージック合同会社, Hepburn: Yunibāsaru myūjikku Gōdō gaisha), often referred to as just Universal Music Japan or UMJ, is a Japanese subsidiary of the Universal Music Group founded in 1990. It is the largest subsidiary for a foreign company in Japan regarding music distribution. The company is responsible for marketing and distribution in Japan for Japanese releases under Universal.

In 2021, Universal Japan CEO and President Naoshi Fujikura was included on Billboard's International Power Players list.[2][3][4]


Early years[edit]

The company was founded as PolyGram Co., Ltd. in 1990 with Koike Kazuhiko serving as president and CEO. In 1999, the company was restructured and renamed as Universal Music Co., Ltd., following Seagram's acquisition of PolyGram, and its subsequent integration into Universal Studios.

2009–2013: Renaming to Universal Music LLC[edit]

In 2009, the company was renamed as Universal Music LLC. Kazuhiko stepped down as CEO and Keiichi Ishizaka became CEO and president of the company.[5]

2013–2014: Restructure following EMI purchase[edit]

In 2011, EMI agreed to sell its recorded music operations to Universal Music Group for £1.2 billion ($1.9 billion) and its music publishing operations to a Sony-led consortium for $2.2 billion.[6] Among the other companies that had competed for the recorded music business was Warner Music Group which was reported to have made a $2 billion bid.[7] Universal Music Group completed their acquisition of EMI on September 28, 2012.[8] In 2012, Ishizaka became CEO of EMI Music Japan while Universal Japan was scheduled to hold a corporate swap in response of the merger.[9] EMI Music Japan officially was absorbed into Universal Japan, became defunct as a company with EMI Records Japan as a successor to the EMI Music Japan label. Nine months after the merger, Ishizaka stepped down from his position of CEO from Universal Japan, and became a non-executive chairman. His successor, Naoshi Fujikura was appointed in 2014.[5] In April 2014, Universal Japan was once again restructured. Many of its labels were rebranded and split multiple times, including EMI Records Japan which de-merged into two sublabels EMI Records and Virgin Records of which the latter rebranded as EMI R and then merged with Delicious Deli Records to form Virgin Music.[10][11]

2015–present: New business model, push for streaming and worldwide distribution[edit]

In December 2015, Fujikura announced that Universal Japan "is a new business" and that the company would adopt a new business model to strengthen business.[12] These changes were effective as of January 1, 2016.[12] A new label, Universal-W was established in December 2015 with Japanese company Warlock.[13]

In August 2016, Radwimps released the soundtrack for the 2016 Japanese animated film Your Name. The album was a commercial success in Japan and in a rare feat, charted in the United States in 2017.[14] In December of the same year, Universal Japan acquired Office Augusta [ja], a music management agency (founded in 1992), and made it a fully-owned subsidiary; as a result, the latter's "Augusta Records" label became an affiliated label of Universal Japan.[1]

In 2017, the company announced it would relocate from Minato, Tokyo to the Jingumae Tower Building in Shibuya, Tokyo. The relocation took place from September 15, 2018, to October 9.[15][16] In December 2017, Universal Japan announced they suspended the contract of Hilcrhyme member DJ Katsu following his arrest of possession of marijuana. He subsequently left the group following his arrest and the group lost their recording contract.[17]

In June 2018, Universal Japan announced an exclusive license agreement with Disney Music Group.[18]

In 2019, Universal Japan suspended the sales of Junnosuke Taguchi's discography and removed his releases from digital stores following his arrest of possession of marijuana.[19]

In 2020, Universal Japan updated their corporate logo to match the same logo used by the main Universal Music Group company.[20] In that same year, Universal launched the Virgin Music Label and Artist Services.[21] The service was launched in many Universal subsidiaries, including Universal Japan.

In 2021, Yoshimoto Music signed a distribution deal with Universal Japan for future releases. In July 2021, CEO and president Fujikura was listed on Billboard's International Power Players list. In an interview with Billboard Japan, Fujikura shared about his measures on increasing streaming revenue and strategies to have Universal Japan artists chart overseas.[4] Universal Japan has since released previous releases of former and current artists under their labels worldwide digitally, including Hikaru Utada, Crystal Kay, Radwimps, Mrs. Green Apple, Che'Nelle and Ai.

In 2022, Fujikura was listed on Billboard's International Power Players list for a second year in a row. Fujikura became the first Japanese executive to appear on the list three times, including his first recognition in 2019.[22] In an interview, Fujikura discussed plans for creating new marketplaces in Japan and developing them overseas, particularly in the United States.[22] In September 2022, Travis Japan signed a record deal with Capitol Records, with distribution and marketing being handled by Universal Japan.[23] In October 2022, following the success of Uta's Songs: One Piece Film Red, Ado signed a record deal with Geffen Records alongside her current record deal with Virgin Music.[24]

In December 2022, Universal Japan announced an organization change, effective on January 1, 2023. Universal J, which was founded in 2002, was split into two labels, UJ and Polydor Records.[25] Imprints from Universal J including Johnny's Universe and Top J Records were transferred to UJ.[25] The company also announced Augusta Records would become an imprint of Universal Sigma.[25]

In April 2023, Fujikura was listed on the Billboard International Power Players List for a third year in a row.[26] In July 2023, Universal Japan announced a new imprint label under EMI, Holo-n, in partnership with Japanese virtual YouTuber agency Hololive Production.[27]


Current labels[edit]

Former labels[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "ユニバーサル ミュージック/オフィス オーガスタ 戦略的提携に向けた合意について" [Universal Music / Office Augusta Agreement on Strategic Alliance]. office-augusta.com (in Japanese). Office Augusta. December 28, 2016. Archived from the original on May 6, 2017. Retrieved May 20, 2022.
  2. ^ "Universal Music Japan President/CEO Naoshi Fujikura Talks Streaming, Learning From K-Pop & More". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  3. ^ "Billboard International Power Playersインタビュー vol.2 藤倉尚 ユニバーサルミュージック合同会社 社長兼CEO". Billboard Japan.
  4. ^ a b "Revealed: Billboard's 2021 International Power Players". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  5. ^ a b Schwartz, Rob. "Naoshi Fujikura Becomes CEO of Universal Music Japan". Billboard.
  6. ^ "Citigroup Sells EMI in Parts for $4.1 Billion to Vivendi, Sony". Businessweek.com. December 8, 2009. Archived from the original on November 12, 2011. Retrieved November 16, 2011.
  7. ^ Warner Music Group Wants Part Of EMI Archived July 6, 2012, at the Wayback MachineRadio-Info.com Archived October 31, 2011, at the Wayback Machine (released October 31, 2011)
  8. ^ Sisario, Ben (September 28, 2012). "Universal Closes on EMI Deal, Becoming, by Far, Biggest of Remaining Big Three". Mediadecoder.blogs.nytimes.com. Archived from the original on July 7, 2017. Retrieved December 30, 2016.
  9. ^ "役員人事のお知らせ". Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  10. ^ 新レーベル 「Virgin Music」 設立について. Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  11. ^ "ユニバーサル、4/15付組織変更および人事異動を発表 | Musicman" [Universal Announces Executive Appointments, Organizational Changes, and Personnel Changes on April 15]. Musicman (in Japanese). Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  12. ^ a b "ニュービジネス関連部門 組織改編について". Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  13. ^ "『UNIVERSAL-W』 誕生!". Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  14. ^ "Heatseekers Albums Chart". Billboard. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  15. ^ "Notice Regarding Head Office Relocation". Universal Music Japan.
  16. ^ "本社移転予定に関するお知らせ". Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  17. ^ Aysohmay. "Hilcrhyme's KATSU Arrested For Marijuana Possession + Group Dropped From Label". JpopAsia. Retrieved July 16, 2022.
  18. ^ "ウォルト・ディズニー・レコーズの日本国内における独占ライセンス契約を締結". プレスリリース・ニュースリリース配信シェアNo.1|PR TIMES. Archived from the original on July 16, 2019. Retrieved May 15, 2019.
  19. ^ "田口淳之介&小嶺麗奈容疑者、湾岸署に移送 顔上げ前を見据える". ORICON NEWS. Retrieved September 26, 2021.
  20. ^ "コーポレートロゴマークの変更について". Universal Music Japan (in Japanese). Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  21. ^ "Universal Music Group Launches Virgin Music Label And Artist Services". Universal Music Group. Retrieved September 26, 2021 – via www.prnewswire.com.
  22. ^ a b Tatsumi, Ryuji (August 9, 2022). "Universal Music Japan's Naoshi Fujikura Talks BTS' Big Year in Japan, Post-Pandemic Strategies & More: Interview". Billboard. Retrieved August 23, 2022.
  23. ^ "Travis Japan全世界メジャーデビュー決定、米国Capitol Recordsと契約(動画あり)". 音楽ナタリー (in Japanese). Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  24. ^ Luster, Joseph. "Ado Signs with Geffen Records to Release Music in the United States [UPDATED]". Crunchyroll. Retrieved November 9, 2022.
  25. ^ a b c "ユニバーサル ミュージック、1/1付の役員人事および組織変更と人事異動を発表 | Musicman" [Universal Music Announces Executive Appointments, Organizational Changes, and Personnel Changes on 1/1]. Musicman (in Japanese). Retrieved February 28, 2023.
  26. ^ "Billboard's 2023 International Power Players Revealed". Billboard. April 25, 2023. Retrieved May 4, 2023.
  27. ^ "ユニバーサル ミュージックとホロライブプロダクションが共同レーベル「holo-n」設立" [Universal Music and Hololive Production Establish Joint Label "Holo-n"]. BARKS (in Japanese). July 8, 2023. Retrieved July 13, 2023.

External links[edit]

35°40′14.8692″N 139°42′24.33894″E / 35.670797000°N 139.7067608167°E / 35.670797000; 139.7067608167