MassiveMusic, a music and sound production agency based in Amsterdam, just opened an office in Tokyo to serve the Japanese and Asian markets.
The company was founded in 2000 and also operates in New York, Los Angeles, London and Shanghai, where it has scaled back its presence but is still active. Hans Brouwer, the Amsterdam-based founder and CEO, said in an interview at MassiveMusic’s new office in Tokyo's Minami Aoyama district that Tokyo will now be the focus for the agency’s Asian business.
Brouwer said MassiveMusic has strong relationships with agencies such as Dentsu and Hakuhodo, as well as domestic film-production companies. He said he had recently received an increasing number of requests from Japanese clients. MassiveMusic works directly with brands in a number of markets, and Brouwer said he sees that as a possibility in Japan too.
Like many international companies looking at Japan with renewed interest, MassiveMusic sees potential with the approach of the 2020 Olympics and Paralympics. The company was very active in China around the Beijing Olympics, working on major campaigns for sponsors such as Coca-Cola. But more than any single event, Brouwer said the Japanese working environment attracted him.
“It’s great working here,” he said, noting that the approach of clients tends to be more measured and detail-oriented than in Shanghai. “You have the loyalty of clients, the relationship between companies, but also on a personal and professional level, you have way more input back and forth so as to come to a good result. It’s not a case of lots of companies pitching and then seeing whatever comes, but a way more personal liaison. It’s way smarter [for clients] to invest in that contact and to go back and forth, instead of just throwing out a brief. That happens in a lot of markets and its not always satisfying for us as a music company, but Japan sets a good example.”
Junya Terui, managing director and executive producer in Japan, said MassiveMusic would also help Japanese clients working internationally. Other key Asian markets for the company are Singapore, Thailand and Korea, which it currently manages from Amsterdam but can now be managed from Tokyo, Brouwer said.
Terui said Japanese brands are gradually becoming less “isolated” and looking to bring more global influence into their work through music. Terui was formerly a producer at Syn, a rival music agency in Tokyo founded by Simon and Yasmin Le Bon and Nick Wood.
Looking ahead, Brouwer said an important area for MassiveMusic will be developing sounds to strengthen brand identity in the era of the internet of things (IoT). “When you have so many products interacting with each other, it’s important to have consistency through sound,” he said.
MassiveMusic Tokyo has a staff of three, including creative director and composer Rick Sakurai and business development manager Tamon Fujimi in addition to Terui. Brouwer expects to travel to the office several times throughout the year.