Japanese Pop Music Eyes Global Audience

Published March 22, 2024

As a new wave of Japanese pop, or J-pop, artists look beyond their domestic market, Japan's position as Asia's top music market is leading the charge in exporting pop culture. At a music festival for Korean pop (K-pop) in Los Angeles, the all-Japanese group XG captured the crowd's attention with their electrifying performance, emulating the style and intensity of K-pop groups despite their nationality. The group, trained by a Korean-Japanese producer, is among several Japanese acts looking to capture audiences worldwide.

Adopting K-pop Strategies

XG, despite being a Japanese music group, has taken cues from the K-pop industry, known for its global appeal. The group has gone through years of rigorous training and debuted internationally, aiming to reach fans across the globe. They've performed in places ranging from New York to Abu Dhabi and are planning a global tour. This suggests a strategic shift for J-pop artists, looking to emulate the success of K-pop by expanding their reach to international markets.

An Evolution in the Japanese Music Industry

The Japanese music industry has primarily focused on its domestic audience, where it thrives as the world's second-largest market. However, the industry is in a state of evolution with a rise in digital revenue. This has allowed J-pop music to travel further and gain more international listeners—an opportunity previously missed by the controlling practices of impresario Johnny Kitagawa.

The Rise of New Talent

With the fall of Kitagawa's empire, new Japanese groups and artists are emerging, gaining followers through modern platforms like social media and streaming services. This shift has enabled new successes, such as XG outpacing legacy groups on YouTube and artists like Yoasobi and Ado breaking into large markets, including the US.

Capitalizing on Anime's Popularity

Anime, a worldwide cultural phenomenon, is being leveraged by Japanese artists like Yoasobi and Ado, linking their music to this popular medium. With anime's help, they're attracting attention on global platforms and embarking on international tours, marking significant steps in Japanese pop music's international exposure.

Creating a New Genre

Japanese artists are innovating their music by blending styles and creating new genres such as 'X-pop.' This is indicative of a broader trend within the Japanese entertainment industry, where companies like Lapone and XGALX are collaborating to reinvent and mainstream this new sound.

Competition and Ambition

As Japan opens up its music for international consumption, it now competes with South Korean entertainment giants who have established their presence in Tokyo. Meanwhile, Japanese artists like XG are aiming high, with dreams of performing at major events like the Super Bowl, showcasing their ambition to make a mark on the global stage.

Japan, J-pop, Global