Warner Music Japan Chief Operating Officer Kazuhiro Shimada exits

Widely respected music executive Kazuhiro Shimada has departed his role as Chief Operating Officer of Warner Music Japan.

MBW understands that Tuesday (July 9) was the Tokyo-based exec’s last day at the company and that an official update is likely to be issued soon.

Shimada joined Warner Music Japan in November 2022 from Amazon Music Japan, where he served as Director & General Manager.

Previously, Shimada was Corporate Executive of Universal Music Japan, and prior to that, Vice President, Strategy of MTV Networks Japan.

Shimada has also worked at GAGA Communications, an independent film acquisition, marketing and distribution company.

Partnerships struck by Warner Music Japan in recent months include one with LAND, a creative house based in Jakarta, Los Angeles and Tokyo.

Warner Music also recently partnered with Red Light Management to expand opportunities for Red Light’s artists in Japan.

Warner expanded its global independent distribution division ADA into Japan in 2020, which is now led by Yoonsung Chu, who joined the company from Activision Blizzard

Japan is the world’s second-largest music market after the United States. The CD continues to be the dominant format in the market, which generated 139 billion yen (USD $860m) from CD sales in 2023, up 7% YoY according to RIAJ data.

Revenues generated by subscription streaming in Japan, meanwhile, reached 85 billion yen (USD $526m) in 2023, up 12% YoY.

Speaking with MBW at the start of 2023 for our World Leaders Series, Shimada said that, “Streaming adoption is now growing at a healthy rate [in Japan] and we expect this to continue over the next few years”.

He added that Warner Music Japan’s digital revenue is now larger than its physical revenue.

“Physical is still an important revenue driver, but we’re still fully focused on being a digital-savvy company, leading the way with innovative products and marketing campaigns,” he said.

Confirming the news of his departure in a social media post this week, Shimada said: “I would like to express my deepest gratitude to all my colleagues whom I have worked with, business partners, artists and artist managers who have supported me throughout the time.”

He added: “I plan to take a break for a while to recharge myself and look forward to the next challenge in the near future.”Music Business Worldwide

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