Label Bails Out Producer

An Avex Group Holdings executive came to the rescue of disgraced music producer Tetsuya Komuro during the second hearing of his copyright fraud trial in Osaka District Court March 13.

Komuro has been charged with selling the rights to songs he no longer owns for ¥500 million ($5.1 million).

During court proceedings it was revealed that Masato Matsuura, the president of Avex Holdings, which does own the copyright and operates Japanese music label Avex, has paid the plaintiff in the case the original amount of money he gave to Komuro for the rights, as well as ¥100 million in compensation and an additional ¥48 million in damages.

Japanese media expressed surprise because Komuro owes Avex some ¥700 million that the company had paid him in advances.

Matsuura explained in court that Avex, the most successful independent record label in Japan, would be nothing without Komuro. He wrote and produced almost all of the label’s biggest hits in the ’90s and helped pave the way for Avex’s three dance acts who dominate the charts today – J-pop divas Ayumi Hamasaki and Kumi Koda and R&B supergroup Exile.

Masuura asked the judge to go easy on Komuro, saying that he will have “a position … at the company directly under my control. If he is imprisoned, he will be cut off from society.”

Komuro and his wife are living at the home of another Avex executive, where the former pop god is said to be working on new music.