Live Nation Japan

Japanese concert promoter Creativeman Productions announced Feb. 24 a joint venture with Live Nation to present both international and Japanese artists in the country.

Though the deal was alluded to by Creativeman CEO Naoki Shimizu last December at the company’s Christmas party, as Pollstar reported at the time, Live Nation didn’t confirm the tie-up until Feb. 23 when it announced the formation of Live Nation Japan.

Live Nation president Michael Rapino praised his new partner, “which has a long and proven track record of promoting major artists as well as developing highly successful festivals.”

Shimizu called the joint venture “an important milestone that opens up many exciting opportunities to leverage our capabilities. Creativeman and Live Nation Japan will together be able to bring more concerts to Japan, develop existing and new festivals and also leverage Live Nation’s vast experience of promoting some of the best tours globally.”

Creativeman is a the leading promoter of international artists in Japan, which is the second-biggest music market in the world. It promoted 290 concerts in 2011 of both international and Japanese artists, as well as four of Japan’s major foreign-focused music festivals: Summer Sonic, Springroove, Punkspring and Loud Park.

Japan becomes the sixth Asia-Pacific market for Live Nation.

Live Nation Japan will be headquartered in Tokyo and headed by Creativeman’s Frank Takeshita.

The office will promote Live Nation tours that come through Japan and help Creativeman “develop and expand” its festival work.

The Japanese market, regardless of the industry and business field, tends to be a tricky one for foreign companies due to both legal and cultural roadblocks.

In recent years, the concert business for international artists (excluding K-pop) has become more difficult thanks to popular trends that favor homegrown artists over international ones coupled with higher costs for bringing groups to Japan.

For years, other promoters in Asia were frustrated because Japanese promoters who dealt with foreign artists ignored their pleas to cooperate on expense-sharing in bringing major artists to the region, simply because Japanese promoters thought they could do it by themselves.

Now, they are starting to work with companies in South Korea and even China, especially during festival season.

The first Live Nation Japan production will be Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Ball May 10 in Tokyo.