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Steve McClure

Steve McClure has lived in Tokyo since 1985. Formerly Billboard magazine’s Asia Bureau Chief, he now publishes the online music-industry newsletter

For Steve McClure's latest contributions to The Japan Times, see below:

| May 2, 2013

Universal-EMI is the dinosaur in the room

Last September, the European Commission and the U.S. Federal Trade Commission approved Universal Music Group's buyout of EMI. Since then, the two record companies have been merging their operations worldwide. In Japan, the combined Universal-EMI entity will have a market share of between 15 ...

| Apr 4, 2013

Barakan wants InterFM to dial down the talk

While station-surfing on my car radio several years back, I chanced upon a program about Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page. The disc jockey said Page's solo in "Stairway to Heaven" was among his best. The familiar strains of the Zep classic soon filled the air, and ...

Recochoku brings Japan further into the stream

Mar 7, 2013

Recochoku brings Japan further into the stream

Recochoku, a digital content aggregator owned by major Japanese labels, debuted a smartphone-based streaming service called RecoChoku Best on Tuesday. It's due to become available on PCs this summer.

Aug 9, 2012

Music industry takes baby steps toward digital content

Will it be the "carrot and stick" or just "the stick" that revives flagging digital-music sales in Japan? As in other major music markets, digital sales here — via PCs or mobile phones — have helped offset the slide in sales of physical product such ...

Warner's Ishizaka says 'exterminate' illegal downloads

Feb 2, 2012

Warner's Ishizaka says 'exterminate' illegal downloads

Not many music-business executives compare themselves to Oda Nobunaga or Napoleon Bonaparte. But Keiichi Ishizaka is not your average Japanese exec. He cites those two historical figures as role models as he begins his campaign to build up Warner Music Japan (WMJ) into one of ...

Saori Yuki wants a <em>kayōkyoku</em> wave

Nov 17, 2011

Saori Yuki wants a kayōkyoku wave

Defining kayōkyoku is like trying to nail down konnyaku. "Japanese standard songs" is veteran vocalist Saori Yuki's first stab at describing a musical genre that's easily recognizable but hard to construe. "Jazz-inspired Japanese pop songs for adults," she then ventures. Warming to her subject, Yuki explains ...

Go on, just say his name

Feb 18, 2011

Go on, just say his name

Miyavi is a guy you can read like a book — literally. The vocalist/guitarist's arms and torso are liberally decorated with tattoos that express his personal philosophy. His upper right arm, for example, bears the inscription "Tenjou tenka yuiga dokuson" (I am the one and ...

Local, foreign songwriters camp it up

Jan 28, 2011

Local, foreign songwriters camp it up

Early in the band's career, Rolling Stones manager Andrew Loog Oldham is reputed to have locked Mick Jagger and Keith Richards in a room and told them not to come out until they'd written their first song. The tune they composed in that inaugural writing ...

| Apr 14, 2010

Tech pushes Japan's music scene; industry won't budge

The music business reinvents itself every 20 years or so — basically every time a new format comes down the pike. But the industry has never faced the kind of fundamental challenge presented by the digital file-sharing revolution. The Internet looks set to destroy a ...