With international repertoire's share of the music market down to about 15 percent, it has never been harder to break foreign acts in Japan. And given the shrinking market for non-Japanese music, it seems quixotic to set up a company specializing in bringing foreign repertoire into the country — especially if the company in question is run by a non-Japanese.

Against those odds, transplanted Briton Andrew "Plug" Lazonby, has carved out a niche for his company, Hostess Entertainment, here in Japan. Hostess' forte is to spot acts that have got what it takes to make it in Japan and sign them before local labels catch wind of them.

Hostess — which Lazonby describes as a "local-services company," as opposed to a traditional label — has signed Franz Fedinand, the Arctic Monkeys, Radiohead, Moby and several other foreign acts for Japan. Labels with which the company has licensing deals include the Beggars Group (4AD/XL/Matador/Rough Trade), Domino, V2/Co-op, Secretly Canadian/Jagjaguwar, PIAS and Fat Possum.