National | Regional voices: Chubu

Nagoya student tracks classical and jazz gigs for music fans across Japan

Chunichi Shimbun

A student at Nagoya University’s Graduate School of Information Science has developed an online platform for music fans that keeps them update on classical and jazz concerts by musician and venue.

Kanji Toyama, 24, named the service Sonoligo after his startup Sonoligo Inc., which incorporates the words sono (sound) and ligo (connection) from Esperanto.

Sonoligo users, after registering for free on his website (www.sonoligo.com), can choose the musicians and concert halls they like, resulting in their concert schedules appearing on a customized calendar. They can also receive updates by email. A map feature shows the locations of concerts to be held on a given day.

The service is designed to help both fans and musicians. People seeking information on concert schedules, for example, can avoid checking multiple websites and flyers from the halls and clubs, as well the social media accounts of the musicians. At the same time, musicians who don’t belong to major talent agencies gain access to a useful promotional tool.

“Everybody had wished there was such a platform, but nobody had come up with it,” said Riko Matsuoka, a 27-year-old harpist studying at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland.

By using the platform, musicians will be able to attract new kinds of fans, she said.

Recently, many classical and jazz musicians use their individual social media accounts to notify fans of upcoming concerts. But such posts on Twitter and Facebook get buried and become difficult to find after a couple of days.

After officially launching in mid-November, Sonoligo has over 300 musicians, nearly 400 users and nearly 30 concert venues registered mainly in Nagoya, Tokyo and Osaka.

Toyama came up with the idea of developing Sonoligo while playing saxophone in competitions and concerts during his undergraduate days at Nagoya University.

“I felt it would be difficult to attract a wide audience and make a living as a musician,” he said.

After moving on to graduate school, he went to study in Germany. There, he was deeply impressed by the music culture, where people casually attended classical concerts after work and went out for drinks afterward.

“There are many talented musicians in Japan as well, but there was no platform to provide information on them beyond the genre of music,” said Toyama, who took leave from school after returning to Japan to establish Sonoligo with ¥500,000 in capital.

He developed the platform by making use of the computer science skills he had acquired in Germany.

He also plans to launch an all-you-can-listen-to service based on a fixed monthly fee that will offer live concerts designated by performers or concert halls.

“I want people to experience real music that you can’t feel at sites offering recorded music,” he said.

This section features topics and issues from the Chubu region covered by the Chunichi Shimbun. The original article was published Feb. 16.

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