Japan is the world's second largest music market, and live music entertainment forms an important segment of that market. In 2015, the domestic market for live music entertainment grew 25 percent over the previous year to a new high of 340.5 billion yen, according to data from the Pia group
. Additionally, the market for live anime song entertainment grew 73 percent to 14.8 billion yen in 2015.
Pia's main business is the sale of entertainment tickets through its advance sale system Ticket Pia. Since the group began collecting data in 2000, attendance at live music venues has reached a record high, with almost 45 million people attending live music events in 2015. This figure is almost double the annual average throughout the 2000s.
With more people attending live events, venue operators see an opportunity for growth domestically and abroad. Concert venue operator Zepp Hall Network opened a 2,800-seat music hall in Osaka in February and plans to add venues in Fukuoka in 2018 and in Yokohama in 2020. Zepp also announced last month it will open new music venues in three Asian countries by 2020.
The first of Zepp's overseas venues is located in Singapore, which will hold its grand opening on June 4, 2017, with a concert by rock band RADWIMPS
. As reported by The Japan Times
, the band played a key part in contributing to the success of last year's anime box office hit Kimi no Na wa.
The Singapore venue is part of the larger Big Box retail complex in Jurong East (pictured) which features a hypermarket and restaurants.
Zepp, a subsidiary of Sony Music Entertainment Japan
, has worked with events company Sozo in the past to bring Japanese entertainment acts to Singapore. Sozo organizes the annual Anime Festival Asia, the largest anime convention in Southeast Asia, and has arranged solo concerts by anime song artists such as EGOIST
. In a report by The Straits Times
, Sozo managing director Shawn Chin says he believes Japanese artists may be more receptive to working with a Japanese venue operator as the company tries to bring in more acts.
SMEJ also echoes Sozo's optimism and hopes Zepp's venue, with a capacity of 2,333 seats, will be used for AFA-related concerts in the future. "One of the advantages of AFA is that it has a strong attendance base in the region who love anime and anime song artists," one official says in a statement provided to MyAnimeList. "So we, SMEJ and Zepp Hall Network, want to increase the utilization ratio of the Zepp venue using AFA's marketing abilities."
Construction and management of Zepp's overseas venues will be supported by the government-sponsored Cool Japan Fund. According to the Nikkei Asian Review
, the public-private investment fund will pay 5 billion yen in June for a 49-percent stake in Zepp Hall Network.
After Singapore, the next venue will open in New Taipei in April 2020 with a capacity of 2,200 seats. Zepp New Taipei is part of a 21-story mixed development complex housing upscale condominiums and government offices, according to Taiwan's Apple Daily
. Malaysia's The Star
reports the third venue, with a capacity of 2,500 seats, will open later that year in Kuala Lumpur on a 20-year lease to Zepp.
SMEJ and Zepp have told MyAnimeList they are also currently exploring other Asian markets including Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, Hong Kong, and South Korea for this project. According to the Nikkei Asian Review
, venues in these five countries are planned to open by 2023.
Original reporting by arsonal for MyAnimeList.