On August 18, a major move took place at TOBE, a new agency established by Hideaki Takizawa (41). IMP., a seven-member group belonging to the company, made its worldwide simultaneous distribution debut with the digital single “CRUISIN’.
The group had been performing as “IMPACTors” when they were Johnny’s Jr. They have a high level of dance ability, so we can expect great things from them in the future,” said an entertainment reporter for a sports newspaper.
At the Johnny’s s office, a CD debut has been one of the goals. This time, Takizawa took the “distribution debut” approach. This was something he had envisioned for many years. A source at the record company recalls, “Takizawa-san has been using the Internet for his music.
A source at a record company recalls, “We got the impression that Takizawa had been searching for a new form of entertainment since around 2010, when music distribution on the Internet began to attract attention. In fact, in 2010, he opened (now closed) “Taki CHANnel,” a service that distributes videos of appearances by Jr. Although it was a paid subscription service and the number of registrations was at a low ebb, he had his eye on distributing content on the Internet from an early stage.
Perhaps from that time on, there was a desire to “deliver Johnny’s songs to the world. However, the “reform” did not move forward much after that.
The Japanese music industry is a company that values its traditions. Johnny’s is a company that values tradition. For many years, CD debuts have made many songs hits, leading to the popularity of the group. In that respect, they may not have been able to immediately embark on online distribution, which is also risky.
The dream that Takizawa had envisioned did not come true for a long time, but in 2010, there was a turning point. In October of the same year, “Travis Japan,” Takizawa’s production company, made its distribution debut. The debut song “JUST DANCE!” did well, ranking 5th in the November 12 edition of the “Billboard Global Excluding US” ranking.
Takizawa has fulfilled his dream over the past 10 years. However, TV station insiders speculate that he may have been dissatisfied with some aspects of his performance.
Immediately after the debut of “Toraja,” Takizawa told those around him that his distribution debut was something to build on. He probably wanted to take his debut song with him on a world tour. However, a few weeks later, it was announced that Mr. Takizawa was quitting Johnny’s. The reason for his resignation is not known, but I think there was a part of him that felt incomplete.
Now, he has let his “student” go out into the world in a new place. Former “V6” member Ken Miyake (44) and former “King & Prince” members Shiyoh Hirano (26) and Yuta Jinguji (25) have joined “TOBE,” and there are high expectations for their distribution debut. In the future, online distribution of songs is likely to be a weapon for “TOBE”. ……
The Johnny’s office has become a global issue after the United Nations made reference to the “alleged sexual abuse” of the company’s founder, Janney Kitagawa (87 years old). This may have some impact on the company’s talent when they work overseas. In addition, “Arashi,” which has been on hiatus, shows no signs of resuming its activities, and “Kimpuri,” the company’s top earner, has had three members leave the group. Until now, TOBE had been a group of “quitters,” and it was hard to shake off the impression that it was a second-best of Johnny’s. However, IMP. However, if TOBE’s artists can achieve results on the world stage, starting with the debut of IMP., I think they will be able to distinguish themselves from their old firms.
Takizawa’s distribution debut may be, in a sense, a “challenge” to Johnny’s. What direction will his “dream story” take?
PHOTO： Makoto Kuwata