GOON TRAX and sister labels Fabtone Records, Radtone Music, Xtal Records and Pikachu Records are labels owned and operated under the umbrella of the publicly listed KADOKAWA, INC. company.
KADOKAWA, INC. was formed in 1986 and enjoys a strong, reliable reputation in Japan. With approximately 100 employees and an annual turnover of $US130million (fiscal 2005) it has in time developed a fantastic infrastructure to create and produce, publish, promote, sell and distribute and administer the unique range of DVD, Books, Magazine, Music CDs, Games, Magazines, Movies, Comics, Publishing etc that it handles. (Updated company information in English is available here:
Perhaps KADOKAWA, INC. is best known for their heavy involvement in the Pokemon phenomenon that has spread throughout the world, they also release the Phantom of The Opera DVDs in Japan, Lonely Planet travel books, Harry Potter toys and games and are one of the leading animation and comic producers in Japan.
Selection criteria for artists released on our music labels is simple – we source new and emerging artists with a sound that the music fans in Japan will dig. We release artists regardless of their stature overseas provided we believe their sound will work in Japan.
We pick bands/artists based purely on sound suitability for Japan and then back ourselves to develop the band in Japan through KADOKAWA, INC.'s existing infrastructure. Many unsigned artists, artists from small / tiny Indie labels, bands from many countries, bands that work hard and most importantly have "the sound for Japan" have been passionately released by us to date with great success.
To produce releases we have the full resources of KADOKAWA, INC. at our disposal. A team of designers is on hand at KADOKAWA, INC. to do CD/DVD/LP design and layout and promotional artwork, CDs and DVDs etc are pressed at Sony's pressing plant, Recording and Mastering facilities are available, the legal and accounts departments have dealt with foreign licensed releases of movies, books, music etc for many years and our reputation as a reliable business partner in Japan is untarnished.
Distribution for all releases is undertaken by the powerful JARED distribution company. KADOKAWA, INC. was a founding company involved in the formation of JARED. JARED is the same distributor used by companies such as Universal Japan, Sony Music, EMI, Polydor etc. Simply put, it is the strongest major distribution system available in Japan.
We use strong Indies Distributors and deal directly with Hip Hop / Vinyl specialist stores to ensure our releases are offered to specialist, grass route stores and online operators that may not be covered by JARED. This is important as the type of artists being released by us appeal to Indies music lovers as much as they do to mainstream-with-an-edge music fans.
No stone is left unturned when it comes to promoting releases from a grass routes level through to major opportunities. As our labels will limit themselves to one or two releases per month they are able to concentrate their entire efforts on these few select releases. This differs greatly from the other majors in Japan who are offering catalogues of releases every month and often not displaying passion unless a release begins to sell well. We are highly passionate about our releases each and every one of them, regardless of sales results is given the same effort. We feel a strong obligation to do our utmost for the artists they become involved with.
KADOKAWA, INC. has a team of sales people strategically placed throughout Japan to conduct sales presentations directly to key stores across Japan. This sales team takes each release's info and listening samples etc and presents them personally to the buyers at the stores.
The sales staff directly involved in our labels also back this up by conducting their own sales direct to select stores in major population areas. They present only the three to six artists we are releasing each month, once again this is a strategy not matched by any other major or indies label in Japan. Our sales people are first and foremost music lovers, they are young, many play in bands, passionate and can relate to and are often great friends with the young but powerful buyers in the key stores.
To promote releases we place advertising and also get interviews in several leading music and chain store magazines, music TV stations are provided with videos, suitable radio stations across Japan are presented with every release, online presence with both major and indie sites are targeted heavily, cell phone sites and download operators are provided with content, our own free papers are produced each and every month and sent out across Japan, and perhaps the strongest form of promotion in Japan , in-store displays are undertaken on a level that embarrasses the other majors in Japan. Reputable DJs are also furnished with all of our releases to ensure grass routes exposure.
We work extremely closely on in-store displays with major chains such as Tower, HMV, Tsutaya etc. The design team at KADOKAWA, INC. produces posters, place of purchase display boards and even hand write Indie style rack display card for applicable releases. We have an unlimited amount for store displays, the maximum stores will dedicate and charge* for each release is encouraged.
*In Japan most store displays are paid for, the area used for displays is rented out so to speak however the decision on which releases get and how much space are dedicated to displays is determined by the individual branch managers.
We will continue to redefine the way artists are developed in Japan. The music scene has changed dramatically in Japan over the past six years. The music fans in Japan are now targeting bands based on sound way more then hype. In days gone by bands from leading labels in the US and other territories sold well regardless of sound suitability for Japan. This is not the case anymore. Unsigned, unreleased foreign bands can sell extremely well in Japan now because the fans are ignoring the foreign hype and picking up on new artists based on the bands sound.
We will continue to scour the world looking for artists with "the right sound for Japan" and sell, market and promote the band on a major scale using the fantastic and unique infrastructure developed over twenty years in Japan. The approach to the bands sourced by us is not a blinkered one, if a major artist with allot of foreign hype, on a large foreign label has a sound that is right for Japan then they will also be targeted and developed and released with the same passion.