Finnish and Estonian music industries join forces to increase the export capabilities in Japan

20 December 2016

The Finnish and Estonian music industries have joined forces to increase the export capabilities of musical talent and music companies to Japanese market under a joint endeavour Finest Sounds.

The objective is to bring more high quality Finnish and Estonian music to the second biggest music market in the world, incorporating the other fields of culture and business operations in the mix – from visual arts and design to technological deeds.

Japan has been strong market area for Finnish music since Hanoi Rocks’ sold out concerts in the 1980s to the success of metal bands like Children of Bodom, Sonata Arctica and Stratovarius and recent deal of folk duo Kardemimmit with Japan’s largest department store. Estonian indie labels Seksound and Õunaviks have developed tight distributional and licensing ties in Japan during the last ten years, and Estonian choral singing has had its own accomplishments there.

However, the objective of Finest Sounds is to broaden and extend the music export by helping the companies and artists that are already established in Japan to grow their business as well as making the entry to the marketplace easier to the new companies and artists.

A joint collaboration between organizations and enterprises like Music Finland, Music Estonia, Tallinn Music Week and Music & Media Finland in cooperation with partner universities HUMAK, TAMK and Tallinn University BFM will shape these endeavours into a stronger strategic effort of joined forces for the two Nordic countries. Aside the music sector, successful export stories from the Moomins to design, cosmetics, food, technology and timber produce, indicate the Japanese market’s latent interest in Fenno-Nordic brands and culture. The Finest collaboration will attempt to create a music driven collaboration platform to all.

The project aims at developing new cooperation models and cross-sectoral value chains between music sector and sectors already successfully exporting to Japan (e.g. Finnish and Estonian design, lifestyle brands and technology companies) in order to enhance both parties visibility and to boost sales in Japan.

Additionally, the project tests out an innovative collaboration model between universities and export companies, developing a co-creation platform where university students help businesses in designing new marketing tools – concepts and demos for entering the Japanese market.

“I am really excited about the FinEst project and believe that it can offer a lot of value and possibilities to Estonian and Finnish music companies and artists,“ enthuses the project’s music business expert and coordinator Tapio Korjus from Finnish Rockadillo Records. “The concept of collaboration with both brands and students is unique and innovative. On the business side we have the best possible teams and platforms from both Estonia and Finland, and the universities and students bring in additional resources and new out-of-the-box ideas as well as deeper understanding of the Japanese market to the companies and artists involved. Music Estonia and Music Finland are now starting to recruit potential companies to the project and this month we are meeting top level Japanese music business people about their possible involvement in the Finest Sounds project”, he adds.

Over the course of 3 years (2016 – 2019), the project brings together 45 Finnish and Estonian music companies and artists, plus 20 companies from other sectors, providing them training, matchmaking, networking and knowledge-sharing opportunities.

The central part of the project is the export accelerator programme, which aims at increasing the market-entry readiness and culminates in the showcases and sales trip to Japan in 2018 (at Slush Tokyo conference).

Activities of the project are co-financed by the Central Baltic Programme 2014-2020.

About the partners:

TAMK is one of the largest universities of applied sciences in Finland, providing education for 10 000 students in 17 bachelor and 15 master’s degree programmes. In the field of culture, the focus is on developing the international competitive strength of the cultural products.There are two international bachelor programs that are linked directly to music export activities through a 30 ECTS Cultural Export module (DP in Media and Arts/Music Production; DP in International Business).

Suomen Musiikki & Media -Tapahtumat S.M.M. Oy (est. 1989) organizes annually Music & Media Finland, the main event of the music business and related industries in Finland. Music and Media Finland collects over 800 participants all over the world to network and to hear about the current issues related to the music and media industry.

Humak is a strong expert and leading educator in the fields of humanities and pedagogy and cultural management in Finland. The Unit of Research, Development and Innovation (RDI)
enhances the entrepreneurship in the field of creative industries and cultural management. The RDI Unit Humak brings together different creative industry actors and is one of the main
development organisation of creative industries.

Music Finland promotes Finnish music and facilitates music export activities to international markets. The organization possesses vast experience of working in the Japanese market, having coordinated export trips, seminars, artist showcases, songwriting camps and sales events in Japan for several years.

Music Estonia, founded in 2014 by 23 music companies of various sizes and functions, promotes Estonian music and facilitates music export activities to international markets. Music Estonia holds a high competence in the field of modern music industry practices, business and product/services development and is in close contact with the Estonian music industry sector. ME provides a set of development programs and services aimed at enhancing the music companies’ business capacity.

Tallinn Music Week / Musiccase Ltd (est 2009) – annual new music and urban culture festival Tallinn Music Week (TMW) aims to shore up and define a new identity for the region,  supporting networking possibilities with the European music industry executives, especially in regard to Baltic, Russian, Nordic and Eastern European artists.

Tallinn University Baltic Film, Media, Arts and Communication School (BFM) is the largest international media higher educational institution in the Baltics. The studies of communication and media are provided at the BA and MA levels (incl.journalism, TV production, advertising, cross-media, main subjects of film production etc.). Altogether 1130 students study at BFM, 320 of them studying in English. The studies of art and music are mainly focused on training the teachers of those subjects.

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