A new site has launched aiming to bring smaller Western artists to Japan to perform live. By adopting a crowdfunding system similar to that of Songkick’s Detour website, Alive aims to set aside the fears of both musicians and promoters about losing money on under attended gigs. Launched in October, the site is currently piloting its service with five indie acts that its team thinks will find a large enough audience to make the costly trip to Japan worthwhile, asking fans to commit to buying tickets for a show if the interest is strong enough.
So far two of those acts, Blue Hawaii and San Cisco, have hit their targets for ticket pledges, with XXYYXX and Crocodiles both currently less than 10% off completion. Nouvelle Vague are currently only halfway to selling enough tickets for a show next March, but if they don’t hit the target within the allotted time, it simply won’t go ahead and no one is out of pocket. The site was founded by Tokyo-based British gig promoter Sam Mokhtary, who tells The Japan Times: “A lot of people are losing money on shows [by foreign artists in Tokyo, and] a lot of artists which probably could come to the market aren’t being brought here. It seemed like a different kind of approach could benefit all”.
As well as Detour, Mokhtary says he was particularly inspired by Brazilian site Queremos!, which launched in 2010 and has been very successful. “It’s remote markets that need this kind of service”, he says. “That’s why Brazil is a great example. It’s hard to tour there, it’s hard to get in there and it’s expensive – it’s very similar to Japan. People are passionate about music there; people are passionate about music here”. Currently available only in Japanese, Mokhtary hopes to launch an English version of the site in due course, and to work with artists and promoters on a larger scale.