Meet the startup crowdsourcing Japanese demand for overseas musicians



See the original story in Japanese.

Tokyo-based startup Yuno Group today launched a crowdfunding site focused on live musical performances. It enables music fans in Japan to collaboratively invite their favorite artists from overseas. The new site is called Alive (

The number of live performance events hosting musicians from the overseas has been gradually decreasing. For those in the event business, there is always the risk of poor sales or way too many vacant seats, and that may scare organizers away from inviting niche artists. But this new crowdfunding platform receives ticket orders prior to organizing an event, and the artist will be invited when the number of advanced orders reaches a preset target. In this way, the platform reduces the chance of an unsuccessful event. It is a similar business model to on-demand theater service Dreampass which was acquired by Yahoo Japan back in March.

As of today, the platform has five crowdfunding projects available:

  • Blue Hawaii – An electronic music duo from Montreal, Canada. The band’s latest album Untogether features acoustic folk and electronic sounds.
  • San Cisco – An Australian four-piece indie pop band formed in 2009. Awkward, a single from their first album San Cisco, has over 5 million views on YouTube.
  • Crocodiles – An indie pop band from San Diego. Their sound has typically been likened to The Jesus and Mary Chain and Stone Roses because of their psychedelic pop style. They have performed all across Europe.
  • XXYYXX – A 17-year-old electronic musician and producer from Orlando, Florida. His style has been likened to James Blake and Burial because of his experimental lo-fi music.
  • Nouvelle Vague – A French pop cover band known for punk rock, post-punk, new wave, and their use of ’60s bossa nova-style arrangements.

The Alive team was founded by British neuroscientist Sam Mokhtary and Japanese UI designer Yutaka Fujiki. They are based at PAX Coworking, a space here in Tokyo. It seems their team is comprised of many people from music startup Nana.

In this space, we’ve already seen some websites providing showbiz-focused crowdfunding projects, such as UK-based Songkick and Brazil’s WeDemand (previously known as Queremos). The former raised $10 million from Sequoia Capital last year, which is a good indication of the potential in this sector.