Hokuo Music Fest

Trade mission 2

Hokuo Music Fest – Tokyo, Japan

Wednesday 16th – Saturday 19th November 2016

Hokuo Music Fest will return in 2016 to present its fifth edition, bringing Nordic music and industry members to Tokyo for a series of networking events and performances between the 16th – 19th November.

The event itself takes place over 3 days and comprises a Nordic – Japanese Trade Day, tailor-made seminars and live showcase events presenting Nordic artists to Tokyo’s industry and music fans. 

The concept of Hokuo Music Fest was first introduced in 2012 when the Nordic showcase Hokuo Music Night joined forces with a metal showcase previously organised by the Finnish export office. ‘Hokuo Music Night’ focusses on indie and electronic music, and ‘Loud & Metal Attack’ presents artists hailing from the metal genre. The previous editions of Hokuo Music Fest have proved very successful, so in 2016, the Nordics will continue to introduce exciting emerging music from the region to the Japanese market and to continue building international music industry networks together.

Why participate in Hokuo Music Fest?

The Japanese music market is the second largest in the world, and physical recordings still make up around 90% of sales.

For many, the market of Japan can seem a daunting one to approach due to cultural and linguistic differences, as well as a music market which differs greatly to those of other territories. As such, Hokuo Music Fest was developed to provide Nordic professionals with an opportunity to access this market through introductions to and collaborations with some of the Japanese industry’s key players, as well as providing networking opportunities, informative seminars and a wealth of experience and knowledge in order to facilitate orientation of this unique market.

Hokuo Music Fest’s local partner is Creativeman, who host some of Japan’s biggest festivals (Loud Park, Summer Sonic) and arrange most of the international artists’ shows in Japan. This collaboration makes the showcase a very interesting opportunity for artists and teams looking to make first steps into Japan’s live market.

Trade Day

Along with live showcases, Hokuo Music Fest incorporates a 4-hour trade day in the centre of the Shibuya district, a central location for Japanese music industry. Key Japanese labels, publishers and media will be invited to participate this year, following great success in previous years.

Each year, over 50 Japanese professionals from labels, distribution companies, publishers and media participate in the trade day, meeting and establishing connections with Nordic music companies. Each Nordic representative will have access to their own table at the fair to be able to promote their products, and translators will be on hand to help with communication.


Hokuo Music Fest also plays host to a seminar where Japanese music industry professionals will provide tailor-made presentations to introduce our Nordic participants to the special and unique music market operating in Japan.

Five speakers will appear at the event, which in previous years has hosted presentations on subjects such as “International artists working with an indie label in Japan”, “Sync in Japan” and “Publishing in Japan”, with guest speakers from the likes of Universal Music Japan, RIAJ and Sony Music Publishing taking part.


A reception is hosted in collaboration with the Nordic Embassies in Tokyo as part of Hokuo Music Fest. Select Japanese professionals and Nordic delegates are invited to attend an intimate reception hosted by NOMEX, allowing further networking opportunities and the chance to liaise with a different pool of contacts to those attending the day time activities.


“If there were not trade missions like this, our chances for learning about these music markets and presenting our music to the right influential people, would be very small, if not non-existing.”
– Morten Winther / Copenhagen Records, DK (Creative Director)

“Well driven, relevant and super professional seminar, which managed to give me an extensive view and know-how in a few days on how the Japanese music business works.”
– Kristian Nyholm / Fake Diamond Records, DK

“The best place to meet the top Japanese players, as well as the most dynamic players of the Nordic music business.”
– Ole Dreyer / Nordic Music Society

“Hokuo Music Fest was a mind-opening experience in a market few of us know much about, but hope to penetrate so much. With professional guidance we got to meet not only relevant but also alternative business partners to help grow and nourish my own business.”
– Mirza Radonjica / Prime Collective, DK


Ja Ja Ja – presented by Hokuo Music Night, an evening focussing on indie/pop performances, and Loud & Metal Mania, a metal showcase, are the two events that make up the live section of Hokuo Music Fest, allowing artists from the Nordic region the opportunity to perform in Tokyo at an event arranged by one of the country’s biggest promoters, Creativeman (Summer Sonic, Punk Spring, Loud Park festivals).

Previous editions of the festival have boasted line ups featuring FM Belfast, Jaakko Eino Kalevi, NONONO and more – for more information about applying to play at Hokuo Music Fest, please contact your relevant Export Office (contacts below). Applications to perform close on the 25th March.


Hokuo Music Night
Husky Rescue [FIN]
Kira Kira [ICE]
Lars and the Hand of Light [DEN]
Lo-Fi Fink [SWE]


Hokuo Music Night
French Films [FIN]
FM Belfast [ICE]
Intertwine [NOR]
Axl Smith [FIN]

Loud & Metal Mania
Battle Beast [FIN]
Whispered [FIN]
Smash Into Pieces [SWE]


Hokuo Music Night
Oyama [ICE]
Jaakko Eino Kalevi [FIN]
Nabiha [DEN]
Christopher [DEN]

Loud & Metal Mania
Khroma [FIN]
Shear [FIN]
Nitrodive [SWE]

Songwriting Camp

A songwriting camp has been hosted in collaboration with Sony Music Publishing Japan in previous years, and will return to the Hokuo Music Fest programme in 2016.

Songwriters from each Nordic country have participated, and this year, a variety of Japanese publishers will be involved in this exciting project, as well as Japanese J-pop record label A&Rs. Nordic songwriters are invited to apply to participate in the Songwriting Camp by contacting their local Export Office (contact email addresses can be found below).

Contacts, Artist Submissions and Travel Details

Contact Addresses:

For more information about Hokuo Music Fest, please contact your local music Export Office using the email addresses below.

Denmark: Thomas Rhode – Email
Finland: Riku Salomaa – Email
Iceland: Anna Ásthildur Thorsteinsson – Email
Norway: Karoline Røed Tønnesen – Email
Sweden: Jesper Thorsson – Email