Takasaki, the only Japanese municipal music studio, has reportedly announced plans to launch a music label as part of a bid to help raise the profiles of local artists across the world.
The Tago Studio Records Takasaki label was created this month by Tago Studio Takasaki, run by the city of Takasaki in Gunma Prefecture, to the northwest of Tokyo. The ‘music city Takasaki’ initiative is a massive effort to find exceptional amateur musicians performing throughout the prefecture and help them turn into world-class performers.
According to reports, a song from the label's first artist has already been released, and those engaged with the project are optimistic about its prospects.
Mayor Kenji Tomioka stated that he looks forward to the times when the name ‘Takasaki’ reminds people of the ‘Takasaki sound’, similar to the way ‘Memphis’ reminds people of Elvis Presley.
Tago, who was appointed as the new label's ambassador, made a resolution to promote up-and-coming musicians and artists up-until their industry debut, ensuring that the 'Takasaki sound' reaches the globe.
Kie Anderson, the label's first singer-songwriter, was present at the launch event. Anderson, who was born in Annaka and now lives in Takasaki, earned the top prize in the 2019 audition, which attracted applications from 1,027 groups. Anderson stated that her goal is to become as popular as Michael Jackson.
At the launch ceremony, Anderson sang her debut single "Pink Lemonade", garnering an energetic applause from the audience in attendance. All leading music streaming platforms such as Apple Music, Amazon Music, and YouTube have the song.
In March of 2014, the one-of-a-kind municipal music studio opened its doors. The ¥125 million (approximately US$1.1 million) cost of establishing the studio was funded by a ¥250 million (about US$2.2 million) grant to the municipal government by a benefactor who stated that the money should be used for youth culture.
More than 250 songs produced by big labels have been recorded at the studio. In 2016 and 2019, the studio organized auditions to find exceptional musicians, and over 1,000 bands registered each time.