Hikaru Utada announces label transfer

Through her official website, Hikaru Utada has announced that with her Universal Music Group contract expiring, she will be moving to Sony Music Japan. Utada was originally signed to Toshiba EMI that was renamed EMI Music Japan following the selling of their remaining stake to EMI in 2007. In 2013, the label was absorbed into Universal Music Japan. In her message, Utada emphasizes that it is her first label transfer as an artist.

She expresses her gratitude to the EMI and Universal staff who have been involved in her activities up until this moment and says that she wants to keep tryin’ new things which means that a new record by her might come out sooner than we expect.

  • Comments

    • surfboardt

      rip her Youtube page for international fans based on other SMEJ acts.

      • honey girl


      • Kyle

        it’s so annoying. like they literally went out of their way to make sure a lot of proxys don’t work on their videos why what purpose does this serve?????

        • Michele

          I really, REALLY, don’t get what’s the reason behind all this effort to block their videos. God forbid that someone outside Japan might actually enjoy one of their acts.

          • ProllyWild

            Generally its a blanket effort to cover varying licensing and distribution agreements between publishers. Since many of the TV, radio and various media groups act as publishers and work with JASRAC to collect on royalties, they are rather strict on distribution and access of media abroad.

            I’d say in general, blame the publishers more than you should the labels.

    • Wow

      WOW, why? I know EMI was swallowed up by Universal, but she (and Ringo) are the “EMI girls.” Sad!

      • miliyah

        k trump let’s just wait & see before we judge

        • illastrate

          hyuck hyuck. Wait & See….I see what you did there.

          • surfboardt

            You might call it… A risk.
            /escorts self out

            • Dayse


    • miliyah

      netizens are saying universal is trash and sony is “clean” so she’s smart, anyone know the story behind why???

      • honey girl

        LOL I cant tell since a lot Sony’s artists have been ditching them for UM and other companies. Their artist list is the crapper with Nogi, Keya. and Kana giving them appearance.

      • J

        I don’t know about the history of Universal, but back when she announced her hiatus and Single Collection Vol. 2, Universal Music Japan announced Utada the Best without her approval. She went on Twitter, denounced the compilation, and told fans not to buy it. I’m sure her plan was always to escape the label once they gained control of her entire discography.

        • Just Tim

          Did that happen circa 2008/2009? That’s the same time Capitol/EMI was giving Katy Perry a push…in America, and even EMI FLAGGED AND BLOCKED Hikaru’s OWN YouTube channel. Ouch.

    • honey girl

      Here I thought nothing was going to keep her from leaving the ol gal. I really like UM too. They do a lot of cool things for their artists and seem to treat them well. And then there’s Sony. Shit company, with artists fleeing to UM. Hopefully Hikki retains control over her music that includes her YT page. I dont want to lose it. (TOT)

      • Sakura Harano

        Can’t be so sure with Sony, I’m sure it’s going to be region locked

    • Ikarifseiei

      I wonder why Utada chose Sony Music. I know Sony Music is big rather than Universal but the Sony Music region lock policy and their policy about international release are pretty suck

    • I wonder what sort of negotiation she made for this to have been agreeable to her, especially with her international interest (personally and fanbase-wise) and Sony’s extremely limited interest outside Japan (video region blocking). I don’t see her as someone that would settle not getting everything she wanted at this point in her career and the success of her most recent studio album. She did try to do something when one of her videos was released on Gyao, so I can see her doing that again.

      • Actually there were some cases when artists signed to Sony Japan could lift the blocking for their own yt channels. It happened to Boom Boom Satellites (signed to Sony’s gr8! records sub-label) when they launched their new, international channel a few years ago:

        • They were signed to JPU Records based out of London as well which I’m sure played a part in that

    • eplizo

      Smh. This better not make things harder for international fans.

    • Universal die

      Maybe her next album won’t sound as crap. Shiina Ringo needs to follow suit.

    • ProllyWild

      now it all makes sense. i was wondering why she was putting so much effort into recent promotions. Given that Sony is the only other label with a good artist image, and money to support her project, it makes sense Sony would be her pick. Sony could use the face as well.

    • Putinha Safada

      Utada is an FBI agent. She’s investigating the mafia behind labels. Next time she’ll go after avex


      • Just Tim

        Speaking of avex, I am old enough to remember when avex was the lion’s share source of licensed songs in beatmania IIDX. Even m-flo showed up on the 1st 3 styles (IIDX lingo for installment) of the franchise.

        Even sadder when you consider how BeForU transferred from Konami (read: they started in DDR and not to the attempted retcon claim of IIDX) and to add insult to injury, DDR NEVER received an avex-era BeForU song.

        My first reaction was like, “JTFC! Konami gave up BeForU to avex just for some Inuyasha song?” Silly pre-2010 American IIDX fanbase FAILED to realize their game started eating up MGS profits…

    • Michele

      Give me that Utada x Miliyah collab now.

    • PigeonPop

      Hmm. In retrospect Utada the Best really was the final straw then–she was just waiting until the contract was over. I’m definitely curious to see how Sony will (or not) accomodate her beat-to-my-own-drum style career she’s molded over the years, as they seem to be a lot more demanding than Toshiba EMI / Universal…

    • as for western compatibility,
      i’ve just collected her Fantome album and it’s really good to see that every title of every fucking song is written with fucking gaijin friendly kanji characters!! D:
      what a second class Shiina Ringo copycat, she has become!

      i hope her album iz gud.

      • HyperMoot .


    • Ryota

      Noo… Sony Japan is so fuck with internacional fans.. bye YouTube account 😭💔