Avex Group Holdings Inc. (エイベックス・グループ・ホールディングス株式会社, Eibekkusu Gurūpu Hōrudingusu Kabushiki-gaisha), listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange as 7860 and abbreviated as AGHD, is the holding company for a group of entertainment-related subsidiaries based in Japan. The word Avex is an acronym of the English words Audio Visual Expert.
With leading producer's Tetsuya Komuro's assistance, Avex became Japan's leading dance record company during the 1990s, and continues producing and recording some of Japan's most famous pop singers such as Japan's highest selling solo musician, Ayumi Hamasaki. The company also provides theme music soundtracks to many anime and a few video games through its subsidiary Avex Mode.
Avex Group is mainly known in Japan because of its flagship music imprint, Avex Trax, which was founded in 1990. It is one of the top three record labels in Japan since the Komuro period, and is currently the biggest (14.7% of all recorded music sales as of first half 2013), ahead of Sony Music Entertainment Japan (13.0%), Universal Music Japan (9.9%), King Records (7.4%) and J Storm (5.9%).
Avex is an acronym of the English words Audio Visual Expert. Since its foundation, its corporate name was Avex D.D., Incorporated, and ten years later it was changed to Avex, Incorporated.
The current name, Avex Group Holdings, Incorporated, was adopted in 2004 as part of reconstruction process after Tom Yoda's resignation. Avex Group Holdings, Incorporated was used for the main subsidiaries, while the old name (Avex, Incorporated) was for entertainment components of the Group.
In 2005, Avex, Incorporated became Avex Entertainment, Incorporated, and stayed on as part of the Group.
1988-1999: The Early Years:
Avex was registered June 1, 1973 as Avex DD Incorporated (エイベックス・ディー・ディー株式会社, Eibekkusu Di Di Kabushiki Gaisha), although it did not become established until 1988. They began as a CD wholesaler based in Machida, Tokyo. In September 1990, they opened a recording studio and created Avex Trax as a music label. In the same year, they created "Musique Folio Inc.", a music publishing company, which later became "Prime Direction Inc."
In 1993, they transferred to Aoyama, Tokyo and created a U.S. branch, called "AV Experience America Inc." The year also marked the first of Avex's yearly events. It was held in Tokyo Dome under the name "avex rave '93" and attracted 50,000 attendees. This also marked the foundation of the Cutting Edge label.
In 1994, they formed two UK subsidiaries, "Rhythm Republic Limited" and "Avex U.K. Limited". Later that year, they opened a disco, claimed on their website to be "the world's largest scale disco", named Velfarre.
In 1997, they opened a series of concert halls called "Zepp" along with Sony Music Entertainment Japan.
In early 1999, they signed an agreement with Walt Disney Records and Hollywood Records to handle both companies' Japanese CD releases. Later that year "Avex Mode", an animation company, was established. In December, the company was listed on the 1st section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol 7860.
2000-2009: In Times of Unity and Divisiveness:
In 2001, Avex opened the "avex artists academy" music school.
In 2002, they released the "CCCD", a type of copy-protected CD, and opened their building in Aoyama, paid for by Sumitomo Life and worth 205 billion yen.}.
In 2003, they opened a classical music business (named Avex Classics).
In 2004, they began selling Japanese music CDs in South Korea and Avex President Max Matsuura "spotted" former-idol Ami Suzuki performing live at the annual festival of their school, Nihon University. He subsequently signed her to the Avex label.
In 2005, Avex acquired distribution rights for Aozora Records' catalogue including all future Hitomi Yaida releases.
In early 2008, Avex has partnered with Victor JVC to officially create the label D-topia Entertainment as a business partnership between the two labels and its founder, Terukado Onishi, with the sales promotion handled by Victor while the area promotion handled by Avex. Later that year, as part of the Avex Group's 20th anniversary celebration, the big project is occurring with avex trax's ever "produced by avex trax" artists, the band Girl Next Door formed and debuted in September 2008.
Avex Group also launched its own IPTV service, BeeTV, last May 2009 in partnership with NTT DoCoMo.
2004: Internal Feud : Max Matsuura v. Tom Yoda:
In August 2004, a feud between Max Matsuura and co-founder Tom Yoda almost ruined the group. It started because of Yoda's ambition to expand Avex into other entertainment-related ventures, especially producing movies. In addition, he accused Ryuhei Chiba, the company's executive director and also the president of Avex Inc. (now Avex Planning and Development), of pursuing personal profit from a few big artists.
July 30 - In a board meeting, Yoda introduced a resolution calling on Chiba to resign because of an alleged conflict of interest. A source says the disagreement arose because Chiba had signed an artist managed by a member of his family. The board backed Yoda's resolution in a 6-1 vote. However, Matsuura -- described by insiders as a close ally of Chiba -- then introduced a second resolution demanding that Yoda step down due to "a difference of opinion in management principles." Matsuura's motion was defeated 5-2. He and Chiba resigned the next day.
August 2 - Matsuura and Chiba announced resignation from their respective positions on a meeting with employees of Avex. Chiba denied any fault, while Matsuura complained that Avex had lost its love of music and said he wanted to start over. They had the support of many staff who also said they would quit. More significantly, the label's top star, Ayumi Hamasaki, also said would leave. As a result, Avex's stocks in the TSE fell by 16 percent that day.
August 3 - Due to pressure by employees and artists and to save the company from bankruptcy, Yoda resigned and was replaced by Toshio Kobayashi.
AGHD is also currently listed at the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and Börse München of Germany under the ticker symbol AX8.
More K-pop artists from other agencies continued to signed with Avex such as YG Entertainment's 2NE1 (2010), S-plus Entertainment's SS501 member Kim Hyung Jun (2011), Pledis Entertainment's After School (2011), NH Media's U-KISS (2011) and Yejeon Media's Shu-I (2011).
On July 21, 2011, it was announced that Avex had paired with Korean management label YG Entertainment to form YGEX Entertainment.
In 2012, the group began offering limited releases for sale, DRM-free for the first time within Japan on Amazon MP3. Max Matsuura and Toshio Kobayashi, the company's top two individual shareholders, launched their own investment companies to anchor their shares in 2012.
Also in 2012, they signed American group NRK(Nobody Really Knows). NobobyReallyKnows.com
In April 2010 - the Avex Group corporation was re-structured to establish Avex Music Publishing Inc. as a consolidated subsidiary, in a corporate spin-off of music publishing division of Avex Group Holdings Inc. Thus the Avex Group became a pure holding company, with a corporate structure as follows:
Avex Entertainment Inc. (エイベックス・エンタテインメント株式会社, eibekkusu entateinmento kabushiki gaisha)
Avex Broadcasting & Communications Inc. (エイベックス通信放送株式会社, eibekkusu tsūshin hōsō kabushiki gaisha),
Binyl Records Inc. (ヴァイナル レコーズ, vainaru rekōzu kabushiki gaisha),
Avex Management Inc. (エイベックス･マネジメント株式会社, eibekkusu manejimento kabushiki gaisha),
Avex Marketing Inc. (エイベックス・マーケティング株式会社, eibekkusu māketingu kabushiki gaisha) (Formerly Avex Distribution Inc. and Avex Marketing Communications Inc.)
Hatch Entertainment Inc. (ハッチ・エンタテインメント株式会社, hacchi entateinmento kabushiki gaisha),
Muzie Co. Ltd. (有限会社ミュージー, yugen gaisha miyūji),
Para.TV, Inc. (株式会社Para.TV, kabushiki gaisha para tivi),
Avex Live Creative Inc. (エイベックス・ライヴ・クリエイティヴ株式会社, eibekkusu raivu kurieitivu kabushiki gaisha),
Avex Planning & Development Inc. (エイベックス・プランニング&デベロップメント株式会社, eibekkusu puranningu ando deberoppumento kabushiki gaisha) (Formerly White Atlas Inc. and Axev Inc.),
Avex Music Publishing Inc. ( エイベックス・ミュージック・パブリッシング株式会社, eibekkusu myūjikku paburisshingu kabushiki gaisha) (Formerly Musique Folio Inc. and Prime Direction Inc.),
Avex International Holdings Singapore Pty Ltd. - Est. July 2013, management and supervision of Avex Taiwan and Avex Shanghai
Avex Taiwan Inc. - Est. July 1998,
Avex Shanghai Co Ltd - Est. February 2012,
Avex Hawaii Inc,
Dwango Co Ltd,
Hall Network Inc (owner of Zepp),
Label Gate Co Ltd (operator of mora),
Recochoku Co Ltd,
Avex Casa (house music and electronica),
Avex Classics (classical music),
Avex Club (compilation albums),
Avex Globe (globe's label),
Avex International (international releases),
Avex Trance (trance music),
Avex Trax (first record label of the Group (1990.09)),
Avex Tune (dance music),
Binyl Records (rock music)
Dive in! Disc,
Gokukara Records (joint venture with Marty Friedman),
Commmons (joint venture with Ryuichi Sakamoto),
Cutting Edge (second record label of the Group (1993.12)),
Disc du Soleil,
Dois Irmaos (Lisa Ono),
Dwango Music Entertainment (sister company of dwango.jp),
Enka! Avex (えんか!!えいべっくす, enka! eibekkusu) (enka),
Espionage Records (joint venture with Verbal),
Foxtrot (joint venture with Rams Incorporated),
FRAME (joint venture with Level-5; originally founded by the latter with Up-Front Works),
Hach Entertainment (joint venture with NTT SmartConnect),
HPQ (Visual kei),
Idol Street (for idol performers, launched October 2, 2010 by Tatsuo Higuchi),
Locomusic (Love-chan's label),
Love Life Records (hitomi's label),
Mad Pray Records (Anna Tsuchiya's label),
Oorong Records (joint venture with Oorong-sha Group),
Rhythm Zone (third record label of the Group (1999))
Starz by Rhythm Zone,
Tachytelic Records (joint venture with Taku Takahashi),
Tank Top Records,
The Six Dragons,
True Song Music (Dai Nagao's label),
YGEX (joint label with YG Entertainment),
Avex and East (joint venture with East Company),
Avex Broadcasting and Communications (joint venture with NTT docomo),
Avex Marketing (digital marketing and website hosting),
dwango.jp (20% Ownership),
mu-mo.net (Japanese)(own music store of the Group),
Avex Live Creative,
A stAtion (Ayaka's own record label), since 2012.,
AKS Co., Ltd. (AKB48's agency), since 2006. (Avex currently handles AKS' DVD releases.),
Aozora Records, since 2005.
GMT Records, since 2005.,
CAM Entertainment, since 2008.,
D-topia Entertainment,since 2008. (co-distributed with Victor Entertainment and Universal Music Japan),
Danger Crue Records, from 2006 to 2012. (now handled by Sony Music Japan),
Disney Music Group, since 1999.,
ISM Label (kannivalism's label), since 2006.,
HATS Unlimited (Taro Hakase's label)
Higashiyakena Soundbuilder (HY's label), since 2000.,
I Scream Records, since 2010. (Japan only),
Johnny & Associates (Taiwan and Hong Kong only)
P-Vine Records (co-distributed with Victor Entertainment and BMG Japan/Sony Music Japan)
SM Entertainment, since 2000.,
S2S Pte. Ltd. (Japan only),
Toy's Factory (Taiwan only, since 2012),
Vamprose, since 2008. (Vamps and Monoral's label),
Yamaha Music Communications Inc., since 2006.contemode,
Aoyama Christmas Circus (annual Christmas tree lighting event),
The Group is a member of the IFPI for Hong Kong and Japan.
Each year since 2002, Avex has hosted a summer concert tour around Japan, "A-Nation", featuring the company's most successful acts. It is held every weekend in August in different Japanese cities. Top Avex acts like Ayumi Hamasaki, Kumi Koda, AAA, Ai Otsuka, BoA, Do As Infinity, Hitomi, TRF, Every Little Thing and TVXQ perform to major crowds each year. In 2008, Namie Amuro made her first appearance at A-Nation and performed on all dates that year. For the first time in 2012, Koda Kumi did not perform due to her pregnancy.
Festival sponsors include Joe Weider and his Weider fitness products, Seven & I Holdings Co., NTT DoCoMo, Mizuno Corp., Nissay (through its You May Dream! Project), and others.
USA - Morgan Rich Corporation/Universal Music Group,
South Korea - S.M. Entertainment, YG Entertainment, KT Music,
Philippines - Universal Records,
Thailand - GMM Grammy,
China P.R. - China Record (Shanghai) Corporation,
Taiwan - Ocean Butterflies International,
Japan : Avex Building, 1-30 Minami-Aoyama San-chome, Minato-ku, Tokyo 107-8577,
China : Room 302, Tianhai Business Building, Block B, 107 North Street, Dongxi, Beijing 100007,
Hong Kong : Suite 03, 11th Floor, Exchange Tower, 33 Wang Chiu Road, Kowloon Bay, Kowloon