Japanese music label pulls out of Singapore and region

Artists managed by S2S include home-grown Mandopop singer Tay Kewei (above).
Artists managed by S2S include home-grown Mandopop singer Tay Kewei (above).PHOTO: ST FILE

Singapore-based Japanese music label and artist management company S2S and its distribution arm, Sense Corporation, have shut down their businesses in Singapore and the rest of South-east Asia, as well as in Hong Kong and Taiwan.

The company, which has an office here, has released music by home-grown and Singapore-based acts, such as Mandopop singer Tay Kewei, Campus Superstar 2013 winner Bonnie Loo and a cappella group MICappella.

Life understands that it ceased its operations on Sept 31.

It also had regional artists such as Filipino singers Aiza Seguerra and Lani Misalucha. S2S and Sense also distributed albums by foreign jazz artists, including Canadian jazz vocalist and pianist Carol Welsman and British jazz saxophonist and percussionist Jim Tomlinson.

Loo, whose self-titled debut and only album was released by S2S last year, is looking for a new label, according to her manager. She adds that Loo's contract with S2S ended about the same time the company folded.

S2S had recently branched out to include less mainstream music in its repertoire. In June, it released an SG50 themed compilation, State Of Rock, which comprised songs by 30 independent Singapore artists, including rapper Shigga Shay, The Observatory frontman Leslie Low, electronic music duo Octover and soul-jazz band The Steve McQueens.

The company's management said in a statement: "We have decided to cease all businesses and operations across South-east Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan due to the music downturn. We are in talks with a couple of labels on selling our back catalogues."

According to its website, S2S started out as an artist management company and production house in Singapore in 1997, and was formed by the late Ken Suzuki, co-founder of successful Japanese independent record company Avex Trax.

Two years later, S2S Inc was formed to handle distribution, artist management and publishing in Japan.

Sense Corporation was formed to handle distribution in Singapore and across Asia.

The company also has several sub-labels for different genres. Smoove Records, for example, handled funk, soul and easy- listening releases, while Absolute Audiophile focused on high audio- quality releases.

Commenting on S2S's departure, Warner Music Singapore general manager Simon Nasser says that while music businesses are often run by people who are passionate about music, profit and loss is also important factor.

"The business is evolving and companies' focus changes and becomes different over time."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 28, 2015, with the headline 'Japanese music label pulls out of Singapore and region'. Print Edition | Subscribe