The notorious internet shy J-pop talent agency Johnny & Associates (Johnny's Jimusho in Japan) is launching its own channel on YouTube.
The company founded in 1962 has produced some of the most popular groups in and from Japan including Arashi, SMAP, KinKi Kids, and KAT-TUN.
The move to open a YouTube channel came as a surprise, especially to fans of the artists under the agency. Johnny & Associates had, in the past, refused to allow photos of its talents from press conferences to be published online and has since kept all of its artists from using social media.
The agency lifted some restrictions regarding the use of the images of artists under its management on the internet in January. The company took a while before it opened itself up to the rest of the world via the web.
The Johnny & Associates YouTube channel, which will be called Johnny's Jr. Channel, will feature artists from Johnny's Jr., which handles younger talents. The channel will go online on March 21 and will be available to everyone anywhere in the world.
"Johnny's Jr. Channel features an array of contents including performance videos, behind-the-scenes footages, entertainment shows, and exciting challenges," the press release revealed.
"Something new with exciting content is posted almost everyday so every audience including fans of Johnny's artists and day-to-day YouTube viewers can enjoy the channel. Johnny's official YouTube channel kicks off with self-nominated Johnny's Jr. artists — HiHo Jets, Tōkyō B Shōnen, SixTONES, Snow Man, and Travis Japan taking turns each day of the week to compete against each other for more audience views."
In addition, the company revealed that plans to launch a YouTube channel started around two years ago, but was only approved last year. Johnny & Associates eventually decided to make their content available on the internet to prevent fans from watching illegally uploaded videos online.
Yato Nasu of Tōkyō B Shōnen is excited to debut on YouTube.
"For YouTube, we will try to show another side of Tōkyō B Shōnen, our true characters which are not always portrayed on TV programs and magazine articles. We will also try to answer audience demands to break new ground," he explained. "We hope our fans will enjoy as much Tōkyō B Shōnen as possible, whenever they want. We look forward to building an even more intense relationship with our fans! We will create content for the new generation!"
Making their artists available to the rest of the planet via the world wide web would not only be beneficial for Johnny & Associates. In the age of online streaming, artists from Korea or Latin America have permeated the mainstream airwaves and dominated songs charts in the past.