2cf3049eAuthors: Tim Craig and Lauren Jubelt
Published July 2016, updated July 2017.
Length: 13 pages (plus exhibits)

Johnny & Associates is Japan’s largest talent agency, specializing in developing, producing, and managing the careers of male “idol” groups such as SMAP and Arashi. Founder and president Johnny Kitagawa has pioneered a talent management system that has been widely imitated in other Asian countries and has led Johnny’s, as his agency is known, to a position of dominance in Japan’s pop music industry. But the music business is changing, Japan’s music market is shrinking, and Kitagawa is 84 years old.

Written to be used with Japanese Pop Music and Idols, this case challenges readers to wrestle with key issues that Johnny’s is facing: how to navigate a changing music industry, what overseas opportunities to pursue, and how to prepare for a transition of leadership when Kitagawa finally steps down.

Topics: Japanese music industry, Artist development and management, Male idol groups, Show business, Power and politics in organizations