Media December 2013

news in brief

Music Firm to Expand in Asia

London-based Spotify Limited has raised ¥25bn to expand its US operations and launch its music-streaming services in Japan, the London Evening Standard reported on 22 November.

The five-year-old firm employs over 100 staff at its headquarters in the Soho district, but has its research and development headquarters in Stockholm. Its services are available in 32 countries.

With the latest round of funding, Spotify is now valued at ¥4trn, according to The Wall Street Journal.

Although the firm’s revenue more than doubled to ¥60bn last year, Spotify’s UK division recorded a loss of £10.1mn due to investment and expansion.

Automaker Chief Cautions over EU Exit

Nissan Motor Corporation has warned it may “reconsider” its UK investments if the country decides to leave the European Union, the BBC reported on 8 November.

In response to a question on how Nissan would react if Britain withdraws from the EU, Chief Executive Officer Carlos Ghosn said, “If anything has to change we [would] need to reconsider our strategy and our investments for the future”.

He was speaking at the launch of the automaker’s new Qashqai model, which will be built at the firm’s Sunderland facility. The Qashqai is Nissan’s best-selling car in Europe. Ghosn added that he considers the exit scenario unlikely.

Survey Reveals Depression Stats

A recent study shows that Japan and the UK are among the few countries in which the population is affected by a lower-than-average number of years lived with depression, media reported on 6 November.

The study, published in the academic journal PLOS Medicine, said depression is the second-most-common reason for disability worldwide. It compared clinical depression with more than 200 other diseases and injuries.

It also revealed that rates of major depression are lowest in Japan. In the UK, the disease ranked third compared with other afflictions, in terms of years lived with a disability.

Rates of major depression were highest in Afghanistan and other conflict zones.

London’s Black Cabs Voted No. 1

Taxis in the UK capital have taken the prize for best in the world, with Tokyo trailing behind in third place, according to a survey from, Japan Today reported on 8 November.

This is the sixth consecutive year that London’s iconic black cabs have won the award. The city garnered 22% of all votes, while New York came in second with 10% and Tokyo third with 9%.

In the 30 countries surveyed, London taxis swept five of the seven categories, such as safety and knowledge of the area.

Rock Band’s Hit Album to Be Revived

Production is under way for a 40th anniversary edition of legendary British rock band Deep Purple’s Made in Japan album, reported on 22 November.

The live recording was originally issued in December 1972 in the UK, and featured music from the group’s performances over three nights that year in Osaka and Tokyo. Made in Japan went platinum shortly thereafter and reached No. 1 in several countries in the weeks to follow.

The anniversary edition compilation will be sold with remixes from the three nights’ shows, a new documentary and a 60-page booklet. The revival album is set to be released in March 2014.

Actress Receives Award

Jane Birkin was awarded the Japanese Foreign Ministry Prize on 14 November for her contributions in the aftermath of the Great East Japan Earthquake, Japan Today reported on 15 November.

Birkin immediately booked a flight to the disaster-struck area after hearing news of the quake and ensuing tsunami.

Her relief work included organising support concerts for those affected by the tragedy.

Anime Film Wins at Festival

Yasuhiro Yoshiura’s latest anime feature garnered two top prizes at the Scotland Loves Animation festival, the Asahi Shimbun reported on 18 November.

Patema Inverted is a story about a princess whose curiosity leads her to venture to a forbidden zone outside her underground world.

It won both the Judges Award and the new Audience Award at the animation festival held in Glasgow and Edinburgh during October.

Scottish Isle in Starring Role

The Isle of Skye was chosen as a backdrop for scenes in the upcoming film 47 Ronin, the Deadline Press & Picture Agency reported on 1 November.

When the London-based production team realised they did not have enough live footage from their time in Japan, they chose the Hebridean island as a stand-in.

The movie, starring Keanu Reeves, revolves around samurai warriors seeking revenge for the murder of their master.

Culture Group Opens Shop

Hyper Japan, the team that organises regular culture-themed conventions, has opened a new shop in Camden Town, according to a press release on 4 November.

The store serves as a retail centre for Japanese products, including snacks and kawaii (cute) merchandise, as well as a gathering place for enthusiasts of all things Japanese.

Hyper Japan chose Camden because it is the “hub of London’s street fashion and popular culture scene”. The team believes the location is strategic for its appeal to trend-conscious UK shoppers.