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Adopting music and mobility for Tokyo living

November 2015

By Adam Kennedy, Tokyo

For someone that works quite closely with brands, and is a big advocate of a number of them, I can have quite an “anti-badge” attitude.  I am definitely not interested in conspicuous consumption and it is generally brands that offer something of an experiential value, or that are genuinely aligned to my interests, that grab my attention.  Here are a couple of brands that have achieved just that in 2015.

Spotify is the first brand that has become ingrained in my life.  Japan is a bit behind the curve when it comes to online streaming, as the music market is tightly controlled and CDs remain surprisingly popular and lucrative for the record companies.  When I returned to Tokyo in 2014, I was devastated to find that I could no longer access my Google Music account and I needed an alternative, fast.  I had never used Spotify, but it was top-of-mind due to constant exposure through Facebook.  It came highly recommended from some select Tokyo friends and it turned out to be the only accessible platform in Japan, so I signed up.  Now 16+ months later, what started out as a basic functional need, has become so much more.  I have poured hours of time and plenty of emotion into curating music & playlists that are instantly accessible, across devices, whenever and wherever an audio hit is required.  Apple Music and Google Music have recently launched in Japan, but they have their work cut out as Spotify is now the keeper of my musical moments and memories.

With my music supplier firmly established, I have been turning my attention to ways in which I can further enhance Spotify, and other audio, through a top of the range home speaker system.  One brand clearly stands out for me and that is Bose.  I first learnt of the brand as a boy and I clearly remember standing in awe of the sound being produced by a Bose entertainment system set-up in front of me as part of a store demo.  That experience obviously had a lasting impact, as over the years I have adopted the brand for my personal audio a number of times.  Bose has always delivered on its promise of better sound through research, so it naturally belongs within my consideration set for a bigger home audio purchase.  I recently had the chance to recreate my earlier experience at a Bose store in Shinjuku, and again witness first-hand the sheer power of Bose technology…I think my decision is made.

Another brand I plan to adopt in the near future is MINI.  Obviously a high involvement purchase that will require a lengthy decision making process, but MINI is the front runner as it goes beyond the functional needs expected of any car and delivers various emotional benefits.  Being British, MINI has always had a place in my heart, but the brand has been very successful in augmenting this through its unique expression of fun & performance and a credible alignment to my lifestyle.  MINI is active on social media, sponsors leading music festivals in Japan such as Big Beach, and collaborates on large snowboarding events like Burton Rail Days.  During the winter, MINI also has a targeted presence at popular ski resorts throughout Japan, such as Nozawa Onsen, to engage with me whilst waiting for first tracks.  All of this activity has resulted in a deep connection with the brand and the fact that they keep launching beautiful products, like the recent Clubman, only adds to the appeal.

Some difficult decisions ahead and a lot of saving required, but in 2016 a number of brands will join Spotify and become an integrated part of my life.

 

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