EMI Music just signed best-selling Japanese singer Hikaru Utada to a worldwide deal.
Utada is one of the most successful singers of all time in Japan. According to EMI, 9.9 million copies of her 1999 debut album “First Love” were shipped domestically and abroad, making it the biggest-selling Japanese language album of all time.
Prior to EMI’s announcement, Utada had the unusual business arrangement of being signed to EMI for her Japanese language releases and Universal Music Group for her English language offerings. For the former she appeared under her full name Hikaru Utada, and for the latter she simply used Utada. Going forward all releases will come under the name Hikaru Utada.
In a statement, Roger Faxon, CEO, EMI Group commented, “We are very happy that EMI’s global network, expertise and passion will continue to contribute to and support the musical and creative vision of the superbly talented Hikaru Utada.”
The announcement comes after a series of events that raised questions about Utada’s career. In August she announced that from 2011 she was suspending all musical activities but would “come back more mature” at some undetermined date.
This might also explain why she used her Twitter account to advise fans not to buy her English language best of compilation album, slated for release on Nov. 24 by Universal.
EMI had previously announced it would release her second Japanese language best of collection, titled “Utada Hikaru Single Collection Vol. 2,” on Nov. 24. Her “Vol. 1” singles collection has sold more than 3 million copies, according to EMI.
Commenting on the situation Utada tweeted, “It’s not a good impression to release this the same day as the EMI Best.”