Cannes 6 June 2018 – Last night, ICMP presented Japanese music publishing icon Misa Watanabe, with the 2018 ICMP Ralph Peer II Award for Outstanding Contribution to Music Publishing. ICMP Chair Chris Butler presented the award at a gala dinner held during Midem. The ceremony was attended by music publishers and senior industry executives from across the world.

Misa Watanabe is one of an elite group of music publishers who has been at the top of the industry for decades. In 1962, with her late husband Shin Watanabe, she founded Watanabe Music Publishing, which was the first company in Japan to offer full copyright administration services for every music title registered in the country. The publishing house has been pivotal in providing economic stability to Japan’s music publishers.    

Under her guidance, Watanabe Music Publishing was instrumental in breaking English pop band Queen in Japan, greatly enhancing the group’s worldwide appeal. Misa also oversaw the licensing of music catalogues of David Bowie and Deep Purple while her company also scored the Les Misérables music catalogue. In addition, she served as the popular music producer for Expo 70, the world’s fair exposition held in Osaka in 1970.

Misa currently chairs the Watanabe Production Group, which today comprises 10 multimedia companies and two foundations. She also serves as Director Emeritus of the Music Publishers Association of Japan (MPAJ).

On presenting the Award, Chris Butler, Chair of ICMP said: “On behalf of ICMP and our music publisher members across the world, I am delighted to present Misa Watanabe with this prestigious award. Misa is universally admired and respected across our industry and her years of dedication to developing and protecting the works of composers and authors make her a worthy recipient."

On receiving the Award, Misa Watanabe said: “I am overwhelmed and tremendously honoured to receive this very special and most personally meaningful award. I am most grateful to Ralph, Chris and the members of the ICMP board and of course all of the ICMP members around the world, many of whom with I have enjoyed the most valued of relationships. I am here because of these relationships and am very grateful and thankful to everyone for their friendship, support and trust over all of these years. I am humbled by the recognition and believe that with a little gratitude and imagination, there is still much more we can all accomplish together. I thank everyone for this wonderful award and beautiful evening, which will always be one of my fondest memories.”

Ralph Peer II, Chair and Chief Executive Officer of peermusic and ICMP Board Member added: “I am personally delighted that the ICMP Board has put this award in the hands of a most deserving and worthy candidate. I have had the honour of working with Misa over many years — through her work with publishers, composers and diplomats abroad she has helped to shine a spotlight on the Japanese music market. Misa is well-deserving of this distinction and she is a person who has made a difference.”

Misa was selected from nominees submitted by ICMP member organisations in over 70 countries. She is being honoured for her enormous impact on music publishing in Japan, France and indeed, across the world. 

The ICMP Ralph Peer II Award for Outstanding Contribution to Global Music Publishing was initiated by ICMP in 2013 and named after its first honouree Ralph Peer II.  Music publishing icon Irwin Z. Robinson collected the Award in 2015, while music industry event Midem was honoured in 2016.