Avex is an acronym of the English words Audio Visual Expert. Since its foundation, its corporate name was Avex D.D., Incorporated, and ten years later it was changed to Avex, Incorporated.
The current name, Avex Group Holdings, Incorporated, was adopted in 2004 as part of reconstruction process after Tom Yoda's resignation. Avex Group Holdings, Incorporated was used for the main subsidiaries, while the old name (Avex, Incorporated) was for entertainment components of the Group.
In 2005, Avex, Incorporated became Avex Entertainment, Incorporated, and stayed on as part of the Group.
The Avex Building (, Eibekkusu Biru), finished in 2002 and funded by Sumitomo Life, in Minami-Aoyama, Tokyo. It was vacated in October 2014 to give way to the move to Izumi Garden Tower.
Avex was registered June 1, 1973 as Avex D.D. Incorporated (, Eibekkusu Di Di Kabushiki Gaisha), although it did not become established until 1988. They began as a CD wholesaler based in Machida, Tokyo. In September 1990, they opened a recording studio and created Avex Trax as a music label. In the same year, they created "Musique Folio Inc.", a music publishing company, which became "Prime Direction Inc." During their early years, Avex operated as an indies label, but had an especially close relationship with the Sanwakeiretsu; 2.8% of shares of Avex were held by Sanwa Bank; in turn, 1.15% of shares of Sanwa Bank were held by Hitachi.
In 1993, they transferred to Aoyama, Tokyo and created a U.S. branch, called "AV Experience America Inc." The year also marked the first of Avex's yearly events. It was held in Tokyo Dome under the name "avex rave '93" and attracted 50,000 attendees. This led to the creation of the Cutting Edge label.
In 1994, they formed two UK subsidiaries, "Rhythm Republic Limited" and "Avex U.K. Limited." Later that year, they opened a disco, claimed on their website to be "the world's largest scale disco", named Velfarre.
In 2001, Avex opened the "avex artists academy" music school.
In 2002, they released the "CCCD", a type of copy-protected CD, and opened their building in Aoyama, paid for by Sumitomo Life and worth 205 billion yen.
In 2003, they opened a classical music business (named Avex Classics).
In January 2004, they began selling Japanese music CDs in South Korea. In December of that same year, President Max Matsuura "spotted" former idolAmi Suzuki performing live at the annual festival of their school, Nihon University. He subsequently signed her to the Avex label.
In early 2008, Avex partnered with Victor JVC to officially create the label D-topia Entertainment as a business partnership between the labels and its founder, Terukado Onishi, with the sales promotion handled by Victor while the area promotion handled by Avex. As part of the Avex Group's 20th anniversary celebration, a big project occurred with avex trax's "produced by avex trax" artists; the band Girl Next Door, formed and debuted in September 2008.
In August 2004, a feud between Max Matsuura and co-founder Tom Yoda affected the group. It started because of Yoda's ambition to expand Avex into other entertainment-related ventures, especially producing movies. In addition, he accused Ryuhei Chiba, the company's executive director and president of Avex Inc. (now Avex Planning and Development), of pursuing personal profit from a few big artists.
July 30: In a board meeting, Yoda introduced a resolution calling on Chiba to resign because of an alleged conflict of interest. A source says the disagreement arose because Chiba had signed an artist managed by a member of his family. The board backed Yoda's resolution in a 6-1 vote. However, Matsuura -- described by insiders as a close ally of Chiba -- introduced a second resolution demanding that Yoda step down due to "a difference of opinion in management principles". Matsuura's motion was defeated 5-2. He and Chiba resigned the next day.
August 2: Matsuura and Chiba announced their resignations in a meeting with employees of Avex. Chiba denied any fault, while Matsuura complained that Avex had lost its love of music and said he wanted to start over. They had the support of many staff who also said they would quit. More significantly, the label's top star, Ayumi Hamasaki, said she would leave. As a result, Avex's stocks in the TSE fell by 16 percent that day.
August 3: Due to pressure by employees and artists and to save the company from bankruptcy, Yoda resigned and was replaced by Toshio Kobayashi.
On July 21, 2011, it was announced that Avex had paired with Korean management label YG Entertainment to form YGEX Entertainment.
In 2012, the group began offering limited releases for sale, DRM-free for the first time within Japan on Amazon MP3. Max Matsuura and Toshio Kobayashi, the company's top two individual shareholders, launched their own investment companies to anchor their shares in 2012.
As a show of modernization, Avex Group moved to Izumi Garden Tower in Roppongi in October 2014. The company was designated to the 36th floor - the former address of DWANGO.
On February 15, 2017, Avex Group discontinued all foreign exports of Blu-rays, DVDs, and CDs published under their Avex Pictures label. The company provided no official statement on the decision.
In April 2010, the Avex Group corporation was re-structured to establish Avex Music Publishing Inc. as a consolidated subsidiary, in a corporate spin-off of music publishing division of Avex Group Holdings Inc. Thus the Avex Group became a pure holding company, with a corporate structure as follows:
Avex Entertainment Inc. (, eibekkusu entateinmento kabushiki gaisha)