Top 5 Reasons S.M. Entertainment Trumps All

Updated: Sep 22, 2020

We put the spotlight on the guys that created "SMTown" and here's why we think they're still at the top.

Korea's SM Entertainment logo

Earlier this year, Mr. Lee Soo Man, founder of the widely renown SM Entertainment, did a presentation highlighting the top five pillar projects of the entertainment company’s focus for 2016 and beyond.

Watch the full presentation here:

In addition, a recent visit to SM’s Communication Center at Cheongdam gave greater insight to why SM Entertainment is still at the top. Here are some reasons from personal observations:

1. Clear goals: Mr. Lee began his speech with SM’s role in Casting, Training, Producing and Marketing and how they’d like to evolve as technology and trends change. It’s clear to see the projects are all about embracing the digital music space, appealing to fans and increasing exposure for their rookie and experienced artists alike.

2. Willingness to experiment: SM Entertainment started as an artist management agency and is now expanding their business to digital marketing, as seen from the creation of digital platforms such as Vryl, Everysing and everyshot. One of SM’s project included establishing an MCN arm, allowing SM artists to demonstrate their other interests and talent with video content.

With the debut of new boy band, NCT, SM Entertainment has adopted a similar model to the Japanese for Morning Musume and AKB48. The agency had just released the first NCT unit for the Korean and Japanese markets. It’ll be interesting to see how the other sub-units will grow as SM continues its “local” Hallyu expansion globally.

SUM, SM Entertainment new marketplace

3. Expansion by collaborations: Opening up the Rookies Entertainment Program to aspiring producers would result in fresh ideas from those outside the industry.

Merchandising collaborations from chocolates to instant noodles and beer, SM has worked with several brands to create a brand identity, either through design or product merchandise for each of their artist bands. In case you didn’t know, SM now has a restaurant and convenience store, SUM. Smart marketing, enough said.

4. Knowing when to say “No”: While the agency has a notorious reputation for being “tough”, their resistance to compromise is probably what’s kept them on course.

5. Picking up on world trends and setting their own: Digital Music Station was created knowing that music fans all over the world no longer purchased albums or mini albums but preferred buying songs to add to their digital playlists. The aim was to release new songs on a weekly basis, giving sufficient exposure for each track versus launching an album with select hit singles.

Furthermore, the launch of ScreaM Records, SM’s first EDM label was driven by tastes’ of the international music market. ScreaM Records has plans for SM artists to collaborate with top EDM DJs and producers from USA and Sweden.

Many commented Mr. Lee’s presentation sounded like a plan for global domination. It sure does, but I’m looking forward even more to the execution of this plan. Would this mark the next wave of Hallyu?