HYBE's Journey Thus Far

It's now known that HYBE CEO Bang Si Hyuk will be stepping down from his position but remain on the board of directors for the organization. Doing a quick search on Google, I realized while there are tons of articles BTS' journey, there aren't quite as many documenting the accomplishments of then BigHit Entertainment turned HYBE Corporation. So here's one.

BigHit Entertainment was founded by Bang Si Hyuk in 2005 and before it began enjoying the success of BTS, they'd established partnerships with other labels to debut K-pop groups. Source Music was one such partner, who collaborated with BigHit with their first co-ed trio, 8Eight and after, Glam. Source Music is known for its success with popular K-pop girl group, GFriend and was later acquired by BigHit in 2019.

Another notable partnership was with JYP Entertainment. They embarked on a boyband project to debut 2PM and 2AM. With JYP Entertainment managing 2PM, known for their high energy K-pop music, and 2AM, under the charge of BigHit, were known for their pop ballads. The Bangtan Boys finally emerged in 2013, which was the brainchild of Bang Si Hyuk. BigHit has never looked back since then.

BigHit has been honing in the area of music and entertainment, but later delved into tech with the launch of Weverse, a mobile platform made for fans to access artist content and facilitate fan to artists communications. Needless to say, the e-commerce aspect was also included within the app for convenience shopping for artist merchandise. With so much fan activity, BigHit was able to accumulate and analyze data to continuously innovate and improve the Weverse offering. In 2020, it was named by Fast Company the 4th Most Innovative Company in the World, behind Snap, Microsoft and Tesla.

Other than Tomorrow x Together, BigHit added to it's artist offering by acquiring Pledis Entertainment in 2020, who have signed some of today's seasoned boybands, Seventeen and Nu'est. 2021 started with a bang as BigHit partnered up Naver and YGPlus, with the goal of further dominating the K-pop fan community market. More details from this report in the The Korea Economic Daily.

A month after the BigHit-Naver-YGPlus partnership announcement, a strategic partnership announcement was made with Universal Music Group. Both powerhouses made a commitment to create the next boyband to debut on a global stage.

BigHit then decided with a brand ID and name change to HYBE Corporation. HYBE will establish itself in the market as a content group, leading entertainment lifestyle, particularly in the areas of music production, performance, management and the internet business. The Korean Herald captures HYBE new brand identity succinctly in this article.

Later in April 2021, HYBE merged with Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings for over US$1 billion which opens a wide range of possibilities for artists from both companies, that include BTS, TXT, Seventeen, Nu'est, Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber, Demi Levato and more. This announcement certainly marks a paradigm shift in the music industry between East and West.

May 2021 saw the opening of HYBE INSIGHT, a cultural space that traces the history of BTS and gives fans the evoke all five senses as they explore music from artists under the HYBE label. With all the non-stop activity in 2021 thus far, perhaps Bang Si Hyuk's announcement to step down as CEO last week came as a surprise to some. While he will remain in the board of directors, Bang has chosen to focus more efforts in music production.

With so many wheels already set in motion, we can only anticipate more exciting news from HYBE and their partners as they continue to reshape the K-pop music industry.

BTS image source here

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