S.M., JYP, Big Hit to launch music platform with SK Telecom
* iriver is not capitalized
By Yoon Min-sik
K-pop agencies S.M. Entertainment, JYP Entertainment and Big Hit Entertainment on Wednesday signed a deal with SK Telecom to launch a music sales platform.
The agreement is twofold, with the first leg allowing the SK Telecom-affiliated iriver -- a consumer electronics company known for its portable media devices -- to handle the content of S.M., JYP and Big Hit. This comes into effect Thursday.
With the content provided, SK Telecom will launch a new platform, whose name has yet to be revealed, using the latest information and communication technology, including artificial intelligence and blockchain technology.
Blockchain -- a key component of cryptocurrencies -- is a technology that allows multiple parties to exchange digital property with minimal risk of fraud or interference by a third-party.
The company did not elaborate on how the technologies would be applied to the new platform, but it is assumed that blockchain will be used to protect the transaction process.
The new platform will compete with existing online music sales platforms, such as Melon, Genie and Naver Music. Melon, one of the leaders in the market, was launched by SK Telecom in 2004, although it has since been acquired by Kakao and is operated by Loen Entertainment.
SK’s re-entry into the digital music sales business is expected to expand the market that totaled 1.18 trillion won ($ 1.1 billion) in 2014, according to the Korea Creative Content Agency.
Officials noted that this deal is different from conventional music distribution deals, in that it allows the three agencies to actively participate in the distribution of content.
“Through such a process, (S.M., JYP and Big Hit) will be able to pass on the information in the market and their know-how. This, in the long run, will help not only the companies but will contribute to the development of (the music sales) market through interaction with the market,” officials said in a joint press release.
Kicking off with the distribution of the three agencies’ content in the first half of this year, SK Telecom said it plans to expand the deal to other K-pop agencies.
caption: From left: JYP Entertainment CEO Jung Wook, Big Hit Entertainment founder and CEO Bang Shi-hyuk, SK Telecom’s Unicorn Labs chief No Jong-won and S.M. Entertainment CEO Kim Young-min pose for a photo after signing a deal for a new music sales platform in Seoul on Wednesday. / Yonhap