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K-pop online concert studio to open at Olympic Park in October

BTS’ online concert “Map of the Soul ON:E” which was held in October 2020. (Big Hit Entertainment)
BTS’ online concert “Map of the Soul ON:E” which was held in October 2020. (Big Hit Entertainment)
Olympic Park K-Art hall in Songpa-gu, Seoul, will be turned into a venue for online K-pop concerts, the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism said Wednesday.

The new studio is scheduled to launch in October.

“Contactless online concerts are not an alternative for face-to-face performances. It is a new kind of cultural content. How to create global and differentiated content by combining offline performance and advanced technology is crucial for the development of the future content industry,” a Culture Ministry official said in a statement.

The official added that it hopes the new facility can contribute to the further spread of Hallyu.

The plan to build the new K-pop concert studio was first announced in September last year as part of the Culture Ministry’s Online Immersive K-Pop Content Production Project.

At the time, the Culture Ministry’s popular culture industry division said it would inject 29 billion won ($25.81 million) into the project and stressed that the new studio will mainly benefit small-and mid-sized entertainment companies that wish to hold concerts like BTS’ “Bang Bang Con: The Live” but do not have the financial means to do so.

BTS’ two online concerts last year -- “Bang Bang Con: The Live” in June and “Map of the Soul ON:E” in October -- drew a peak concurrent audience of 756,000 and 993,000 worldwide, respectively.

Some 30 companies will be selected to hold virtual concerts at the new venues, according to the Culture Ministry.

K-Art hall, which spans 1,344.22 square meters, has been used to present diverse Korea-themed performances such as taekwondo and Korean traditional dance.

The ministry added that it worked with experts from different cultural fields in deciding on the location of the new studio, as well as taking into account a diverse range of factors, including environment, efficiency in operation and public accessibility.

Facilities and systems that are required to create immersive content such as LED walls, camera tracking systems, object tracking systems, immersive audio systems, 3-D live content servers and online streaming systems will be installed to support local entertainment companies in holding virtual concerts.

Meanwhile, the Culture Ministry on Wednesday also formed a partnership with its affiliated bodies Korea Creative Content Agency, Korea Sports Promotion Foundation and KSPO&CO in building the new studio.

By Song Seung-hyun (