The Korea Herald


SKT partners SM Entertainment on AI-based technology for K-pop content

By Yeo Jun-suk

Published : Jan. 11, 2019 - 18:25

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South Korea’s biggest mobile carrier SK Telecom has pledged to work with major K-pop agency S.M. Entertainment to use the former’s artificial intelligence technology in separating singers’ vocals from music records, the telecommunications company said Friday.

According to SK Telecom, its chief technology officer Park Jin-hyo and S.M. Entertainment CEO Kim Youg-min signed a memorandum of understanding for partnership on the AI-based voice-separating technology during their meeting at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas on Wednesday.

While the two companies have yet to reveal how the technology will materialize in everyday life, the telecom giant’s chief said the technology would be best demonstrated when people try to impersonate K-pop stars for entertainment.

“When you sing a song from Girls’ Generation in a karaoke room, you can replace their voices with yours,” SK Telecom chief Park Jung-ho told reporters, referring to a popular girl group under S.M. Entertainment.

“When vocals were separated from (music records) in the past, the whole song and melody were taken out as well. But the AI engine helps us to single out vocals from singer’s live performance footage (without damaging the music record),” Park added. 

SKT chief technology officer Park Jin-hyo(left) and S.M. Entertainment CEO Kim Youg-min. SK Telecom SKT chief technology officer Park Jin-hyo(left) and S.M. Entertainment CEO Kim Youg-min. SK Telecom

SK Telecom has been developing voice-separating technology, but the company requires entertainment content for the technology to be applied.

The telecom company also said it would launch a joint consultative body for new business with S.M. Entertainment.

During CES, the telecom giant has unveiled content developed in collaboration with S.M. Entertainment. Among them are virtual reality technology that allows one to feel as if she or he is dancing with K-pop stars. 

“We are going to launch the media business for next generations by combining advanced technology with global K-pop content. To lead the media industry in the 5G era, we will continue to cooperate with content heavyweights,” Park said.