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Big Hit, Universal Music Group to launch new K-pop boy band in US

From top left, clockwise: Big Hit Entertainment Chairman & CEO Bang Si-hyuk, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M John Janick and Lenzo Yoon, CEO global & business of Big Hit Entertainment, attend a press conference on Thursday. (Big Hit Ent.)
From top left, clockwise: Big Hit Entertainment Chairman & CEO Bang Si-hyuk, Chairman & CEO of Universal Music Group Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO of Interscope Geffen A&M John Janick and Lenzo Yoon, CEO global & business of Big Hit Entertainment, attend a press conference on Thursday. (Big Hit Ent.)
Big Hit Entertainment and Universal Music Group announced Thursday plans for a Los Angeles-based joint venture between UMG’s Geffen Records and Bit Hit Ent for the launch of a new global K-pop band in the US. The members of the new boy group will be chosen through a global audition that will air in the US in 2022.

Big Hit Entertainment created K-pop group BTS while UMG is one of the biggest music companies in the world, with top artists such as Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift and Maroon 5.

In the press conference streamed through streaming platform VenewLive, the companies laid out the details of their expanded strategic partnership. The two companies said they would work closely together to increase opportunities for artists through innovation and technology, whilst expanding the global reach of K-pop around the world.

“We will strive to secure competitive platform leadership and develop a top group of artists through the close partnership between our two companies, enabling K-pop to transcend all borders and languages,” said Lenzo Yoon, CEO Global & Business of Big Hit Entertainment. “This project is especially significant as it will apply Big Hit’s ‘success formula’ established over the past 16 years to the US, the center of the global music market.”

Big Hit will utilize its global expertise gained from the success of BTS to lead the discovery, training and development of new artists, fan content production processes, and management of fan communications through the Weverse platform. In addition to working closely with a US media partner to produce the audition program, the team at Geffen Records will leverage their extensive industry network and partners to oversee the music production, marketing and global distribution operations.
Big Hit Entertainment announces details of its strategic partnership with UMG through VenueLive on Thursday. (Big Hit Entertainment)
Big Hit Entertainment announces details of its strategic partnership with UMG through VenueLive on Thursday. (Big Hit Entertainment)

“With their innovative approach to developing artists and embracing new technology, Big Hit has become one of the most dynamic companies in music entertainment,” said Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO of UMG. “We’re thrilled to be working together as we launch a new joint venture between our companies that will further accelerate K-pop as a global cultural phenomenon.”

UMG also announced that more artists in UMG will be featured in Big Hit’s fan-artist communication platform Weverse as well as holding virtual concerts on the online concert streaming platform, VenueLive. Weverse will allow loyal artist fans to engage, share and interact, see and hear new content and purchase new products. UMG artists Gracie Abrams, New Hope Club and Alexander 23 are already using Weverse, with Yungblud among the next wave of talent joining Weverse in the coming months.

“Our two companies indeed share values and visions in that we both pursue constant innovations, and are committed to providing our fans with genuine music and content of the highest and uncompromising level of quality,” said Bang Si-hyuk, the chairman & CEO of Big Hit Entertainment.

“In this sense, I strongly believe that UMG and Big Hit will create a synergy that will rewrite the global music history.”

The latest announcement follows last week’s announcement that UMG has become an equity investor, along with Big Hit, YG Entertainment and Kiswe, in KBYK’s VenewLive premium live streaming platform.

Big Hit also formed partnership with Naver in January to combine Naver’s live stream platform VLive with Weverse.

By Lim Jang-won  (ljw@heraldcorp.com)
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