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KT’s Genie Music acquires Millie’s Library, planning expansion of audio content business

An artist’s rendering of Genie Music’s streaming app (Genie Music’s official homepage)
An artist’s rendering of Genie Music’s streaming app (Genie Music’s official homepage)
Genie Music became the largest stakeholder of Millie’s Library, an e-book service provider, as the KT-backed music-streaming platform looks to expand its audio content business.

According to the company Friday, Genie Music acquired a 38.6 percent stake in the e-book firm for 46.4 billion won.

Millie’s Library is a subscription-based e-book service startup. The platform is No. 1 in the South Korean market, boasting 3.5 million subscribers, some 100,000 e-book titles and some 3,000 audiobook titles as of May. 

It posted 19.2 billion won ($16.44 billion) in sales revenue last year, a 75 percent jump from a year earlier, and is planning an initial public offering in 2022.

By sometime this year, audiobooks on Millie’s Library will be available on Genie, the streaming platform’s artificial intelligence-based music service. It will introduce a new subscription plan that will allow users to access content from both Millie’s Library and Genie.

As the local music-streaming industry faces fierce competition from the likes of Spotify, streaming platforms are tapping into other forms of content, such as podcasts and audiobooks.

The global audio content market, excluding music, is projected to grow to 87.5 trillion won by 2030, data from Goldman Sachs showed. Market watcher Grandview Research projects the market for audio content other than music to grow an average of 24.4 percent every year until 2027.

Genie Music aims to adapt thousands of items on Millie’s Library into drama series or variety shows.

“We decided to acquire Millie’s Library to overcome the stagnant music-streaming industry and gain a competitive advantage over global companies competing in the market,” said Cho Hoon, president and CEO of Genie Music.

The acquisition is expected to create synergy with Genie Music’s mother company, KT, as well.

The telecommunications provider can use source materials owned by Millie’s Library, adapt them into video content and distribute them via the range of media services that KT owns.

KT Studio Genie, a content production studio launched in January, said it would create video content using stories owned by Millie’s Library and distribute them through Olleh TV, streaming service Seezn and Sky TV.

By Kang Jae-eun (kang.jaeeun@heraldcorp.com)
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