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SM Entertainment and Kakao integrate in N.America

The K-pop giant and its biggest stakeholder is strengthening its foothold on the continent in order to become a "global K-pop key player"

By Lisa Henderson on 01 Aug 2023

Aespa were due to perform at Krazy Super Concert

SM’s girl group Aespa

image © Wikimedia Commons/이터널 리턴

K-pop giant SM Entertainment and its biggest stakeholder Kakao Entertainment are launching an integrated division in North America.

The division will combine SM’s global intellectual property and production capabilities with Kakao’s music distribution network and multi-label system, “with the goal of firmly establishing itself as a global K-pop key player”.

The aim is to promote artists from both companies, including Kakao-owned Starship Entertainment’s girl group IVE, as well as SM’s girl group Aespa and boy band NCT.

“We will accelerate the global advancement and growth of Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment’s artists”

“Through the North American integrated corporation, we will accelerate the global advancement and growth of Kakao Entertainment and SM Entertainment’s artists, and based on this, we will expand the growth potential of Kakao Entertainment’s music business, which encompasses planning, production, and distribution of music and artist IP, to the global market,” says Kakao Entertainment America CEO Jang Yoon-jung.

Jang Yoon-jung will lead the new North American company. He will be in charge of Kakao’s global strategy officer and SM’s chief business officer.

Earlier this year Kakao became the largest shareholder in SM Entertainment after a months-long corporate battle against SM rival HYBE to take control of the K-Pop agency.

HYBE, the South Korean music agency behind BTS and Ariana Grande, is also looking to expand in the US to secure a global foothold. It was reported in June that the Seoul-based company is looking to raise around 500 billion Korean won (approx USD $380m).

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