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BTS’ Busan livestream attracts 49m viewers

A livestream of BTS’ stadium concert held to promote Busan’s World 2030 Expo bid attracted almost 50 million viewers, according to organisers.

Saturday’s (15 October) BTS Yet to Come in Busan show at Busan Asiad Main Stadium in South Korea was attended by a 50,000-strong crowd, with 10,000 and 2,000 people tuning in via real-life “Live Play” broadcasts – where fans can watch the concert in real-time on a big screen – in Busan Port and Haeundae, respectively.

The online livestream through Weverse, meanwhile, is reported to have generated approximately 49m views alone.

“We hope our concert will help promote Busan and support the city’s bid to host World Expo 2030 in Busan,” say BTS.

The free event was originally due to take place on a special stage on the site of a former glass factory near Ilgwang Beach, but was moved due to safety concerns. BTS were confirmed as ambassadors for Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan Metropolitan City earlier this summer.

“BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment”

“This will be a great opportunity to contribute to further development of K-Culture as well as its local pop cultures in Busan,” said Bang Si-Hyuk, chair of the group’s management company Hybe, said at the time.

Meanwhile, BTS’ record label Big Hit Music has announced via Weverse and official social platforms that the K-pop superstars are currently moving forward with plans to fulfil their mandatory military service, ending a long-running debate in Korea over whether they should receive an exemption due to their artistic accomplishments.

“Group member Jin will initiate the process as soon as his schedule for his solo release is concluded at the end of October,” says the company. “He will then follow the enlistment procedure of the Korean government. Other members of the group plan to carry out their military service based on their own individual plans.

“Both the company and the members of BTS are looking forward to reconvening as a group again around 2025 following their service commitment.”

 


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BTS switch concert venue due to safety concerns

A BTS concert planned as part of Busan’s World 2030 Expo bid in their native South Korea has switched venues due to safety concerns.

The South China Morning Post reports the free BTS Yet to Come in Busan show on 15 October was set to attract up to 100,000 people to a special stage on the site of a former glass factory near Ilgwang Beach.

However, following complaints the venue was ill-equipped for an event of such scale, the group’s management company Hybe has now announced the show will instead take place at the Busan Asiad Main Stadium.

“In order to prioritise the safety and comfort of attendees and ensure a smooth and transparent concert environment, while still protecting the purpose of this concert, the company has come to the decision to change the concert location,” says a statement.

“This will be a great opportunity to contribute to further development of K-Culture as well as its local pop cultures in Busan”

The new venue is expected to be able to accommodate 100,000 fans, which would make it BTS’ biggest ever one-day concert in South Korea. It will also be livestreamed online and a real-life “Live Play” broadcast – where fans can watch the concert in real-time on a big screen – will take place at the Busan Port International Passenger Terminal.

BTS were confirmed as ambassadors for Busan’s bid to host the 2030 World Expo in Busan Metropolitan City earlier this summer.

“Given the importance of its bid as a nation to host the World Expo 2030 in Busan, BTS and Hybe will do our best to successfully bring the World Expo to Busan,” says Hybe’s chairman Bang Si-Hyuk. “This will be a great opportunity to contribute to further development of K-Culture as well as its local pop cultures in Busan.”

 


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New fund allows investors to back K-pop stars

K-pop fans can now buy shares in the companies behind stars like BTS and Blackpink via a new Exchange Traded Fund (ETF), launched in the US.

The KPOP and Korean Entertainment ETF launched on the NYSE Arca exchange yesterday (1 September) and includes the stocks of 30 corporations, including four music companies that helped K-pop stars achieve global fame.

HYBE (BTS, Tomorrow X Together, Enhypen), SM Entertainment (SuperM, NCT 127, Girls’ Generation), JYP Entertainment (Stray Kids, Twice) and YG Entertainment (BlackPink, Big Bang) are among the index of companies on the ETF.

An ETF — which can be bought and sold on-demand like individual stocks — allows US investors to buy foreign stocks on a domestic stock exchange.

In South Korea, K-pop fans and other retail investors could easily own shares of K-pop companies because they trade on South Korea exchanges but until now it was “almost impossible” for US fans to buy the individual stocks.

“Global fans who love K-pop [can now] participate in the potential growth and development of the K-pop industry”

Jangwon Lee, the CEO of CT Investments and Contents Technologies, the company behind the ETF, says: “K-pop, which has become a global keyword, has become part of mainstream culture for fans in Korea as well as around the world.

“We are launching this ETF to provide an opportunity for global fans who love K-pop to participate in the potential growth and development of the K-pop industry as well as investors access to Korea-listed companies that are driving the future of global content industry forward.”

Lee is also CEO of Seoul-based Beyond Music which is reportedly Asia’s largest single music IP asset management company and has raised $200 million to buy up rights in Asia.

The new ETF comes after HYBE  (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) reported its best-performing quarter yet in Q2 2022.

The South Korea-based entertainment giant has had huge success in the live music sphere, with record-breaking concerts from K-pop superstars BTS.

Most recently, BTS broke the global event cinema record after grossing $32.6 million (€29.8m) with the first live worldwide cinema broadcast of a concert from South Korea.

 


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HYBE reports best-performing quarter yet

HYBE (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) has published its financial results for Q2 of 2022, heralding its best-performing quarter yet.

The South Korea-based entertainment giant reported revenue of KRW 512 billion (USD 391 million) in the second quarter of 2022, up 79.7% from the first quarter of this year. While operating income hit KRW 88bn for the three months prior to 30 June.

The record-breaking revenue came from Hybe artists’ album sales, promotion, and concerts, as well as merchandise and IP licensing.

HYBE’s roster of artists includes K-pop superstars BTS, Seventeen, TXT, Enhypen, Le Sserafim, NewJeans and more.

Performances from BTS and Seventeen were major drivers in pushing HYBE’s concert revenue to KRW 85bn (USD 65m) – up 38.6% quarter on quarter.

In February, BTS brought a four-night residency, called Permission to Dance On Stage, to the 65,000-capacity Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

All four dates were broadcast live at the nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena, in what was dubbed a ‘live play’ event, while the final day of their residency was streamed online worldwide.

Performances from BTS and Seventeen were major drivers in pushing HYBE’s concert revenue to KRW 85bn

Seventeen, meanwhile, helped boost HYBE’s concert revenue with two dates at Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome (cap. 25,000) in mid-June. These performances were also livestreamed to global audiences.

However, Hybe’s biggest revenue driver in Q2 was its ‘Artist Direct Involvement’ business, which generated revenues of KRW 326bn (USD 249m), up 153.4% year on year.

HYBE’s second biggest revenue source in Q2 was album sales, driven by releases in the quarter from the likes of BTS and Seventeen.

The company’s album sales grew 97.1% YoY, from KRW 107bn (USD 82m) in Q2 2021 to KRW 211bn (USD 161m) in Q2 2022.

HYBE revenues from merchandising and licensing also soared in Q2, by 97.2% YoY, from KRW 50bn (USD 38m) in Q2 2021, to 99 bn KRW (USD 75m) in Q2 2022.

Revenues from HYBE’s ‘Contents’ business, meanwhile, fell 22.6% YoY to KRW 71bn (USD 54m). HYBE also reveals within its investor filing that Monthly Active Users of its fan-community app WeVerse fell by 6% versus Q1 2022.

The WeVerse app, which collates content made by and for HYBE artists such as music videos, teasers, movies, merch sales and even live streams, has been cited by the company as one of the key drivers behind its success during the pandemic.

In spite of seeing its WeVerse MAUs decline, HYBE’s revenues derived from its ‘Fan club etc’ business line grew 96% YoY to KRW 17bn (USD 13m).

 


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South Korea lifts ban on cheering at concerts

South Korea has eased its coronavirus protocols and lifted its ban on clapping and cheering at gigs.

Fans were handed plastic clappers to emulate crowd noise at BTS’ Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul three-night residency last month, which marked the K-pop group’s in-person concert return in their homeland.

Just 15,000 people per night were permitted to attend the 70,000-cap Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul on 10, 12-13 March due to social distancing restrictions. But with the number of Covid cases stabilising, most measures have now been dropped, although the indoor and outdoor mask mandate has been retained for the time being.

The news coincides with the release of a report by the Korea Culture and Tourism Institute, which estimated the huge economic impact when BTS perform in South Korea.

“Holding K-pop concerts can have a huge impact on our economy”

“If BTS normally holds a concert in Korea during the post-coronavirus period, the economic ripple effect will reach 677.6 billion won ($550 million) to 1.22 trillion won ($989m) for one performance,” it concluded, according to Allkpop.

The study also referred to the group’s 2021 run at Los Angeles’ 70,000-cap SoFi Stadium, which marked the first time they had been able to be face-to-face with fans since the 2019 BTS World Tour. Internal data showed that more than 70% of the attendees at the LA concerts were from states outside California or overseas.

“This analysis took BTS concerts as an example, but it shows that holding K-pop concerts can have a huge impact on our economy,” it added.

 


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K-pop gigs to draw over 2.8m outside Korea in 2022

More than 2.8 million fans are forecast to attend K-pop events outside of Korea in 2022, according to a new report.

South Korea-based financial investment company Hyundai Motor Securities (HMS) projects acts represented by management firm HYBE, such as BTS, Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen, to draw 1.27m concertgoers outside their homeland on their own.

BTS completed a four-night residency at the 65,000-cap Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas over the weekend, which came four months after the group’s last US dates at the SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) in November/December 2021.

In addition, SM Entertainment, home to NCT, EXO and Aespa, are tipped to pull in 630,000 spectators, with JYP (Twice/Itzy/Stray Kids) and YG Entertainment (Blackpink/Treasure) expected to reach 500,000 and 300,000 people, respectively, as reported by the Korea Times.

“The 2.85 million figure is approximately 43% of the total number of global concertgoers in the pre-pandemic year of 2019”

“The 2.85 million figure is approximately 43% of the total number of global concertgoers in the pre-pandemic year of 2019,” says HMS, which says the total compares with a peak of three years ago.

Last month, BTS delivered the largest concerts South Korea had seen since the beginning of Covid-19, with three in-person concerts at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul. The ministry for culture permitted the group to invite 15,000 people per night to the 70,000-cap outdoor stadium.

Meanwhile, it was recently revealed that TEG MJR is to promote the UK’s first-ever K-pop festival, taking place in London this summer. HallyuPopFest, previously held in Singapore in 2018 and 2019, is scheduled for 9-10 July at OVO Arena Wembley (cap. 12,500).

Mamamoo singer Hwasa, girl group Everglow, and boybands Astro and Oneus are among the artists due to perform on the first day of the festival, while boybands SF9 and Cravity are lined up for day two of the event.

The news followed the announcement of Europe’s biggest K-pop festival launching in Germany. The 44,000-capacity Kpop.Flex festival is to take place at Deutsche Bank Park Stadium in Frankfurt between 14–15 May.

 


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BTS concert screening breaks box office record

BTS have broken the global event cinema record after grossing $32.6 million (€29.8m) with the first live worldwide cinema broadcast of a concert from South Korea.

Beamed from Seoul’s Olympic Stadium, BTS Permission to Dance on Stage – Seoul: Live Viewing was presented by HYBE and Trafalgar Releasing on 12 March in 3,711 cinemas in 75 regions for a one-day limited release, reaching a reported 1.4 million viewers worldwide in total. In North America, the production reached the No. 2 spot in the Saturday box office, generating more than $6.84m and a per-screen average of over $8,500 across 803 movie theatres.

Livestreams on 10 and 13 March attracted 1.02m fans from 191 countries/regions on March 10 and 13, bringing the total worldwide audience to 2.46m.

“As the pandemic made it difficult to access the concert venue, we wanted to create an opportunity for fans to gather and watch the concert together,” says HYBE 360 president DJ Kim said, We came up with the idea of Live Viewing at cinemas and are delighted to offer an alternative experience for fans to enjoy the concert live.”

The event, which was HYBE and Trafalgar Releasing’s fourth global title with BTS, marked the group’s long-awaited return to a stage in South Korea in front of a live audience for the first time since 2019.

“It’s a testament to both the overwhelmingly dedicated fandom of the [BTS] Army and the overall return to cinemas on a global scale”

“We are delighted with the record-breaking success of this project, not only for Trafalgar Releasing but the event cinema industry as a whole,” adds Marc Allenby, CEO of Trafalgar Releasing. “It’s a testament to both the overwhelmingly dedicated fandom of the [BTS] Army and the overall return to cinemas on a global scale.”

BTS completed a three-concert run at Seoul Olympic Stadium on March 10, 12 and 13, attended by a total of 45,000 people in compliance with the Covid-19 protocols, with a maximum capacity of 15,000 per show.

The production used a gigantic moving LED screen that moved up and down, and forward and backward, to maximise the impact of live interaction with the audience.

Covid-19 regulations banned any chanting, shouting or standing-up on-site through the concert. Fans were allowed to clap or use the clappers as well as the official lightsticks to cheer the band during the concert.

BTS will perform additional show dates for BTS Permission to Dance on Stage – Las Vegas at Allegiant Stadium on 8-9 and 15-16 April. The in-person live broadcast event Live Play in Las Vegas will be available at MGM Grand Garden Arena on all four days. There will also be an online live stream on the last day on April 16.

 


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Clapping and shouting banned at BTS concert return

BTS fans will be banned from clapping and shouting at the group’s long-awaited return to in-person concerts in South Korea later this week.

The ministry for culture has permitted 15,000 people per night to attend the 70,000-cap Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul on 10, 12-13 March.

However, Pop reports the shows will be subject to strict Covid protocols, prompting the band’s management Big Hit Music to supply attendees with clappers to emulate crowd noise.

“Cheering loudly, yelling, chanting, and standing up during BTS Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul is strictly prohibited according to government guidelines,” says the company in a statement. “Instead, we will be having a fan event using clappers.”

The K-pop superstars’ three Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul concerts, which will also be live-streamed, will mark the group’s first in-person shows in their homeland since the pandemic began. The country began allowing in-person concerts from November 2021, although concerts are currently capped at 50% capacity or 4,000 spectators for indoor facilities.

“Seating for the in-person performance will comply with spacing guidelines mandated by local government performance venue Covid-19 control measures”

“Seating for the in-person performance will comply with spacing guidelines mandated by local government performance venue Covid-19 control measures,” it adds. “The event may be changed or canceled depending on the social distancing level.”

All spectators are required to show proof of vaccination or recent negative test results while organisers must appoint a sufficient number of safety management workers.

The septet’s 10 and 13 March shows will be streamed online simultaneously, while their 12 March show will be available for ‘live viewing’ in cinemas across 60+ countries worldwide.

Some regions will be able to watch the performance live, while other parts of the world will be offered a delayed broadcast to better suit their respective time zones. The cinemas will also offer a replay of the live broadcast later in the day.

BTS returned to in-person performances in late November last year with a mini-residency at the brand new SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) in Los Angeles, California, which became the biggest single venue concert engagement by any act in almost a decade. According to Billboard, the series sold 214,000 tickets and grossed US$33.3million (€30.5m).

 


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BTS announce four-night Las Vegas residency

K-pop juggernauts BTS have announced a four-night residency at the Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, US.

The boyband will bring their Permission To Dance On Stage concert to the 65,000-capacity stadium on 8, 9, 15 and 16 April.

All four dates will be broadcast live at the nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena, in what’s being dubbed a ‘live play’ event. The final day of their residency will also be streamed online worldwide.

The Las Vegas concerts will come four months after the group’s last US dates at the SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) on 27 and 28 November, and 1 and 2 December 2021.

The four-night residency attracted approximately 813,000 people across the four sold-out shows, becoming the biggest single venue concert engagement by any act in almost a decade.

According to Billboard, the Los Angeles leg of their Permission To Dance On Stage concert series sold 214,000 tickets and grossed US$33.3million.

All four dates will be broadcast live at the nearby MGM Grand Garden Arena, in what’s being dubbed a ‘live play’ event

News of BTS’s Las Vegas residency comes after the boyband announced a three-night run at Seoul’s Olympic Stadium (cap. 70,000) on 10, 12 and 13 March.

The ministry for culture has permitted the group to invite 15,000 people per night to Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul’.

Elsewhere, the boyband’s agency Hybe (formerly Big Hit Entertainment) today announced a 30.8% increase in operating profits in the last year, despite the pandemic.

It almost tripled its revenue from content, such as games and digital comics featuring BTS.

Its takings from merchandise also grew, and that from advertisements, artist appearances and their management more than doubled.

However, concerts have seen a slow recovery with Hybe’s earnings from performances under a quarter of what they were in 2019.

The company operates as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management and concert production company, and as a music publishing house.

 


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BTS set for South Korea’s largest gigs since 2020

BTS are set to deliver the largest concerts South Korea has seen since the beginning of the pandemic.

The record-breaking K-pop stars are slated to perform three in-person concerts at Jamsil Olympic Stadium in Seoul next month.

The ministry for culture has permitted the group to invite 15,000 people per night to the 70,000-capacity outdoor stadium on 10, 12 and 13 March.

The ‘Permission To Dance On Stage – Seoul’ shows will be the group’s first in-person concerts in South Korea in around two and a half years.

The country began allowing in-person concerts from November 2021 though, currently, concerts are capped at 50% capacity or 4,000 spectators for indoor facilities.

BTS’s 12 March show will be available for ‘live viewing’ in cinemas in more than 60 countries worldwide

All spectators are required to show proof of vaccination or recent negative test results while organisers must appoint a sufficient number of safety management workers.

The band’s 10 and 13 March shows will be streamed online simultaneously, while their 12 March show will be available for ‘live viewing’ in cinemas across 60+ countries worldwide.

Some regions will be able to watch the performance live, while other parts of the world will be offered a delayed broadcast to better suit their respective time zones. The cinemas will also offer a replay of the live broadcast later in the day.

Last year, the septet marked their return to in-person performances with ‘Permission To Dance On Stage’ in Los Angeles, California. The group held a mini-residency at the brand new SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) on 27 and 28 November, and 1 and 2 December 2021.

The residency attracted approximately 813,000 people across the four sold-out shows, becoming the biggest single venue concert engagement by any act in almost a decade.

According to Billboard, the Los Angeles leg of their ‘Permission To Dance On Stage’ concert series sold 214,000 tickets and grossed US$33.3million.

 


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