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BTS announce mini-residency at LA’s new SoFi stadium

BTS have announced a mini-residency at the brand new SoFi stadium (cap. 70,000) in Los Angeles this winter, promoted by Live Nation.

The record-breaking K-pop stars will bring their ‘Permission to Dance on Stage’ show to Inglewood, California, for four nights.

The in-person concerts will mark the first time BTS have been able to be face-to-face with fans since the 2019 BTS World Tour.

The four shows, taking place on 27, 28 November and 1, 2 December, will follow the group’s recently announced livestream concert scheduled for 24 October.

The ‘BTS Permission to Dance On Stage’ live stream comes a year after the ‘BTS Map of the Soul On:e’ event in October 2020.

The four shows will follow the group’s recently announced livestream concert scheduled for 24 October

The stars grossed an estimated $44 million from the two-day live stream, which reached 993,000 viewers in 191 regions.

BTS’s record label, Big Hit Music, says they decided to hold the concerts in the US after “taking the national and regional health regulations and circumstances into consideration”.

“It is [with] our deepest regret that we are unable to hold more concerts in more areas,” it added. “We will do our best to put on additional concerts for not only Korean fans but fans from all around the world who have been patiently waiting for a long time.”

Fans can register for ‘Permission to Dance on Stage’ tickets here.

 


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K-pop platform Universe records 2.6m viewers for first show

NCSoft Corporation, the South Korean developer behind the long-running online video game Guild Wars, welcomed more than 2.5 million viewers in 164 countries to its first online concert, staged via new artist-to-fan platform Universe on Valentine’s day.

Universe (no relation to the ticketing service) launched earlier this year as an “all-in-one technology platform” to connect Korean fans with their favourite K-pop and ‘idol’ groups.

The app is seen as a rival to Big Hit Entertainment’s Weverse fan platform, which is home to the likes of BTS, GFriend, CL and TXT. Weverse currently holds the record for the biggest-ever ticketed concert live stream, for BTS’s Bang Bang Con: The Live, which recorded 756,000 concurrent viewers last summer.

The concert featured a multi-view mode that allowed fans to watch the acts from five different angles

A total of 2.6m people viewed the free-to-watch debut show, Uni-Kon, which was held at 7pm Korean time yesterday (14 February). Performers included Park Ji Hoon, Iz*One, Monsta X, the Boyz, Kang Daniel, WJSN and AB6ix.

“There haven’t been big concerts recently due to Covid-19, but we could enjoy many artists’ performances today through Universe,” said Daniel during the show, JoongAng Ilbo reports. “I hope today’s Uni-Kon was a gift for the audience.”

The concert featured a multi-view mode that allowed fans to watch the acts from five different angles, as well as ‘extended-reality’ (XR) virtual stage effects. The entire show, as well as interviews and backstage footage, will be made available on the Universe platform in the coming days.

 


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Universal Music, YG invest in livestreaming service

Universal Music Group (UMG) and K-pop label YG Entertainment have invested in KBYK Live, a livestreaming company backed by BTS’s management company, Big Hit Entertainment.

The investment from YG – home to Korean superstars including Blackpink, Big Bang and iKon – and UMG will go towards expanding KBYK Live’s VenewLive, bringing both companies’ rosters of artists to the platform, which boasts augmented reality (AR), multi-view and 4K streaming capabilities. KBYK Live was established after Big Hit and tech start-up Kiswe partnered last summer.

The technology behind VenewLive was demonstrated at BTS’s record-breaking Bang Bang Con: The Live and Map of the Soul: One in June and October respectively. The former drew in a peak concurrent audience of 756,000, while the latter was viewed by nearly a million people worldwide.

The shows also offered a variety of premium features, delivering a full stage production from multiple angles in 4K resolution, with live chat and synchronised light sticks.

“This past year has shown that the need for reliable and innovative livestreaming has never been greater”

“VenewLive has already livestreamed several large-scale performances last year and provided unique immersive fan concert experiences that can be offered through our cutting-edge technologies, including six-angle multi-views, 4K resolution and various interactive features,” says KBYK Live CEO John Lee. “Our technology will be the basis for enabling fans to feel closer to artists, and help artists express their energy on a digital stage.”

“We are excited about this investment as our company, with many artists competitive on a global stage, has secured a high-quality platform with leading technologies,” adds YG Entertainment COO Sung Jun Choi. “We will continue to do our best to provide more interactive experiences and new services to global fans.”

Boyd Muir, executive vice-president and CFO of Universal Music, says its unspecified investment into KBYK/VenewLive will allow the company to “evolve the opportunities and live streaming experiences for UMG artists and their fans today and into the future”.

“This past year has shown that the need for reliable and innovative livestreaming has never been greater,” he adds. “VenewLive offers some of the most creative and memorable opportunities for today’s artists to globalise their art and performances, tailored to enhance the community and fan experience.”

 


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Super Junior sign with ICM Partners

ICM Partners has signed Super Junior, one of the world’s biggest K-pop acts, for representation outside Asia.

The nine-member boy band broke through globally in 2009 with their hit ‘Sorry Sorry’ and have gone on top win multiple awards in both Korea and internationally. The band’s most recent studio album, their ninth, Time Slip, debuted at number nine on Billboard’s World Albums chart.

Key figures in the so-called Korean Wave, Super Junior, signed to SM Entertainment, are also renowned for their live ‘Super Show’, having played to over two million fans across 150+ shows Asia, Europe and the Americas.

“We are thrilled to represent the kings of the Korean Wave, Super Junior,” comments Jon Pleeter, vice-president of concerts at LA-based ICM Partners.

“Along with [the band’s label] Label SJ, we look forward to growing the Super Junior brand across the media landscape, including global touring, marketing, business development and strategic partnerships.”

 


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Fan tents and sanitiser showers at 1,200-cap K-pop show

An estimated 1,200 K-pop fans attended an innovative socially distanced live show intended to offer a blueprint for how live events may continue in South Korea while Covid-19 is still a threat.

The Live in DMZ concert, held as part of an annual event promoting peace in the Korean peninsula, was organised by the government of the province of Gyeonggi as a means of providing “comfort” to people who are tired of ongoing coronavirus restrictions, according to local media.

For the show, fans were placed in 300 clear dome-shaped tents, specially constructed for the occasion and capable of seating four people (from a single household/bubble) apiece. According to organisers, the tents aim are the first of their kind in the world, and prevent the transmission of potentially disease-carrying droplets between fans.

In addition to the unusual seating arrangement, the Gyeonggi authorities installed an ‘air shower’ gate that sprayed a disinfecting mist at the entrance to the concert, as well as a thermal temperature-checking system and a ‘distancing fence’ to prevent household mixing in the waiting area before fans took their seats, reports the Gyeonggi Daily.

In addition to the unusual seating arrangement, authorities installed an ‘air shower’ gate that sprayed a disinfecting mist

For the purposes of contact tracing, all attendees were required to fill in a health-check questionnaire and provide their details in advance of the show. After filling in the form, ticket buyers received an automatically generated QR code to use for entry into the concert.

Explaining the concept to Cities Today, Lee Jae-gang, Gyeonggi’s vice-governor for peace, says: “By operating a web-based access system that enabled entry using QR codes for confirmation, the Gyeonggi provincial government was not only able to implement rapid and accurate quarantine procedures, but [can] also undertake follow-up management by once again sending self-health-check questionnaires to concert attendees two weeks after the event.”

https://twitter.com/KJH_GLOBAL/status/1320666624010055682

Held from Friday 23 to Sunday 25 October at the 41,000-seat Goyang Sports Complex in Goyang (a satellite city of South Korean capital Seoul), the Live in DMZ show featured performances from local stars including Monsta X, Mamamoo, Itzy, Loona, (G)I-dle, and Oh My Girl’s Seunghee and Yooa.

According to Cities Today, the novel set-up gave the stadium a capacity of 1,200 for Live in DMZ, while an additional 400 people watched the concert online.

 


This article forms part of IQ’s Covid-19 resource centre – a knowledge hub of essential guidance and updating resources for uncertain times.

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BTS gross $18m+ with biggest-ever paid live stream

Bang Bang Con: The Live, a 100-minute live stream featuring K-pop superstars BTS, was the most-attended paid virtual concert to date, with more than 750,000 people in 107 countries tuning in at 6pm Korean time yesterday (14 June).

The interactive show – co-produced by the band’s agency/management company, Big Hit Entertainment, and US livestreaming firm Kiswe – saw band members performing in various spaces (two concert stages and five rooms), with fans able to switch between six viewing angles, from “video call-like close-ups to full shots that encapsulated the tight choreography”, according to Big Hit.

The event peaked at 756,600 peak concurrent viewers – equivalent to 15 shows at a 50,000-capacity stadium, and more than ten times that of fellow Korean band SuperM’s Beyond Live show – all of whom had paid to be there.

Tickets were priced at ₩29,000 (US$24) for members of BTS’s ARMY fan club, and ₩39,000 ($32) for members of the general public, meaning the concert grossed at least ₩21.9 billion, or $18 million, according to the Korea JoongAng Daily.

The event peaked at 756,600 peak concurrent viewers

After performing hits including ‘Dope’, ‘Boy With Luv’, ‘Black Swan’ and ‘Like’, and ‘Jamais Vu’, ‘Respect’ and ‘Friends’ from their fourth studio album, Map of the Soul: 7, BTS closed the show by telling fans they’re looking forward to getting on the road again soon.

“We need to meet each other again,” said Suga, with V and Jin adding: “I hope we can perform again soon, because I want to see ARMY with my very own eyes.”

Bang Bang Con: The Live is the first time Big Hit has charged for an online-only show, although BTS raised an additional €3.5m from livestreaming their historic Wembley Stadium concerts last summer.

 


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Beyond Live: K-pop band SuperM sell 75,000 virtual tickets

More than 75,000 paid viewers tuned into a two-hour live stream by South Korean boy band SuperM yesterday (Sunday 26 April), for the first show in a new online-only concert series, Beyond Live.

The seven-piece, assembled last summer by management company SM Entertainment, performed to fans in 109 countries, including South Korea, the US, the UK, Japan, China, France, Germany and Australia, via video streaming service VLive (the same platform used by BTS for their Wembley Stadium broadcasts last summer) 3–5pm local time. Further Beyond Live shows include Chinese group WayV (on 3 May), NCT Dream (10 May) and Seoul-based NCT 127 (17 May).

“Compared to [physical] shows by popular [K-pop] idol groups, which are usually held with an average of 10,000 people per show, the world’s first online dedicated paid concert, Beyond Live, attracted 75,000 people around the world at once,” says SM in a statement.

“By mobilising an audience 7.5 times bigger than ‘offline’ concerts, we expect to develop a new concert business”

“By mobilising an audience 7.5 times bigger than ‘offline’ concerts, we expect to develop a new concert business.”

Fans who tuned into the first Beyond Live show paid an average of US$30 to be there, according to Forbes, earning SM some $2 million from virtual ticket sales.

In comparison, SuperM’s February date at the Forum in Los Angeles saw gross sales of just over $1m, per Billboard’s Boxscore. SuperM are represented by CAA in all areas.

Prior to the current livestreaming boom, K-pop superstars BTS earnt an estimated €3.5m ($3.8m), or just shy of $1.9m per show, from livestreaming their two performances at Wembley Stadium in London in June 2019.

 


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BTS’s Bang Bang Con draws 50m viewers globally

More than 50 million people tuned into Bang Bang Con, a two-day video streaming event featuring concerts by K-pop band BTS, last weekend (18–19 April).

At its peak, Bang Bang Con, which featured performances from previous BTS live shows and fan meets, was viewed by 2.24m people concurrently. It follows the Learn Korean with BTS series of videos as the latest social distancing-friendly initiative from the South Korean superstars for their housebound fans.

In addition to streaming video, the event utilised BTS’s official light sticks, known as ‘Army bombs’, to connect fans across the world. The band’s label and management company, Big Hit Entertainment, changed the colour of the light stick throughout the weekend, so fans tuned who into Bang Bang Con on Weverse “felt as if they were gathered in one place” and “cheered together”, says Big Hit.

Half a million people in 162 countries connected ‘bombs’ and shared their colourfully lit pictures on WeVerse and Twitter, using the hashtag #BangBangCon.

In total, Bang Bang Con featured nearly 24 hours of programming across the two days, according to a Big Hit infographic:

BTS Bang Bang Con statisticsBefore the coronavirus hit, BTS planned to play their first continental European stadium shows this summer, as well as returning to London for two nights at Twickenham.

 


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YouTube-conquering Blackpink become biggest K-pop act

After their song ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ earlier this week become the first by K-pop act to surpass a billion views, girl group Blackpink are officially the hottest Korean pop export, outranking even BTS when it comes to online buzz, according to Viberate.

Using data drawn from streaming services, social platforms and official artist websites, Viberate found that Blackpink (pictured), signed to YG Entertainment, just edge out the Big Hit-signed boy band to become the most popular K-pop act.

According to the platform, “it’s a close call, but the answer is Blackpink. Blackpink tops BTS in Viberate’s overall rankings, as well as their mainstream pop and Asianpop rankings, which are calculated according to digital popularity on Twitter, Instagram, Spotify, SoundCloud, and YouTube.”

Not surprisingly, it continues, “YouTube is where Blackpink especially dominates, with 4.5 billion yearly views and of course the recent ‘Ddu-Du Ddu-Du’ benchmark. BTS only surpasses Blackpink in Twitter followers and SoundCloud popularity (where Blackpink has no presence).”

Courtesy of Viberate, here’s how the K-pop titans stack up:

Viberate BTS vs Blackpink

Viberate, one of the first wave of music-focused cryptocurrencies, started out as an Airbnb-like service which promised to cut out the agency middle man and connect unsigned musicians (who would be paid in Viberate’s native crypto, the vibe) with a database of those who might want to book them.

Two years on, its creators are focused on building blockchain-powered database that maps the entire live music business, including artists, music venues, booking agencies, festivals and other music events. Dubbed the ‘IMDb of music’, Viberate allows artists, music professionals and fans to add artist/agent/venue/festival profiles to its database; following review by a team of around 80 ‘curators’, the submitters are rewarded with cryptocurrency.

Following news that its biggest stars would go on a touring hiatus, BTS’s management company, Big Hit Entertainment, recently announced plans to hold global auditions for a new girl band, to rival the likes of Blackpink and Twice.

 


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CAA takes on roster of K-pop giant SM Entertainment

Los Angeles-based Creative Artists Agency (CAA) has signed K-pop management company SM Entertainment for representation in all areas.

CAA will assist on all areas of SM Entertainment’s business, including lifestyle brands and advertising, in addition to live events.

Based in Seoul, SM Entertainment looks after artists including new supergroup SuperM, girl groups f(x), Red Velvet and Girls’ Generation, NCT sub-unit NCT 127 and Super Junior.

In 2016, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group bought US$30 million worth of shares in the entertainment company, equivalent to a 4% stake.

The deal marks the first time one of the major K-pop management companies – SM Entertainment, YG Entertainment (Blackpink, Bigbang) and Big Hit Entertainment (BTS, Tomorrow X Tomorrow, Lee Hyun) – has entered into such an agreement with a US talent agency.

“We are honoured and excited to be working with the incredible SM team to support the growth of what is already a huge fan base around the world”

“It is a great pleasure [to be] working together with the largest entertainment and sports agency in the US,” comments SM Entertainment executive director Soo-Man Lee, adding that SuperM and NCT 127 in particular “will expand further on the global market with CAA”.

“This contract is only the beginning of our collaboration,” continues Soo-Man Lee. “I hope to contribute to our forthcoming global entertainment business by providing new visions and creating more meaningful content.”

“Seeing an SM Entertainment show is an amazing experience,” says CAA president Richard Lovett. “Soo-Man Lee and his talented team have an incredible eye for high energy and charismatic talent. We are honoured and excited to be working with the incredible SM team to support the growth of what is already a huge fan base around the world.”

The companies have already worked together on SuperM’s upcoming North American tour, which kicks off on 11 November in Texas, and on TV appearances for NCT 127.

 


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