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HYBE concert revenue surged 40% in 2023

Seoul-based K-pop giant HYBE surpassed annual revenue of KRW 2 trillion (€1.5 billion) in 2023, powered by growth in its concert and album businesses.

Concert revenue soared around 40% year-on-year from KRW 258.2 billion (€178 million) in 2022 to KRW 359.1 billion (€253m) in 2023, with the total number of performances increasing from 78 to 125 during the period.

World tours by Suga of BTS and Seventeen, as well as the first North American stadium and Japanese dome tours by Tomorrow X Together and Enhyphen, contributed to the company’s revenue growth. Le Sserafim also held their first Asia tour with sold-out shows in Seoul, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Overall, the South Korean firm behind BTS scored the highest annual revenue (KRW 2.17 trillion) and operating profit (KRW 295.8bn) since its establishment in 2005, representing a year-on-year increase of 22.6% and 24.9%, respectively.

HYBE has maintained growth of annual revenue of more than 20% each year since going public in 2020

Its three-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) stands at 31.7% for revenue and 24.7% for operating profit. HYBE has maintained growth of annual revenue of more than 20% each year since going public in 2020.

Album sales were another key driver in the financial results, with HYBE artists collectively selling 43.6 million units last year, doubling the figure from the previous 12 months. Its global fandom platform Weverse also exceeded a monthly active user base of over 10m.

In addition, HYBE America’s management affiliate SB Projects has signed new artists including singer-songwriter Ozuna and rapper Kaliii, last year. SB Projects is forecasting substantial revenue growth for this year with the release of Ariana Grande’s new album in March.

HYBE has also disclosed plans for a cash dividend of KRW 700 won per share, totaling KRW 29.2bn.

 


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Maroon 5 to play opening of South Korea arena

Maroon 5 has been announced as a headline act for the grand opening of Mohegan Inspire Entertainment Resort in South Korea.

The American group will perform on 8 and 9 March at the resort’s new 15,000-seat venue to mark its inaugural international artist showcase.

Located on Yeongjong Island, in the city of Icheon, Inspire Arena is billed as the nation’s first multi-purpose arena.

“We are on the brink of a historic moment with the grand opening of Inspire,” says Ray Pineault, president and chief executive of Mohegan, which also operates the 10,000-cap Mohegan Sun Arena in Connecticut, US.

“We are on the brink of a historic moment with the grand opening of Inspire”

“This is not just a celebration of our newest offerings but a testament to the hard work and dedication of everyone involved. Hosting Maroon 5 and an array of world-class entertainment reflects our commitment to providing exceptional experiences. We’re ready to set a new benchmark in hospitality and entertainment, welcoming guests from around the globe to discover the magic of Inspire.”

Preceding the main opening event, a special concert called Inspire Salute featuring several K-pop artists is due to be held on 2 March.

Inspire underwent a soft launch last November for its three hotel towers, arena, water park, casino, and outdoor entertainment park.

Additional facilities such as a 1,000-seat food court, a digital art exhibition centre, and an indoor children’s playground will be unveiled in the future.

Inspire is one of three new concert venues to open in South Korea by the end of 2025, along with CJ LiveCity Arena and Seoul Arena.

 


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K-pop mega concert in LA postponed due to weather

Krazy Super Concert 2024 in Los Angeles has been postponed due to “the incoming heavy rains across the Southern California region”.

The K-pop mega concert was set to take place on 9 and 10 February at the BMO Stadium (cap. 22,000) in Los Angeles.

However, California has been drenched with heavy rain as back-to-back atmospheric rivers slammed the West Coast, raising the threat of flash floods and landslides.

Krazy Super Concert was to include performances from K-pop girl groups aespa and (G)I-DLE, along with boybands THE BOYZ and ZEROBASEONE on both days of the event.

Joining them on the first day would have been CL and The Kid Laroi. Day two would have also featured Taeyang, Lauv and AB6IX.

“This difficult decision was made out of an abundance of caution and concern”

The LA edition would have been the second Krazy concert to be held, following the inaugural Krazy K-pop Super Concert 2023 in New York.

“This difficult decision was made out of an abundance of caution and concern for the comfort and safety of our audience, artists and staff,” reads a statement on the official BMO Stadium website. “A new date will be announced soon,” the statement continued, adding that “all tickets will be honoured for the new date”.

The ‘Pineapple Express‘ made landfall on Wednesday, causing heavy mountain snow, gusty winds and rockslides in northern California. San Diego County was under flood advisory throughout Friday morning as the storm spread across the southern part of the stae.

The second storm in the series will arrive in California over the weekend and has the potential to be much stronger, according to reports.

 


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Man jailed for six years for K-pop ticketing scam

A 30-year-old man has been jailed for six years after swindling K-pop fans out of 595 million won (€413,000) in a concert ticketing scam.

The defendant, identified only by his surname of Kim, was convicted of multiple counts of fraud in South Korea.

Seoul Central District Court heard that Kim pocketed profits from the sale of non-existent tickets for concerts by acts such as Blackpink, Lim Young-woong and IU.

The Korea Herald reports that Kim also obtained loans using the credit cards of his victims based on the information he gathered via the scam.

“The defendant continued to go on scamming his victims even while he was being tried for fraud, and used the profits for gambling and making cryptocurrency investments,” the court was told.

The South Korean music business has been targeted by a number of scams

Kim has appealed the ruling.

A recent survey by the Record Label Industry Association of Korea revealed that 32.8% of 19 to 29-year-olds admitted to buying a ticket from tout at least once, with 20% saying they had spent more than 500,000 won (€347) on a ticket.

The South Korean music business has been targeted by a number of scams. Last year, K-pop giants SM Entertainment and HYBE warned fans about a fake event called Fest World Tour, which falsely advertised that acts such as Enhypen, Mirae, WayV, NCT Dream and Seventeen would be performing at stadiums across Asia.

In addition, the agency representing Young-woong said it cancelled 118 ticket sales for his 19-21 January 2024 shows after discovering that some were being resold at more than 6x face value.

Elsewhere, singer Jang Beom-june voided all tickets bought for his January and February concerts due to touting, opting to hold an online ballot instead.

 


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World’s biggest K-pop fest expands to fifth region

KCON, the Korean pop music and culture convention operated by Korea’s largest media conglomerate CJ ENM, will hold five editions in 2024.

This year, the world’s biggest K-pop festival will visit Hong Kong for the first time, before heading to Japan, the US, Europe and Saudi Arabia.

The Hong Kong edition will be held on 30-31 March at the AsiaWorld Expo, a 10,000-seater venue adjacent to the airport.

KCON will use the arena and conference facilities to create a multi-faceted event that features concerts and a full convention of exhibitor booths covering many aspects of Korean culture.

“Hong Kong ranks 6th in K-pop album sales and is emerging as a key location for K-pop stars to perform”

“Hong Kong ranks 6th in K-pop album sales and is emerging as a key location for K-pop stars to perform. [It is] a central hub for fans to experience KCON from more regions across Asia,” CJ ENM said.

KCON organisers say they plan to expand the scale of the K-pop festival in 2024 by reaching larger venues and building out stronger production.

The festival will take place in Japan on 10-12 May and in Los Angeles between 26–28 July, though locations haven’t been announced. Editions in Saudi Arabia and Europe will take place on unspecified dates in the second half of the year.

KCON began in US in 2012 and has since been held in Japan, United Arab Emirates, France, Mexico, Australia, Thailand, and Saudi Arabia. Over 12 years, it has amassed an attendance figure of around 1.65 million in 9 countries.

In 2023, it toured four regions: Thailand (March), Japan (May), Los Angeles (August), and Saudi Arabia (October).

 


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K-pop group TWICE continue to make history

K-pop stars TWICE will continue to make history with their upcoming concerts at Japan’s biggest stadium.

The South Korean group are due to play two nights at the 75,000-capacity Nissan Stadium in Yokohama in July, becoming the first K-pop girl group and the first foreign act to perform at the venue.

TWICE will also be the second-ever K-pop act to grace the stage at the international stadium, following legendary K-pop boy band TVXQ over a decade ago in 2013.

The Japan concerts are a continuation of the group’s fifth world tour, Ready to Be, which last year smashed records across the globe.

The group’s fifth world tour, Ready to Be, which last year smashed records across the globe

In the US, Twice became the first K-pop girl group to sell out and headline SoFi Stadium (cap. 70,000) in Los Angeles and MetLife Stadium (82,500) in New York.

Elsewhere, their performance at Marvel Stadium (53,359) in Victoria on 4 November 2023 was Australia’s first K-pop stadium concert and marked the first time a female group headlined a stadium Down Under.

In Indonesia, the girls became the first K-pop group to headline a concert at the Jakarta International Stadium (82,000) on 23 December 2023.

And recently, TWICE became the first K-pop girl group to sell out a stadium in São Paulo, subsequently adding a second date for the February 2024 visit.

 


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BLACKPINK announce first-ever VR concert with Meta

K-pop stars BLACKPINK will be hosting their first-ever virtual concert in partnership with Meta (formerly known as Facebook) and production company The Diamond Bros.

BLACKPINK: A VR Encore is slated to be a recreation of the group’s special finale show for their Born Pink world tour in Seoul’s Gocheok Sky Dome.

Emmy Award-winning production company The Diamond Bros. will be producing and directing the 70-minute concert for VR in partnership with Meta, and will be made available exclusively in VR inside the Meta Horizon Worlds’ Music Valley.

Meta Quest VR headset owners in select regions are privy to front-row tickets to the experience.

“We can’t wait for you to see the magic we’ve created with The Diamond Bros and Meta”

The show includes performances of songs including ‘Pink Venom’, ‘How You Like That’ and ‘Kill This Love’, as well as solo music performed by each individual member.

“We’re thrilled to embrace the dynamic world of VR because it allows us to reach an even wider global audience and share our music in an entirely new, immersive way,” said BLACKPINK in a statement.

“This VR concert is not just a show; it’s an extension of the tour we poured our hearts into. We can’t wait for you to see the magic we’ve created with The Diamond Bros and Meta, and thank you to our incredible BLINKs for your endless support.”

‘BLACKPINK: A VR Encore’ premieres in VR on December 26 at 5 pm PT in Meta Horizon Worlds. Attendees are now able to RSVP to the event, and replays will be made available for a month after the concert.

 


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Live Nation partners with K-pop label JYP Entertainment

Live Nation has signed a multi-year global strategic partnership with K-pop label JYP Entertainment.

Under the deal, Live Nation will produce tours for established JYP artists including TWICE, Stray Kids, iTZY, Xdinary Heroes (XH) and NMIXX as well as emerging talent.

The new partnership formalises and advances the companies’ existing relationship while also expanding the global reach of JYP artists.

The new partnership formalises and advances the companies’ existing relationship

The firms have collaborated on tours for artists including TWICE, who became the first K-pop girl group to headline both NFL and MLB stadiums when they played Sofi Stadium in LA and MetLife Stadium in New York earlier this year, according to a press release.

The group is in the midst of its fifth and largest world tour to date, READY TO BE, on which they are slated to play 44 shows across 25 cities globally.

Elsewhere, the companies teamed up for Stray Kids’ second world tour, MANIAC, which included 42 shows in 18 cities in North America and Asia.

South Korea-based JYP says it is currently focused on broadening its global reach. In June, the label announced an expansion of its strategic worldwide partnership with Republic Records and Imperial to cover JYP’s entire roster. The partnership now includes global distribution of artists and catalogues, A&R, marketing and business development.

 


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SM Entertainment earnings soar in ‘highest-ever’ quarter

K-pop giant SM Entertainment has reported its highest-ever quarterly earnings for Q3, bolstered by concerts and record sales.

The Seoul-based company, which is home to acts some of the world’s biggest K-pop acts, reported KRW 48 billion (€34m) in operating profit – a 77% surge year-on-year (YOY).

Revenue followed suit with a 40% YoY increase, soaring to KRW 188.7 bn (€133.9m), while net profit reached KRW 37.1 bn (€26.3m), jumping 68% YoY.

SM says increases across the board can be attributed to the rise in music and recording sales by NCT DREAM, aespa and RIIZE, as well as the increase in artist activities such as offline concerts.

The entertainment agency is also home to acts including Girls’ Generation, Super Junior, EXO, NCT and Red Velvet.

The Seoul-based company reported KRW 48 billion (€34m) in operating profit – a 77% surge year-on-year

SM has also revealed a consolidated operating profit of KRW 50.5 bn (€35.8m) for Q3, a staggering 70% YoY increase, as well as a revenue surge of KRW 266.3 bn (€188.9m), a 12% YoY increase. Both figures recorded the highest quarterly performance.

Meanwhile, net profit increased by 189% to KRW 84.2 bn (€59.7m), compared to KRW 29.2 bn (€20.7m) during the same period last year. Operating margin for Q3 recorded 19%, a YoY increase of 6.5%.

SM’s subsidiaries include live entertainment company Dream Maker, advertising, production, travel and talent company SM Culture & Contents, entertainment management agency Keyeast and music publishing subsidiary KMR.

Looking towards the future, SM CEO Cheol Hyuk JANG said: “We have a packed line-up of activities through the end of the year, from aespa, Red Velvet and Taeyeon to TVXQ’s 20th anniversary album and concerts. We are also planning on showcasing a strong lineup of artists and content in the coming year as well. Through our music publishing subsidiary KMR, we’ll actively seek out global songwriters, focus on securing a stable supply of high-quality songs and eventually secure a new stream of revenues for SM through royalties made from selling music to external labels and agencies.”

Earlier this year, internet company Kakao Corp became the second-largest shareholder in SM Entertainment.

SM says increases across the board can be attributed to, in part, to the increase in artist activities such as offline concerts

SM Entertainment says the capital raised through the deal will fund its new business strategy dubbed “SM 3.0” – establishing multiple production centres and labels as well as a music publishing-specialised subsidiary, and investing in the metaverse.

At the end of last year, the Seoul-based operation announced plans to launch a headquarters in Singapore, in order to strengthen its presence in Southeast Asia.

Months later, it was announced that SM and Kakao would launch 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.

 


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AEG Presents to bring huge K-pop event to France

A live edition of South Korea’s popular TV chart show, M Countdown, will take place in France later this year.

The AEG Presents-promoted event, titled M Countdown France, will take place on 15 October at the 40,000-capacity La Défense Arena in Paris.

The concert will “present a wide range of special programming with original content specially crafted for European fans,” alongside activities where concertgoers can “enjoy K-culture and K-pop to their fullest”. Information on the lineup, tickets and live streaming will be released in the coming weeks.

Launched in 2004, M Countdown is broadcast by MNet, a subsidiary of Korea’s largest media conglomerate CJ ENM.

“We will dedicate our best efforts to spread K-pop through an unrivalled stage setup”

CJ ENM is the organiser of the popular global K-pop music festival KCON, which was first held in Southern California in 2012 and has since expanded to ten countries.

“We are delighted to showcase our signature music show M Countdown in France,” says Joon-beom Sim, head of music entertainment at CJ ENM. “We will dedicate our best efforts to spread K-pop through an unrivalled stage setup and also make this show a festival where global fans can unite through music.”

CJ ENM’s parent company CJ Group is currently working with AEG on a “revolutionary” entertainment complex in Seoul, South Korea.

The 1.8 trillion won (€1.3 billion) development in Goyang City comprises a 20,000-capacity arena and an outdoor performance space capable of accommodating 40,000 people.

Meanwhile, the KPOP LUX x SBS SuperConcert is coming to The O2 in London from 22-23 September. The event will star 10 leading K-pop acts and also serve as a celebration of 140 years of diplomatic ties between South Korea and the United Kingdom.

Artists confirmed include Itzy, The Boyz, Zerobaseone, WEi and Xikers for the opening day, with Tomorrow’s X Together, Itzy, Oneus, Yena and Billlie, and another appearance from Xikers set for day two.

 


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