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Construction starts on AEG’s new Korea arena

Construction has begun on AEG and CJ LiveCity Corporation’s new K-pop-focused entertainment complex in South Korea.

Set to open in Goyang City, Seoul, in 2024, the 1.8 trillion won (€1.3 billion) development comprises the 20,000-capacity CJ Live Arena and an outdoor performance space capable of accommodating 40,000 people.

According to Korea JoongAng Daily, the venue will be enabled for new technologies including the metaverse and AR.

CJ LiveCity CEO Harry HK Shin says the scheme “will create a new paradigm for Korean content”.

There isn’t a venue that is specifically designed to hold major music concerts in Korea

“A solid fandom for K-pop artists has been formed worldwide,” says a statement from CJ LiveCity, a subsidiary of South Korea’s largest media conglomerate CJ Group. “But there isn’t a venue that is specifically designed to hold [major] music concerts in Korea. To embrace more than 10,000 audiences, [K-pop groups] had to use a sports facility.”

AEG is one of the investors in CJ LiveCity, although how much the company will invest in the scheme is still under negotiation, adds the report.

Centrally located between five of Korea’s largest cities, AEG projects the new venue, which has been delayed due to licensing issues, will attract more than 20 million visitors annually.

The deal marks the firm’s entrance into the South Korean live entertainment market and further expands its footprint in Asia, where its interests include Coca-Cola Arena DubaiThailand’s Bangkok Arena and EM Live, and the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai, China.

 


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BTS sell 1.33m tickets for Muster Sowoozoo live stream

BTS 2021 Muster Sowoozoo, the recent two-day virtual concert with K-pop superstars BTS, was attended by 1.33 million unique viewers from 195 countries, livestreaming platform VenewLive has revealed.

Muster Sowoozoo, which celebrated the boy band’s eighth anniversary, comprised two live broadcasts from Seoul, on 13 and 14 June. It is the latest high-profile livestreamed event for the Korean act, following several record-breaking virtual shows in 2020.

Tickets were priced ₩49,500 (US$43.80) for one day or ₩90,000 ($79.60) for both shows, with a special 4K HD/multi-view package (₩59,500/$52.60 per day) available for members of BTS’s official fan club. By IQ’s calculations, that results in a gross of over US$58 million from ticket sales alone; the Indian Express estimates the total gross of more than $71 million including merch sales.

“We were thrilled … with the show’s overwhelming success and turn-out”

In addition to the concerts, which fans with ‘multi-view’ tickets could watch from a variety of vantage points, VenewLive provided a chat feature for fans which was also open to band members. “The chat activity increased dramatically once BTS sent their messages, energising fans who realised that BTS was in the chat as well,” says VenewLive’s CEO John Lee.

In a statement, Lee comments: “We were thrilled to be given the opportunity to showcase BTS’s amazing talent – and even more thrilled with the show’s overwhelming success and turn-out. Once again, VenewLive proved it is the ultimate platform for delivering the world’s best virtual concert experiences. Each BTS concert has pushed the envelope further in terms of what technology and talent can do to elevate the fan experience and this concert was no different.”

VenewLive is partially owned by BTS’s label and management company, Hybe (formerly Big Hit Entertainment).

 


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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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Save Our Stages movement reaches South Korea

Around 70 South Korean bands will take part in a livestreamed benefit concert in aid of the country’s shuttered music venues.

Taking inspiration from the National Independent Venue Association (NIVA)’s Save Our Stages campaign in the US, which culminated in a US$15 billion relief package of the same name, #SaveOurStages Korea launches with a multi-day event taking place at five music venues in western Seoul.

Local acts Galaxy Express, No Brain, Jambinai and Crying Nut are among those taking part in the #SaveOurStages concert, which runs from 8 to 14 March in the Hongdae area of the South Korean capital, according to the Yonhap news agency.

Promoter CODE says most of the money raised in ticket sales and donations will be used to pay venues’ rent and compensate artists and staff, with the remaining amount going back into the local music scene.

Hongdae (pictured) is one of Seoul’s most popular shopping and entertainment areas, but has been hit hard by lockdown and social distancing measures. The greater Seoul area is currently under a 9pm curfew, with gatherings of five or more people banned.

 


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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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BTS announce in-game collaboration in MapleStory

K-pop superstars BTS have announced an in-game collaboration in MapleStory, an online role-playing game, developed by South Korean company Wizet.

Launched in 2005 and first released in North America, the 2D multiplayer game has over 13 million registered players while MapleStory M (the mobile version) which launched in 2018, has racked up 16 million global downloads to date.

Leading up to the in-game collaboration in MapleStory and MapleStory M, players will be treated to three behind the scenes videos surrounding the MapleStory and BTS collaboration, with one new video releasing each week beginning on 25 November via MapleStory’s YouTube channel.

The video content will feature BTS sharing their journey growing up with MapleStory and their personal experiences with the game.

The date of BTS’s appearance in the game is yet to be announced.

This isn’t the boyband’s first experience sharing exclusive content via a gaming platform. In September, the group debuted their new choreography video for their single ‘Dynamite’ in Fortnite‘s Party Royale mode, the game’s no-combat social space.

Epic Games’s Fortnite has also played host to musical events including Travis Scott’s Astronomical, which drew more than 12 million players, Marshmello’s 2019 Fortnite concert which drew 10 million, and in-game concerts from Diplo and J Balvin.

Other notable videogame shows this year include Lil Nas X in Roblox, Gorillaz and Beck in Animal Crossing and several festivals in Minecraft, while 2019 saw Korn play AdventureQuest and the Offspring World of Tanks, among others.

 


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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 an estimated $44m from weekend live streams

K-pop superstars BTS have grossed over $44 million from their ticketed virtual concert weekend, Map of the Soul On:e.

The two-day live stream was broadcast live from Seoul in South Korea on 10 and 11 October and reached 993,000 viewers in 191 regions.

This is a substantial increase from the group’s record-breaking livestream concert in June, Bang Bang Con: The Live show, which was watched from 104 regions.

General admission tickets for Map of the Soul On:e were priced at $81 for a weekend ticket; $90.89 for a weekend ticket plus entry to the online exhibition; and $44.55 upwards for a day ticket.

Production for Map of the Soul On:e is said to have cost eight times more than Bang Bang Con: The Live

For the Bang Bang Con: The Live concert, the group charged between $24 and $32 and grossed an estimated $18m.

Map of the Soul On:e, the world’s first streaming concert that applied both multi-view and 4K/HD, comprised a total of 23 performances across two 150-minute concerts.

Production for the show is said to have cost eight times more than Bang Bang Con: The Live, comprising four stages; technological features such as AR, XR and 4K/HD to bring viewers a more vivid and theatrical concert experience; and multiview live streaming that displays six screens from which fans could select their favourite.

Bang Bang Con: The Live, earned the group a Guinness World Record title for attracting the highest number of viewers for a music concert live stream ever.

A total of 756,000 viewers from over 100 countries tuned in concurrently to watch the online performance on 14 June, which was broadcast live from Seoul, South Korea, featuring a 12-song setlist and allowed fans to switch between six viewing angles.

 


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BTS announce follow-up to biggest live stream to date

This weekend, K-pop superstars BTS will deliver the follow-up to their last virtual concert, Bang Bang Con: The Live, which was the most-attended paid live stream show to date.

The South Korean group’s return to the stage, titled Map of the Soul On:e, will be livestreamed across two days (10 and 11 October) at 11am and 8am BST, respectively.

The concert, which supposedly took a year of preparation, is set to bring brand new performances as well as altered setlists for each day.

While the production, which costs eight times more than Bang Bang Con: The Live, will comprise four stages; technological features such as AR, XR and 4K/HD to bring viewers a more vivid and theatrical concert experience; and multiview live streaming that displays six screens from which fans can select their favourite.

The production, which costs eight times more than Bang Bang Con: The Live, will comprise four stages

Bang Bang Con: The Live, a 100-minute live stream, took place on 14 June and saw more than 750,000 people in 107 countries tune in.

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.

Bang Bang Con: The Live was 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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