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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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Promoters push for end to Chinese K-pop ban

Amid the growing popularity of K-pop and other Korean music globally, concert promoters in China are reportedly pressuring authorities to lift restrictions on South Korean artists performing in the country.

The People’s Republic of China issued a nationwide ban on performances by Korean artists – as well as a prohibition on South Korean television programmes, and on Korean celebrities appearing on Chinese TV – in November 2016, during a diplomatic row over the presence of US missiles in South Korea.

No major Korean artist has played in China, a market of some 1.4bn people, since – even as the likes of Exo, Twice, Blackpink and, most famously, BTS (who yesterday announced a new world stadium tour), have gone on to huge touring success elsewhere.

According to Bloomberg, “people familiar with the matter” have revealed that China-based promoters are now seeking permission to bring in Korean bands, though it is not clear whether the Chinese culture ministry will be receptive to their requests for permits.

“People are getting ready”

“People are getting ready,” says Archie Hamilton, MD of promoter Split Works. “There is a lot of money there.”

“A lot of Korean artists would like to tour” in China, adds Modern Sky booker Jordan Corso. “It’s too big a market [not to].”

The news comes amid a limited thaw in relations between the two nations that has seen a select number of groups being allowed to tour and South Korean programming returning to Chinese TV.

Shares of YG Entertainment, which manages Blackpink, gained nearly 3% on the publication of the Bloomberg report. JYP Entertainment, which represents Twice, rose 1.4%, while SM Entertainment, whose roster includes Exo and Super Junior, was also up as much as 3%.


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Boom in K-pop shows as Korean Wave hits the west [updated]

The number of K-pop concerts in the west is on the rise as Korean artists become increasingly popular among North American and European audiences.

An infographic by live music crowdsourcing website MyMusicTaste, provided to Billboard, which analyses the spread of K-pop outside its home of South Korea and traditional stronghold in east Asia reveals that, from 2013 to present, the US was the foreign country with the third-highest number of K-pop concerts (102), behind only Japan and China.

The ‘Korean Wave’ has also hit Europe, where the number of shows grew to 30 last year (compared to 18 in 2014 and 14 in 2013), overtaking south-east Asia, which held 19 in 2015.

South America, too, has experienced consistent growth, from 12 K-pop concerts in 2013 to 16 in 2014 and 18 in 2015.

The Made 2015 world tour by Big Bang scored the highest attendance over the last three years, with an estimated 750,000 people worldwide attending 65 concerts

In Australia, 20 K-pop concerts have taken place since 2013, although no information is available about year-on-year growth.

Only the Middle East lags behind: it has hosted just one K-pop show, in the UAE, since 2013.

Most concerts in the period were by groups – 1,209, compared to 126 for solo artists – with the majority, 1,028, by male groups.

The Made 2015 world tour by boy band Big Bang scored the highest attendance over the last three years, with an estimated 750,000 people worldwide attending 65 concerts. TVXQ!’s With tour is close behind, with an attendance of 749,000 from 16 much larger shows, followed by Korean-Chinese group Exo’s Exo Planet #2 – The Exo’luxion (626,784), rapper G-Dragon’s One of a Kind in 2013 (570,000) and the sole female entranct Girls’ Generation/SNSD’s Girls & Peace tour of Japan (276,400).

View the full infographic, courtesy of MyMusicTaste and Billboard, below:

K-pop infographic (2013–2016), MyMusicTaste


Update: A number of fans of South Korean boy band Super Junior have written to us on Twitter to point out that the group may well deserve a place on the infographic above. According to the Super Junior, the band were the first K-pop act to perform 100 concerts worldwide and have performed to a total of 1.3 million people since 2008.