K-Pop is facing a “very clear slowdown in growth”. That is why HYBE, the mega company behind BTS and other globally popular acts, is eyeing expansion into the US. This was stated by HYBE chairman Bang Si-Hyuk, to CNN’s Richard Quest in an interview, reports ‘Variety’.
HYBE is seeking to expand its holdings in the South Korean music market by acquiring a large stake in its competitor, SM.
The genre, which has boomed globally over the past five years, “is not as hot in the market as you might perceive,” Bang said, according to ‘Variety’.
“Globally, it’s not occupying much of the market,” he added. “On the other hand, Latin music and Afrobeat are very rapidly growing. So being where we are, it is more urgent to increase the exposure. … Looking at our export indicators and streaming growth, the slowdown in growth is very clear.”
Of course, Bang notes that it is possible the slowdown could be due to BTS’ members facing a hiatus due to mandatory service in South Korea’s military.
“I doubt that,” he concluded, which is a reason why the company is acquiring or buying interest in “labels and management companies in America, to be able to build the infrastructure.”
In 2021, the company struck a $1 billion deal to acquire Ithaca Holdings, the company headed by Scooter Braun, the longtime home of Justin Bieber and Ariana Grande, and one last month to acquire the company behind hip-hop powerhouse Quality Control, which has Lil Baby, Lil Yachty, City Girls and Migos.
Last month, SM CFO Cheol Hyuk Jang posted a 15-minute video called “The reason why SM is against HYBE’s hostile takeover.”
Bang responded to CNN, saying, “I think it’s propagandistic to call it a hostile deal. Even through purchasing agencies, with all the CDs sold in Korea, [from] both SM and HYBE combined, it’s very difficult for us to monopolise the market.”