BIG HIT ENTERTAINMENT AND UNIVERSAL MUSIC GROUP ANNOUNCE EXPANDED STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
The Two Global Companies to Collaborate Across Multiple Projects and Technology Platforms Including Big Hit’s Weverse and Venewlive to Help Enhance Artist Opportunities, Communication and Fan Experiences
Big Hit to Launch New JV Label With Geffen Records to Debut a New, History Making K-Pop Boy Group for the Global Music Market
Members of the New Boy Group to Be Selected through a Global Audition Program to Begin Airing in 2022 in Conjunction with a Major U.S. Media Partner
SEOUL, February 18, 2021 – Big Hit Entertainment (Big Hit), and Universal Music Group (UMG), today announced an expanded strategic partnership that will see the two companies work closely together to increase opportunities for artists through innovation and technology, whilst expanding the global reach of K-pop music and culture around the world.
UMG artists will explore enhanced “direct to fan” communications through Big Hit’s Weverse, a dynamic community-based platform that allows loyal artist fans to engage, share and interact, see and hear new content and purchase new products. Weverse is already being utilized by UMG artists’ Gracie Abrams, New Hope Club and Alexander 23, with Yungblud amongst the next wave of talent joining Weverse in the coming months.
This follows the announcement last week that UMG has become an equity investor alongside Big Hit, YG Entertainment and Kiswe in KBYK’s VenewLive premium live streaming platform.
Making the joint announcement today via KBYK’s VenewLive platform, the two companies also announced the exciting details of a history making project to assemble and debut a new global K-pop boy group together in the U.S. for the first time.
The new artist project will be released under a new JV label to be created between Big Hit, the global powerhouse team behind the phenomenal worldwide success of Grammy-nominated group BTS, in partnership UMG’s Geffen Records, a historic label that has helped shape global youth and musical culture over the past 40 years, through iconic artists including: Nirvana, Guns N’Roses, Elton John and Avicii, alongside 2021’s breakthrough global pop artist Olivia Rodrigo, to name a few.
The newly created label will operate from Los Angeles and will work closely alongside teams from Big Hit America, Geffen Records and UMG to successfully launch this project.
Members of this new boy group will be selected through a global audition program, which is on track to begin airing in 2022 and will be launched in conjunction with a major U.S. media partner. The debuting global act will work based on the K-pop system – A full production that combines music, performance, fashion, music video, and communications with fans.
Big Hit will utilize its global expertise to lead the discovery, training and development of new artists, fan content production processes, and management of fan communications through the Weverse platform. In addition to working closely with a U.S. media partner to produce the audition program, the team at Geffen Records will leverage their extensive industry network and partners to oversee the music production, marketing and global distribution operations.
In making the announcement, Bang Si-Hyuk, Chairman & CEO, Big Hit Entertainment said, “Our two companies indeed share values and visions in that we both pursue constant innovations and are committed to providing our fans with genuine music and content of the highest and uncompromising level of quality.” He added, “In this sense, I strongly believe that UMG and Big Hit will create a synergy that will rewrite the global music history.”
Lenzo Yoon, CEO Global & Business, Big Hit Entertainment said, “We will strive to secure competitive platform leadership and develop a top group of artists through the close partnership between our two companies, enabling K-pop to transcend all borders and languages.” He added, “This project is especially significant as it will apply Big Hit’s ‘success formula’ established over the past 16 years to the U.S., the center of the global music market.”
Sir Lucian Grainge, Chairman & CEO, Universal Music Group said, “With their innovative approach to developing artists and embracing new technology, Big Hit has become one of the most dynamic companies in music entertainment. We’re thrilled to be working together as we launch a new joint venture between our companies that will further accelerate K-pop as a global cultural phenomenon.”
John Janick, Chairman & CEO, Interscope Geffen A&M said, “We are all incredibly excited about this joint venture project between Geffen Records and Big Hit. This partnership offers both of us an incredible opportunity to work together helping to shape the future of music globally to the benefit of artists and fans alike.”
About Big Hit Entertainment
Founded in February 2005 in South Korea by CEO and Producer Bang Si-Hyuk, Big Hit Entertainment’s core business focuses on music production, artist management and publishing. Big Hit’s business ventures incorporate and develop a range of content produced from top-notch artists’ IP, including global superstars BTS and its newest addition TOMORROW X TOGETHER. With its mission of ‘Music & Artist for Healing’, Big Hit strives to impart a positive influence through content while providing comfort and inspiration to music fans worldwide. In October 2020, the company was listed on the KOSPI Market of Korea Exchange (KRX).
About Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the world leader in music-based entertainment, with a broad array of businesses engaged in recorded music, music publishing, merchandising and audiovisual content in more than 60 countries. Featuring the most comprehensive catalog of recordings and songs across every musical genre, UMG identifies and develops artists and produces and distributes the most critically acclaimed and commercially successful music in the world. Committed to artistry, innovation and entrepreneurship, UMG fosters the development of services, platforms and business models in order to broaden artistic and commercial opportunities for our artists and create new experiences for fans. Universal Music Group is a Vivendi company. Find out more at: http://www.universalmusic.com.
About Geffen Records
With a storied history that rivals any music company in the world,the Geffen Records legacy began 40 years ago. From its very inception, Geffen was as adept at working with established icons as they were launching the careers of some of the most important artists in modern music history. Currently home to some of the most innovative and successful artists in music, Geffen Records continues to build upon its rich heritage, identifying and nurturing the music creators who are shaping global culture.