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S.M. Entertainment aims to lead contactless era with Disney-like IP

S.M. Entertainment co-CEO Lee Sung-soo speaks at MU:CON Online 2020 on Friday. (Yonhap)
S.M. Entertainment co-CEO Lee Sung-soo speaks at MU:CON Online 2020 on Friday. (Yonhap)

Korean entertainment behemoth S.M. Entertainment is changing to adapt to the contactless era while utilizing its intellectual properties.

“Like how Disney achieved an IP empire, K-pop will overcome this (pandemic) situation and become a genre that forms an IP empire in the music industry,” said S.M. Entertainment co-CEO Lee Sung-soo on Friday in his speech at MU:CON Online 2020.

MU:CON is a four-day international music industry annual gathering organized by the Korea Creative Content Agency. Lee delivered a speech on a topic titled “Culture Technology, IP Industry and Untact” during MU:CON’s conference session.

As an example of how S.M. Entertainment has been working on utilizing IP and adapting to the changing environment, Lee noted boy band SuperM‘s collaboration with Marvel Studios in rolling out merchandise featuring the group in celebration of the new album “Super One - The 1st Album.” The album was released Friday afternoon via local streaming sites.

Formed in 2019, SuperM has been promoting itself as the “K-pop Avengers,” as it consists of seven members from four different SM Entertainment groups: SHINee, EXO, NCT 127 and WayV.

“In a few months, this collaboration will present new content that we have never seen before,” Lee added.

During his talk, Lee also discussed S.M. Entertainment’s online paid concert series “Beyond Live” that has featured different artists since April.

“Even before the spread of COVID-19, we had been preparing an online concert under the leadership of our general producer Lee Soo-man,” Lee said. “So we were able to quickly launch ‘Beyond Live’ and dominate the scene and set the standard for online concerts.”

He added that the company so far has been presenting “Beyond Live 1.0” and is preparing for upgraded versions of the paid concert series.

Toward the end of his talk, Lee said the need to adapt to the new environment applies not only to S.M. Entertainment, but to the whole K-pop industry, as the pandemic has accelerated online-based and contactless services becoming the music industry‘s cash cow.

Once the change is made successfully, Lee said K-pop has the potential to become an industry that will grow dramatically in the future.

“Although the Korean music industry was hit hard due to the cancellation of concerts, changes are quickly taking place mainly through entertainment powerhouses starting new businesses using IP,” Lee added.

By Song Seung-hyun (ssh@heraldcorp.com)
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