From Big Hit to HYBE: A Deep Dive into K-Pop's Powerhouse Entertainment Company

 

From Big Hit to HYBE: A Deep Dive into K-Pop's Powerhouse Entertainment Company

Embark on a riveting journey through the chronicles of K-Pop's powerhouse, from the maestro Bang Si-hyuk's serendipitous encounters in the '90s to the global triumphs of BTS, TXT, and beyond. Picture the inception of Big Hit Entertainment on February 1, 2005—a seismic moment in K-Pop history, unleashing the vocal prowess of 8Eight and orchestrating harmonious collaborations with JYP Entertainment. 

Witness the evolution of Big Hit into HYBE Corporation, a multi-dimensional entity with a global IPO on South Korea's KOSPI in 2020. Join the symphony of strategic acquisitions, partnerships, and the transformative rebranding in March 2021. Delve into the intricate dance of decisions in 2023 as HYBE becomes the largest SM Entertainment shareholder and forays into Latin America with the acquisition of Exile Content.

In this deep dive, uncover the melodies of success, the scandals that shaped the narrative, and the unrelenting pursuit of musical magic. Join us as we unravel the captivating story of HYBE Corporation—a narrative pulsating with beats, scandals, and the promise of an enchanting K-Pop journey that resonates worldwide. Brace yourself for a blog post that promises to unravel the secrets behind K-Pop's most influential entertainment company!

Bang Si-hyuk: The Maestro Behind the Hits & Founder of Big Hit Entertainment and HYBE

Bang Si Hyuk Founder of Big Hit Entertainment HYBE

Meet the maestro of melodies, the wizard behind the beats—Bang Si-hyuk, the musical virtuoso who spun the tale of K-Pop magic from the very beginning. Picture this: the '90s, a time of boy bands, frosted tips, and dial-up internet. Bang Si-hyuk, barely out of college, dove headfirst into the world of music, jiving to the rhythm of his dreams.

In a serendipitous twist of fate, he crossed paths with Park Jinyoung, now the founder of JYP Entertainment. The dynamic duo didn't just hit it off; they composed songs together, forging a friendship amidst the chords and notes of their shared passion. When Park Jinyoung laid the foundation for his label in 1997 (then a tongue-twisting "Tae-Hong Planning Corp"), Bang Si-hyuk joined the musical caravan as a composer, songwriter, and producer extraordinaire.

Their collaboration on the debut album of god, under the EBM label (now SidusHQ), skyrocketed to success, making waves in the early 2000s K-Pop scene. Bang Si-hyuk, dubbed the "hitmaker," orchestrated the melodies that reverberated across the nation. From the enchanting tunes of "One Candle" to the rhythmic beats of "Road," god became a sensation, and Bang Si-hyuk emerged as a musical wizard.

Fast forward through the years, and Bang Si-hyuk continued to craft musical masterpieces, leaving an indelible mark on the K-Pop tapestry. Rain, Wonder Girls, 2AM—all graced by his Midas touch. And then came the magnum opus—BTS. His prowess with the septet earned him the "Best Producer Award" at the Mnet Asian Music Awards in 2016 and the coveted "Songwriter Award" at the Melon Music Awards.

Bang Si-hyuk, the maestro, the hitmaker, lives on, weaving musical spells that resonate through the hearts of K-Pop enthusiasts worldwide. The stage is his canvas, and the melody, his masterpiece!

2005: Founding Big Hit Entertainment

Big Hit Entertainment Logo

February 1, 2005—K-Pop history gets a dash of Bang Si-hyuk magic as he conjures up Big Hit Entertainment, a powerhouse destined to shake the music scene. The curtain rises, and the first act to grace the stage is none other than the vocal trio 8Eight, a symphony of two lads and a lady, marking their debut in August 2007.

Fast forward to the rhythm of 2008, and Big Hit, in a harmony of collaboration, teams up with JYP Entertainment to manage the dulcet tones of the four-piece ballad group 2AM. It's a musical partnership made in heaven, and the notes of success start to play. In 2010, the musical maestro, Bang Si-hyuk, orchestrates another tune—project duo "Homme" emerges, a collaboration between 2AM's Lee Changmin and 8Eight's Lee Hyun. The K-Pop melody keeps evolving, and in the same year, a seismic shift occurs as Kim Namjoon, the future RM of BTS, steps into the limelight under the Big Hit banner.

But before the boy band revolution, Big Hit spreads its wings with its first-ever girl group, "Glam," in 2012. Teaming up with Source Music, the label crafts a musical journey. However, the Glam tale takes an unexpected twist, with a scandal involving one member, Dahee. The courtroom drama unfolds, and in 2015, Glam's notes fade as the group officially disbands. Fans speculate that the echoes of Glam's untimely end resonated through the corridors of Big Hit Entertainment, leading to a seven-year hiatus in debuting a new girl group. In the symphony of K-Pop, Big Hit's journey is a rollercoaster of beats, scandals, and the unrelenting pursuit of musical magic!

2013: BTS Debuts

In 2013, when K-Pop's landscape was still buzzing with Glam's tunes, enter the sensational seven member group, BTS, the game-changers of the industry! Two years before the final notes of Glam's tale, these seven lads burst onto the scene under Big Hit Entertainment. Initially, their melodies may not have echoed loudly on the charts, but their energy and charisma set them apart.

BTS didn't just hit the charts; they exploded onto the scene. Their debut songs may not have lingered long on the charts, but their energy and charisma earned them a slew of newcomer awards by the year's end. Then came "Skool Luv Affair" in February 2014, and suddenly, BTS soared to the top of the Korean Gaon album charts, marking the beginning of an upward trajectory.

BTS Big Hit Debut 2013

The turning point came in 2015 when "I Need U" from "The Most Beautiful Moment in Life" snagged their first music show win. The crescendo continued in 2016 with their album "Wings," selling a million copies—a milestone that set the stage for global domination. BTS didn't just ride the Hallyu wave; they became its pioneers, conquering international stages and claiming the title of the world's most famous boy band. From profound lyrics to tackling taboo topics, BTS set themselves apart from the symphony, crafting a melody that resonates globally and etching their names into the K-Pop hall of fame! 

2019: Tomorrow X Together Debuts

In 2019, marks the debut of five member boy group, Tomorrow x Together aka TXT, Big Hit Entertainment's much-anticipated boy band. After two years of anticipation since Big Hit's announcement in 2017, the curtain finally lifted in March 2019, unveiling TXT with the debut album "The Dream Chapter: Star."

As the first new group from Big Hit since the groundbreaking debut of BTS six years prior, TXT faced sky-high expectations. Yet, they didn't just meet these expectations—they soared past them with the energy of shooting stars! The debut album not only claimed the throne on the Korean Gaon Album Charts but also ascended to the summit of the American Billboard World Album Charts.

TXT 2019 Debut Big Hit Entertainment

TXT's magic wasn't just limited to albums; their title track "Crown" wielded a royal touch, propelling them to the top of the Billboard World Digital Songs chart. This feat, achieved shortly after their debut, was unprecedented in K-Pop history, setting TXT apart as trailblazers in the realm of global success. The Dream Chapter: Star wasn't just an album; it was a celestial proclamation of TXT's arrival, and K-Pop enthusiasts around the world took notice!

2019 - 2021: Acquisitions & Partnerships

Weverse Logo Big Hit HYBE Acquisitions

In the midst of 2019, Big Hit Entertainment underwent significant expansions, acquiring the video game company "Superb" and reuniting with a previous collaborator, Source Music. Concurrently, Big Hit developed the Korean app and platform, Weverse, designed for exclusive digital content and fostering direct communication between the label's artists and their fan base. The Weverse Shop emerged as a marketplace where fan items and subscriptions for exclusive Weverse content, including educational and entertainment videos and label updates, were made available.

Big Hit's strategic growth initiatives had already begun in the latter half of 2018 with the establishment of "Belift Lab" in collaboration with CJ E&M, a major entertainment and mass media company. This joint agency, with 48% ownership by Big Hit and 52% by CJ E&M, co-produces artists under the Belift umbrella. In 2020, Belift orchestrated a survival show resulting in the debut of Enhypen in December, achieving rapid success by selling over 310 thousand copies of their debut album, "Border: Day One," in just one day—an unparalleled feat, earning them the "Next Leader Award" at "The Fact Music Awards" two weeks after their debut.

Big Hit HYBE Acquisition Befit Enhypen

May 2020 saw Big Hit's acquisition of Pledis Entertainment, allowing the label to operate independently while supporting artists like Seventeen and fromis_9. A month later, KOZ Entertainment, home to Zico, joined the Big Hit family.

The year 2021 witnessed significant restructuring within Big Hit Entertainment. Preceding this transformation, the label secured nearly 18% ownership of YG Plus, a media and advertising agency affiliated with YG Entertainment. Concurrently, Big Hit forged a strategic partnership with Universal Music Group (UMG), aiming to collaborate in the realms of music and technology. A major milestone in this collaboration involves the joint creation of a global boy band through a casting show set to air later in the year. Big Hit will handle talent selection and training, while UMG will oversee production and distribution, marking a groundbreaking venture in the ever-evolving landscape of the music industry.

2020: Big Hit Goes Public

Hybe Building

In a historic move, Big Hit Entertainment, now known as HYBE Corporation, marked a significant milestone with its initial public offering (IPO) on South Korea's prestigious KOSPI stock exchange. The IPO, which took place on October 15, 2020, captivated investors and K-Pop enthusiasts alike.

Amidst heightened anticipation, HYBE's IPO became one of the most notable events in the entertainment industry's financial landscape. The company's stock symbol, 352820, echoed through the trading halls as HYBE made its debut on the KOSPI. The IPO not only garnered attention for the company's valuation but also highlighted the global influence of K-Pop.

The fervor surrounding the IPO was largely fueled by the unparalleled success of HYBE's flagship group, BTS, and the diverse portfolio of talents under its umbrella. As the stock embarked on its journey, it symbolized not just an investment opportunity but also a testament to the transformative power of K-Pop in the international market.

HYBE's IPO on the KOSPI not only reflected the financial prowess of the entertainment giant but also served as a testament to the enduring appeal and influence of K-Pop as a cultural phenomenon.

2021: Restructure - Big Hit Entertainment becomes HYBE Corporation

HYBE Logo

In March 2021, a transformative step occurred in the 16-year journey of Big Hit Entertainment, leading to its rebranding as "Hybe Corporation." This renaming reflects the company's expanded scope, signaling its evolution beyond its original business domains. Hybe Corporation now functions as a multifaceted entity, encompassing roles as a record label, talent agency, music production company, event management and concert production company, and music publisher. The restructuring also saw the establishment of a new subsidiary in April—Big Hit Music, which now oversees the label responsibilities for BTS and TXT.

This comprehensive change extended beyond nomenclature; the company physically relocated to its newly constructed headquarters in Yongsan, a district in central Seoul. In June 2021, founder Bang Sihyuk made a strategic move, stepping down from the CEO position to intensify his focus on music production, though retaining his role as the chairman of the board of directors.

Even amidst these structural transformations, Hybe continued its expansion through acquisitions and partnerships. Notably, a collaboration with the Japanese streaming platform "Showroom" was initiated to enhance services in Japan and further solidify Hybe's presence in the global music industry.

2021–present: Hybe Corporation

HYBE Bang Si-hyuk Scooter Braut

In April 2021, HYBE made a significant acquisition by obtaining Scooter Braun's Ithaca Holdings and all associated entities, such as SB Projects and Big Machine Label Group. This transaction, facilitated through its subsidiary Hybe America, is estimated to be worth over $1 billion. Following the merger, Scooter Braun assumed a position on HYBE's board and retained the CEO title for the American arm of the business. Bang Si-Hyuk, the visionary founder of Big Hit in 2005, chose to step down from the CEO role in July 2021, assuming the position of chairman within the company.

On November, 2022 a new chapter unfolded in the music industry with the announcement of the establishment of ADOR, a promising music label. The mantle of leadership was bestowed upon Chief Brand Officer (CBO) Min Hee-jin, who assumed the role of CEO. Her pivotal responsibility was to steer the management of ADOR's inaugural girl group, unveiled as NewJeans. This exciting revelation set the stage for the debut of NewJeans in July 2022, adding a new dimension to the ever-evolving K-Pop landscape. With Min Hee-jin at the helm, ADOR's foray into the music scene promised innovation and artistic flair, signaling a dynamic addition to the rich tapestry of K-Pop endeavors.

HYBE SM Entertainment Hostile Takover

February 2023, In a strategic maneuver that reverberated through the South Korean entertainment industry, HYBE Corporation solidified its position as a major player by becoming the largest shareholder (hostile takover) of SM Entertainment. The acquisition encompassed founder Lee Soo-man's substantial 14.8% stake, amounting to an impressive ₩422.8 billion investment. Subsequent moves included the acquisition of Galaxia SM's 1% stake on March 3, further solidifying HYBE's influence.

However, on March 12, HYBE declared a strategic shift, opting not to pursue majority stakes in SM Entertainment. The decision, fueled by a concern for shareholder value amid a bidding war with Kakao, signaled a nuanced approach to corporate strategy. On March 24, HYBE announced a pivotal move—committing to sell its entire stake in SM Entertainment to Kakao through a tender offer. Yet, by March 28, a recalibration ensued, with HYBE opting to sell only half of its stakes to Kakao, retaining a significant 8.81% position. This intricate dance of strategic decisions marked a fascinating chapter in the corporate interplay within the dynamic realms of South Korea's entertainment conglomerates.

Hybe Exile Content Latin America

November 2023, In a strategic expansion move, HYBE Corporation broadened its global footprint by acquiring its inaugural Latin America subsidiary in November 2023. The acquisition target was none other than Exile Content, a prominent Spanish-language studio. This foray into the Latin American market marked HYBE's decisive step towards diversifying its portfolio and establishing a significant presence in a region with a rich cultural tapestry.

The incorporation of Exile Content into the HYBE family not only underlined the company's commitment to global expansion but also reflected a keen interest in tapping into the vibrant and dynamic Latin American entertainment landscape. As HYBE continues to explore and invest in diverse markets, the acquisition of Exile Content serves as a testament to its strategic vision and determination to navigate the ever-evolving global entertainment industry.

Divisions & Subsidiaries

Navigating Hybe's extensive ecosystem can be challenging, but fear not! We've condensed the corporation's vast departments and subsidiaries for you. Hybe Corporation boasts a diverse empire across three divisions:

Hybe Labels:

This division supports all record labels within Hybe Corporation, including Big Hit Music, Belift Lab, KOZ Entertainment, Pledis Entertainment, Source Music, and the newly established ADOR.

   Big Hit Music: BTS (RM, Agust D, J-Hope, Jin, Jimin, Jungkook, V), Tomorrow X Together, Lee Hyun

   Belift Lab: EnhypenI'LL-IT

   Source Music: LE SSERAFIM

   ADOR: NewJeans

   Pledis Entertainment: Seventeen (BSS), Baekho, Minhyun, Bumzu, Nana, Yehana, Sungyeon, Fromis_9, TWS

   KOZ Entertainment: Zico, Dvwn, BoyNextDoor

Hybe Solutions: 

Specializing in video content, learning, and games, this division oversees subsidiaries like the gaming company Superb and HYBE Edu, focusing on educational content for fans interested in learning the Korean language and culture.

Hybe Platforms:

The technology arm, housing the subsidiary Weverse Company, manages the Weverse Platform, Weverse Shop, and the live streaming platform V Live. V Live, initially founded by Naver Corporation, was transferred to Weverse Company in March 2022.

Hybe America:

Before the rebrand, Big Hit America was a subsidiary, later acquired by Hybe Corporation for ₩1.7 trillion ($1.5 billion), transforming into Hybe America. This paved the way for Hybe America's acquisition of Ithaca Holdings, facilitated by BH Odyssey Merger Sub. The Ithaca acquisition was anticipated to be finalized in Q1 2021, as per the May 14 quarterly earnings report.

In July 2021, Yoon and Braun assumed co-CEO roles at Hybe America, managing US operations. Yoon focused on localizing Hybe's K-pop business model and overseeing talent processes, while Braun concentrated on solidifying Hybe's presence in the US music industry. Jaesang Lee, CSO leading the Ithaca acquisition, became COO. Plans for a global girl group with Geffen were revealed on November 4. Braun became the sole CEO in January 2023 and led the acquisition of QC Media Holdings in February.

Companies under Ithaca Holdings include Atlas Music Publishing, Big Machine Label Group, BMLG Records, Big Machine Records, The Valory Music Co., Mythos Studios, Raised in Space, SB Projects, SB Consulting, SB Management, SB Ventures, Schoolboy Entertainment, Schoolboy Records (with Universal Music Group), Sheba Publishing, Silent Labs, QC Media Holdings, Quality Control Music, Solid Foundation Management, Quality Films, and QC Sports.

Hybe America:

In July 2021, Hybe underwent a leadership restructuring, merging its Japanese subsidiaries, Hybe Solutions Japan and Hybe T&D Japan, into a unified regional headquarters named Hybe Japan. This independent branch, led by CEO Han Hyun-rock, manages diverse aspects such as music production, publishing, copyright, artist management, talent development, and facilitates the entry of other Hybe artists into the Japanese market. Notably, Hybe Labels Japan introduced its first boy group, &Team, in December 2022, and co-produced the girl group Moonchild, created in collaboration with Hiroomi Tosaka of J Soul Brothers, which debuted in 2023.


Blog posts

  • From Big Hit to HYBE: A Deep Dive into K-Pop's Powerhouse Entertainment Company

    , by Stephanie Joondeph From Big Hit to HYBE: A Deep Dive into K-Pop's Powerhouse Entertainment Company

    Read more 

  • November 2023 K-Pop Comeback/Birthday/Anniversary Schedule

    , by Shopify API November 2023 K-Pop Comeback/Birthday/Anniversary Schedule

    Read more 

  • Stray Kids Lightstick Ver. 2 Pre-Order

    , by Stephanie Joondeph Stray Kids Reveal Lightstick Ver. 2 

    Read more 

Login

Forgot your password?

Don't have an account yet?
Create account