HYBE Strikes 10-Year Deal With Universal Music Group

Hybe, the Korean firm behind K-pop’s BTS, has struck an expanded 10-year deal with Universal Music Group (UMG), providing Hybe’s roster of artists and labels access to UMG’s leading global network.

UMG will further collaborate with Hybe’s global superfan platform Weverse, bringing more of a direct connection between UMG artists and their fandom.

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Hybe and UMG will additionally collaborate on artist promotions and marketing activities in North America under the oversight of Scooter Braun – who, in his time as CEO of Hybe America, acquired QC Media Holdings and incorporated SB Projects as well as Big Machine Label Group into the existing roster.

Hybe and UMG first teamed up in 2017 on BTS, through a distribution agreement in Japan. In 2021, the companies expanded their relationship with a global strategic agreement which saw collaborations across multiple projects and use of Weverse for fan communication. Geffen Records and Hybe also announced a new joint venture to launch “The Debut: Dream Academy.” This is intended to implement Hybe’s K-Pop methodology in the U.S., and saw an initial six trainees were selected through global audition to become part of KATSEYE. The group will debut later this year.

Separately, on Monday, Hybe launched new female idol group Illit. It said that the group’s debut album will be called “Super Real Me.”

The deal which further enmeshes the Korean and international music systems was signed by UMG’s chairman and CEO, Lucian Grainge, Hybe’s chairman Bang Si-Hyuk and Braun.

“A partnership of this magnitude only comes together when both sides are equally committed to continued growth. UMG is an iconic music company and together with Hybe, the potential is endless. We are certain that this will expand our global footprint, while benefiting our fans, artists, and labels,” said Bang.

“Chairman Bang, Scooter Braun and Park Jiwon have brought an innovative and progressive vision to the industry that underscores music’s global power. With the opportunities in engaging the superfan via their groundbreaking Weverse model, we’re thrilled to grow and expand our platform business collaboration as we evolve together leading the music industry’s evolution,” said Grainge.

“The opportunity created here not only allows us to help our current roster, but grow opportunities for independent artists and labels globally,” said Braun.

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