A few months back MBW told you about three things the major labels can learn from Big Hit Entertainment, the Seoul based label behind megastars BTS.
Big Hit’s global revenues in the first nine months of 2020 hit $437m, rising substantially year-on-year in spite of the pandemic.
One of the keys to this success, according to the company’s Global CEO Lenzo Yoon, has been its “platform-based Big Hit ecosystem” – a direct-to-fan app / online platform called Weverse, which hit 10 million downloads earlier this year.
Weverse, developed in-house by Big Hit subsidiary beNX, pulls together content made by and for Big Hit artists including music videos, teasers, movies, merch sales and even live streams, presenting it all in one place for various artist fan communities.
In June, BTS’ record breaking virtual concert, ‘BANG BANG CON The Live’, banked close to $20 million in ticket sales, having attracted 756,600 concurrent viewers from 107 regions.
Everything related to ‘BANG BANG CON The Live’ – including its ticket sales, live-streaming hosting and merch sales – were processed exclusively in the Weverse app.
It looks like at least one major record company has been paying close attention.
Today (November 25) Big Hit has revealed it is expanding access to Weverse to US artists for the first time, as Weverse looks to “establish itself as a global platform designed for an all-encompassing global fan experience”.
It has already launched a new Weverse fan community for singer-songwriter Gracie Abrams, who is signed to Interscope Geffen A&M.
According to a press statement, Weverse will also launch communities for Abrams’ label mates Alexander 23 and YUNGBLUD later this year, as well as additional global recording artists from Interscope parent, Universal Music Group.
Just like the Weverse fan communities operated by Big Hit for K-pop artists like BTS, SEVENTEEN and TOMORROW X TOGETHER, the UMG artists’ Weverse communities will provide access to their music, music videos, and live performance videos.
Gracie Abrams is a solo pop artist and singer-songwriter known for her debut single Mean It as well as tracks Stay, 21, I miss you, I’m sorry, Under / Over and Friend.
Abrams made her television debut on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon earlier this year and most recently performed Friend on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
“Weverse continues to quickly establish itself as a global platform designed for an all-encompassing global fan experience.”
Big Hit said in a statement: “The new affiliation with Gracie Abrams, Alexander 23 and YUNGBLUD are the first of many new partnerships with artists from around the world as Weverse continues to quickly establish itself as a global platform designed for an all-encompassing global fan experience.
“The platform already services more than 200 countries and regions around the world and continuously adds improvements and innovative new features.
“These diverse functions and services are the source of the overwhelming positive response from international labels and artists.”
Earlier this month, we learned that Big Hit Entertainment is reportedly set to launch a joint venture company with Korean firm Naver in the United States.
Naver is a tech and software company best known for its search engine in South Korea, which handles the majority of online searches in the country.
According to the Korea Times, Naver and Big Hit are teaming up in the US to “run an entertainment business utilizing K-pop stars” that taps into the livestreaming expertise of both companies.
Big Hit is expected to take the majority stake in the JV.Music Business Worldwide