South Korea-headquartered music giant HYBE has officially expanded into the booming Latin Music market.
On Monday (November 13), the company behind K-pop megastars BTS confirmed its acquisition of Latin Music company Exile Music, an affiliate label of Spanish language entertainment studio Exile Content.
Exile Content is a division of Candle Media, which is led by prominent entertainment executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs.
By acquiring the Exile Music label, HYBE is launching a Mexico-based Latin Music arm called HYBE Latin America, which, according to the Korea Times will be led by former YG Entertainment executive Kah Jong-hyun. The exec takes up the role of CEO at the new division.
Exile was founded in 2019 by Isaac Lee, who previously served as Chief Content Officer for Univision and Televisa.
Lee will take up the role of Chairman of the board at HYBE’s new Latin Music unit.
The Exile Content studio, which produces feature film, scripted and unscripted television, music and audio storytelling content, was acquired by Candle Media in May 2022.
Los Angeles-based Candle is run by Co-Chairmen and Co-CEOs Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs, and is backed by investment capital from funds managed by Blackstone’s flagship private equity business.
Lee will continue in his role as CEO of Exile Content, which will remain a division of Candle Media.
With this appointment, HYBE says it will “forge a robust partnership with Exile Content aiming to create optimized content for the Latin market, to form a collaborative network with global and local media companies”.
In the long term, HYBE says that it aims to “graft K-pop’s proven methodology to the Latin genre”.
HYBE said on Monday that HYBE Latin America “will serve as the bridge for HYBE labels artists to better set foot in one of the fastest growing music markets in the world and as a base for developing new artists and content”.
The company plans to build “a localized T&D (Training & Development) and A&R system” via its new division. It also plans to recruit “top-level producers, composers, managers and artists” in the Latin music market.
Latin Music surpassed $1 billion in US recorded music revenue in 2022 and claimed an 8% market share of streaming revenues in the market.
Latin music generated $627 million in gross revenues in the US in the first half of 2023.
News of HYBE’s expansion into the Latin Music market comes five months after the company was reported by Bloomberg to be raising around USD $380 million “to fund acquisitions in the US and expand its business beyond K-pop”.
Industry sources subsequently suggested to MBW that the final number in HYBE’s raise could be even bigger.
“I’m told they already have USD $1 billion committed to this raise,” said one well-placed source at the time with knowledge of HYBE’s process. “It could stay there, or move up even higher.”
Rumors of HYBE’s interest in Latin Music were amplified by Bang Si-Hyuk, HYBE’s Chairman, back in March when he told CNN that he’d been watching the genre – alongside afrobeats – grow “very rapidly” on a global scale.Music Business Worldwide