Sales from Seventeen, Jungkook and other BTS solo stars drove HYBE’s revenues to over $400m in Q3


South Korea-based entertainment giant HYBE generated revenues of 537.85 billion South Korea Won in Q3.

That quarterly revenue tally for HYBE’s Q3 (the three months to end of September), converts to approximately $404 million, and was up 20.7% YoY. 

The company’s adjusted EBITDA in Q3 was 90.77 billion South Korea Won ($68.22m), up 13.1% YoY.

Three of the biggest highlights during the quarter were HYBE’s ‘Concerts’,  ‘Artist Direct-Involvement’ and ‘Albums‘ segments (see below).

HYBE’s Artist ‘Direct-Involvement’ segment was the company’s largest revenue source in Q3, growing 85.4% YoY in the quarter to 382.417 billion South Korea Won ($287.28m).

Meanwhile, HYBE’s Artist ‘Indirect-involvement’ business line, which sees the company use the name and likeness of its artists such as BTS without requiring the band’s active participation, registered a YoY decline for a second straight quarter in Q3.

Artist ‘Indirect-involvement’ revenues (the company’s third largest revenue stream) fell 35% YoY to 155.44 billion South Korea Won ($116.77m) in Q3, from 239.264 billion South Korea Won in the prior year quarter.

In Q2 2023 (the three months to the end of June) revenues from ‘Artist Indirect Involvement’ came in at KRW 184.5 billion ($139.7 million), down 1.0% YoY.

This trend marks a significant post-pandemic shift in the company’s key revenue sources, having previously cited its “Artist Indirect” business – revenue-generating projects that use an artist’s brand/likeness, without the actual artist needing to be involved – as one of the main reasons it did well during the pandemic.

These activities became HYBE’s main revenue driver in every quarter of 2021, including Q1 (ending March 31), Q2 (the three months to the end of June), Q3 (the three months to the end of September) and Q4 (ending December 31).

It was also the company’s biggest revenue driver across the FY 2021, generating 733 billion KRW ($640m at annual average exchange rates) that year – up 72.8% YoY.

Album sales were HYBE’s second-largest revenue source in Q3, generating 264.12 billion South Korea Won ($198.46m) in the quarter, representing a significant 104.4% YoY increase.

Album-related highlights cited by HYBE came from K-Pop stars Seventeen, who sold 11 million copies of their albums during the first nine months of the year.

Their 11th mini album Seventeen Heaven, released on October, 23 sold 5.09 million in its first week, breaking K-pop’s first-week album sales record in the process and becoming the first K-pop album to sell over 5 million copies in its debut week.

Seventeen also contributed to HYBE’s Concert revenues, which grew 83.9% YoY in Q3 to 86.87 billion South Korea Won (65.3m) in the three months to the end of September.

The group’s World Tour saw them perform in nine cities across Japan and Asia, with their tour of Japan alone attracting 515,000 attendees.

Other artist highlights cited by HYBE came from the solo projects of BTS’ superstar members.

Amongst them are Jin, who sold 1 million copies of his solo single The Astronaut, and V who sold 2.1 million copies of his album Layover in its first week to set a record for the biggest debut week for a solo K-pop act. Jimin scored a No.1 on the US Hot 100 with Like Crazy and a No.2 on the US albums chart with FACE.

Jungkook’s megahit Seven, meanwhile, spent 13 consecutive weeks at No.1 on the US Hot 100 and recently broke the record for the fastest song to reach one billion streams on Spotify, achieving the milestone in just 108 days.

Elsewhere in the company’s Q3 financial results, HYBE reports that its ‘Merchandising and licensing’ business segment generated revenues of 85.65 billion South Korea Won ($64.3m), down 25.3% YoY.

Revenues generated within HYBE’s ‘Contents’ business line fell 54.5% YoY to 48.74 billion South Korea Won ($36.63m).

HYBE’s Fan Club revenues grew  21.3% YoY to 21.03 billion South Korea Won ($15.8m).

The company’s fan community app Weverse grew its user base to 10.5 million MAUs, from 9.5 million MAUs in the previous quarter.

The company also published a streaming revenue breakdown between its Korean labels, Big Machine Label Group (BMLG) and QC.

HYBE acquired QC – best known as Quality Control (QC), the Atlanta-born hip-hop specialist created by local legends Pierre “P” Thomas and Kevin “Coach K” Lee – in February.

HYBE acquired BMLG when Scooter Braun sold the entirety of his Ithaca Holdings – including SB Projects and Big Machine Label Group – to HYBE  in April 2021 for $1.05 billion.

According to HYBE, QC accounted for 19% of its overall streaming revenues in Q3, while BMLG accounted for 27% (see below).

 Music Business Worldwide

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