Universal teams with Big Hit and YG Entertainment to invest in global live-streaming platform

BTS's virtual concerts, MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E, broke records in October 2020

Universal Music Group is joining forces with two K-Pop titans – Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment – to invest in a new digital live-streaming platform with ambitions “on a global scale”.

Big Hit has announced that both YG and UMG have acquired an equity stake in KBYK Live, a joint venture that was established between Big Hit and Kiswe last year.

KBYK Live subsequently launched VenewLive in September, a live-streaming content platform.

With the equity investment, YG and UMG say they will help expand VenewLive further “in ways which a range of artists, including those signed with UMG and YG can participate”.

A press release added that, as a result of the deal, VenewLive is “expected to secure globally renowned artist line-up and high-quality performance contents represented by Big Hit, YG, and UMG, while further expanding the platform by utilizing Kiswe’s technologies including the multi-view live-streaming”.

The PR continued: “Powered by Kiswe’s cutting-edge technologies, VenewLive can customize each concert experience to fit the identity and characteristics of each artist while providing innovative and original performance experiences for fans to enjoy their favorite artist’s content in a uniquely customized, authentic and personalized way.”

Big Hit says that the tech behind VenewLive was used for two record-breaking BTS’ online concerts last year: “BANG BANG CON The Live” and “MAP OF THE SOUL ON:E” in June and October respectively.

The former drew in a peak concurrent audience of 756,000 while the latter was viewed by a total of 993,000 audience worldwide.

KBYK Live CEO John Lee said, “VenewLive has already live-streamed several large-scale performances last year and provided unique immersive fan concert experiences that can be offered through our cutting-edge technologies, including 6-angle multi-views, 4K resolution, and various interactive features.”

He added, “Our technology will be the basis for enabling fans to feel closer to artists, and help artists express their energy on a digital stage.”

YG Entertainment Chief Operating Officer Sung Jun Choi said, “We are excited about this investment as our company with many artists competitive on a global stage has secured a high-quality platform with leading technologies.”

He added, “We will continue to do our best to provide more interactive experiences and new services to global fans.”

UMG Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and President of Operations Boyd Muir said, “We are delighted to join Big Hit, YG and Kiswe as partners in KBYK as we look to help further evolve the opportunities and live-streaming experiences for UMG artists and their fans today, and into the future.

“This past year has shown that the need for reliable and innovative live-streaming has never been greater. VenewLive offers some of the most creative and memorable opportunities for today’s artists to globalize their art and performances, tailored to enhance the community and fan-experience.”

Kiswe CEO Mike Schabel said, “We have been developing video streaming and fan engagement technology since 2013 and are excited to use that digital technology to extend beyond the boundaries of a stadium to help artists perform to their global fans, and for those fans to feel like they are part of the concert. Having supported truly live pay per view concerts with some of the biggest artists in the world, we strive to deliver incredible experiences for every fan.”

Big Hit Global CEO Lenzo Yoon said, “Big Hit’s attempts to maximize fan experience are not limited to entertainment, but also implementing various technologies. KBYK is also part of this effort.”

He added, “Our dream and goal is to provide the most advanced technology currently available so that fans can experience the artist’s content in the best way possible under any circumstances. We will continue to study how new technologies and attempts in various fields can have a positive impact on strengthening our fan experience and actively introduce them.”Music Business Worldwide