SM Entertainment founder Lee Soo-man on K-pop future, running business

It truly is been much more than 3 a long time considering the fact that Soo-guy Lee launched SM Enjoyment, a person of South Korea’s tunes companies known for bringing K-pop to the world.

The enjoyment firm, originally launched as SM Studio in 1989, became one of the 1st to kickstart the international Hallyu wave — far better known as the Korean wave.

But Lee’s new music was not always centered off Korean pop music.

“I became a singer when I was 19. Whilst I was well known, I realized that the viewers was truly quiet when I sang for the reason that I sang people tunes,” he explained to CNBC’s Chery Kang in an job interview for The CNBC Discussion.

SM Entertainment’s Soo-male Lee (fourth from the right) posing with K-pop supergroup SuperM.

Gabriel Olsen | Getty Pictures Entertainment | Getty Visuals

“But when overseas bands appear to [South Korea to] carry out, they fully took around the phase and lovers went wild. When I went to test out the live performance, it appeared like the lovers were much more enthusiastic than in mine,” claimed Lee, who is founding chairman of the firm.

A vision for K-pop is born

Lee stated that’s when he began to imagine about taking South Korea’s pop tunes to the planet.

“As I examined in the U.S., I learned a great deal and imagined it would be good to encourage Korean music and singers abroad. That’s the start [of SM Entertainment].”

In excess of the a long time, the 70-12 months-outdated made a procedure he calls “culture technologies” — through which he recruited and nurtured talent in a systematic way of casting, instruction, generating, and administration.

The procedure is guiding the song creation of SM Entertainment’s K-pop best bands — such as Tremendous Junior, Girls’ Technology and Purple Velvet. 

“There is a composed ‘culture technology’ manual someplace in my business,” he mentioned, detailing that it brings together both of those society and technological know-how in a “logically formulized” way.

“The guide will enable staff to discover and transfer ‘know-how’ out of it. Due to the fact I’m an engineer, it is to be recognized by logic. It lays out formulation,” Lee explained, sharing that he has a Master’s diploma in computer engineering.

“So, I can say that I am an engineer instead than an artiste.”

We need to be at that world class amount, and we are focusing on what’s lacking and what kind of distinctions we can make…

Soo-man Lee

Founder, SM Amusement

Even as SM Entertainment’s audio proceeds to go worldwide, Lee suggests it is really critical to frequently innovate and continue to be ahead of the competitors in the tunes field.

“We have to have to be at that earth class degree, and we are concentrating on what is actually missing and what variety of distinctions we can make” from other genres of new music,” he informed CNBC.

Lee operates with producers and songwriters from the U.K. and U.S. on accompaniments, keep track of tracks, kick drum and bass, which he adapts to South Korean and Asian society.

As for the importance of China’s impact in the K-pop sector, Lee admits that revenue will have a “potent influence,” but reported he stays self-assured creative imagination that comes from creating will have “infinite value.”

SM Entertainment has represented K-pop artists like boy band Super Junior.

Chung Sung-jun | Getty Images Leisure | Getty Images

The issue of mental wellness is some thing that continues to be a focus for his organization, Lee claims.

“‘Be humble, be form and be the love’ is what we teach our talents and people in SM … Items are a great deal far better now and world wide administration corporations are attempting to understand about it.”

Lee also stated his corporation is “connecting them to counselors and medical practitioners so that they can get enable whenever. We may possibly not have the similar economies of scale like CNBC, but we realized these matters are really significant.”

Long term of K-pop

As for the long run of K-pop, “I feel the metaverse that all people is chatting about these times is the future,” Lee says.

SM Leisure established a metaverse earth called SM Lifestyle Universe, and introduced its first metaverse female band, Aespa in 2020. The group is produced up of four true-daily life associates – Karina, Winter, Ning Ning, and Giselle – and their corresponding virtual counterparts.

SM Leisure proven a metaverse entire world termed SM Culture Universe, and released its initially metaverse woman band, Aespa in 2020.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Images Enjoyment | Getty Images

“SM Amusement is developing ‘Play-2-Create’… men and women can find out their inventive aspect and build in the metaverse. They will comprehend, ‘Oh, I can develop. I can make music. I can build dance moves. I can make dresses. I can fashion artists.'”

To recognize the strategy of “Engage in-2-Develop,” the company partnered with metaverse corporations like The Sandbox previously this yr.

Players can make NFTs and game titles surrounding “K-written content” in SMTOWN LAND, a virtual land in The Sandbox beneath SM Amusement. NFTs are non-fungible tokens which are one of a kind electronic property, like artwork and sports activities investing playing cards, that are saved making use of blockchain technological know-how.

Lee thinks that any place can build one thing as profitable as K-pop, but the metaverse will be key.

“You are not able to develop a genre by copying K-pop. All people will watch it as K-pop. Now, you need to have to show it in the metaverse.”

With no seeking at on your own in the mirror, you have no concept what you would seem like when dancing, even if you danced seriously hard…

Soo-guy Lee

Founder, SM Amusement

“I imagine we just require to let the followers turn out to be producers and consumers at the exact time. Let them create… Young men and women will have the large fulfillment of generation and will conclude up building substantial amounts of mental home and content.”

For those aspiring to grow to be K-pop artists some day, Lee has this piece of guidance: “Self-evaluation is pretty significant.”

“Without seeking at on your own in the mirror, you have no thought what you’d appear like when dancing, even if you danced genuinely tricky … It is when you can see and truly feel what you don’t do effectively that you discover.”

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