BTS promoter Hybe smashes K-pop revenue record

K-pop giant Hybe Corp has posted astonishing revenue of $1.5bn for 2023, becoming the first entertainment company in South Korea to hit that milestone.

Hybe, which represents the likes of BTS and Seventeen, saw revenue grow by 22.6% year on year thanks to growth in its album and concert businesses. The record figure comes despite BTS’s hiatus while its members complete their military service.

Concert revenue soared approximately 40% from $192.9m in 2022 to $268.5m in 2023. The number of artists hosting tours increased from four to seven, with the total number of performances surging from 78 to 125 during the same period.

Successful world tours by Suga of BTS and Seventeen, as well as the first North American stadium and Japanese dome tours by Tomorrow X Together and Enhyphen, contributed to the company’s revenue growth. Le Sserafim held their first Asia tour with sold-out shows in Seoul, Japan, and Hong Kong.

Concert revenue in 2023 was almost double that of 2019, the year before restrictions imposed due to the COVID pandemic.

Operating profit of $221.5m represents a year-on-year increase of 24.9%. Hybe’s three-year compound annual growth rate stands at 31.7% for revenue and 24.7% for operating profit.

Hybe artists collectively sold 43.6 million album units in 2023, doubling the figure from the previous year. Solo albums by BTS members demonstrated strong performance with 8.7 million copies globally while Seventeen achieved cumulative album sales of 16 million.

Hybe targeting US growth in 2024

South Korea accounts for 36% of Hybe’s revenue, followed by Japan (31%) and North America (26%). HYBE America’s management affiliate SB Projects signed new artists such as multi-award-winning Puerto Rican singer and songwriter Ozuna and Atlantic Records’ breakout rapper Kaliii, last year. This year, SB Projects expects substantial revenue growth with the release of Ariana Grande’s new album in March.

It was reported in 2023 that Hybe is seeking $380m in new finance as it targets an M&A drive in the Americas.

Last year, Hybe bought out its partner in Belift Lab, the company that backs Enhypen. According to a report from Variety, the company said it has signed an agreement to acquire media and entertainment firm CJ ENM’s 51.5% stake in Belift.

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