- Big Hit Entertainment develops aggressive business by breaking the one-hit-wonder jinx.
- IOC or MLB, which one would be Bang Si-hyuk’s choice?
BTS (Bangtan Sonyeondan), a seven-member South Korean boy band, is rising as a myth from the legend of the Korean Wave and leading the spread of the Korean Wave worldwide with their huge fandom called ARMY(Adorable Representative M.C for Youth).
In October of last year, Forbes analyzed that BTS produces $4.65 billion in GDP. With its capacity, it achieved more than 0.1% of Korea’s nominal GDP and continues to update the highest number in the history of the Korean entertainment industry.
* Reference: BTS Can’t Save South Korea, Though Its $4.7 Billion GDP Boost Sounds Good ( https://bit.ly/2TTouy6 )
The success of BTS is not only theirs. They are also playing a role in making the activities of various Korean idols and artists freer. As they generate international demand throughout the K-POP genre, it has a positive impact on sales of performances and music. In terms of “soft power”, BTS is the one that has achieved the most outstanding achievement in Korean history. Bangtan (meaning Bulletproof in Korean), which means to stop bullets, is adding its meaning in the Korean Wave.
|▲ Big Hit entertainment is facing ‘fate’ by an unprecedented success, BTS.
■ Behind the wave of great success - It is redefining the meaning of the corporate’s existence.
BTS is an idol group established by Big Hit Entertainment (hereinafter Big Hit), founded in 2005 by the composer Bang Si-hyuk (currently CEO). CEO Bang Si-hyuk established his reputation as a composer at JYP Entertainment and later founded an entertainment as an internal producer. It is characterized by starting in a form that aims for a business identity that goes a different way from JYP, rather than an in-house start-up or sub-label.
This can be seen through his commencement quotes at the graduation ceremony of Seoul National University held on February 26, 2019. “May your happiness be based on common sense. You should not think of happiness as fulfilling a destructive and negative desire that harms the public good and does not improve your life. To do this, you must maintain a constant interest in the world outside you, and have affection and tolerance for yourself and the surroundings. In that interest, you will discover the problems that arise in your life, the elements that hinder your happiness and try to solve them and embody the common sense you think. These efforts will ultimately contribute to a better world. In other words, following your happiness will increase the happiness of the world, and this is also a duty given to our school graduates.”
‘Anger’ exists as a word that encompasses the whole quote. The object of this anger is absurdity and hunger. It was no exaggeration to say that what he, considered one of the elite families in Korea, faced was reflected in the infamous Korean entertainment industry, where innocent people are treated unjustly and irrationally. The full text of the graduation ceremony is in line with the value created by BTS. That is, the quote clearly stated that based on success, he pursues another value outside of the entertainment business.
|▲ Unlike the previous three major companies that started from the bottom of the industry and grew up (which is “bottom-up” growth), Big Hit completed the first and only structure that starts from up and spreads down (which is “up-bottom” growth) in Korea with the success of BTS.
JYP Entertainment (hereinafter JYP) exists as a leading business that has pursued similar values with Big Hit and combined its philosophy and program with corporate management and human resource development. It is one of the players leading the normalization of the entertainment industry, along with SM and YG Entertainments, which are called as the top three planners. The executives of the three companies, as agreed, have eliminated bad habits one by one over a long time through businesses, of which JYP had a strong tendency to make a common sense of respect for personality based on the morality of each member.
Big Hit has also taken a similar path to JYP, but there is room for further study. JYP is a player who has expanded in the form of “bottom-up” growth, so it is slow in many ways. In particular, it could not change the perspective and stubbornness of vested elderly who view the entertainment industry as a lower class. As people in Korea always say, the reality is that they would be polite if a company shows unprecedented results through export like Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motors. When JYP was stuck in these realistic limitations in Korea, Big Hit introduced BTS and aced the billboard. A new breakthrough opened.
■ With great power comes great responsibility.
“With great power comes great responsibility.” - Ben Parker, Spider Man
Just like the story told by the uncle in Spider-Man of Marvel Comics, for Big Hit, there are several goals to be achieved based on global success and business achievement. When looking at the usual external actions of the founders and members, it seems better as if they have been waiting. But it is also true that it is not an easy mission.
The American historical character that seems best suited to project Big Hit at this point might be Frederick Douglass. He became a free man in slavery by himself before the Civil War and lived a life defending the theory of abolition of slavery and natural rights.
Selected as one of the most influential figures in American history by Smithsonian, Frederick Douglass contributed in the form of a letter to his former owner through “North Star,” published in Rochester, New York, the USA on September 8, 1848, the tenth anniversary of the escape of slavery. The overall direction of the letter is similar to what CEO Bang Si-hyuk did at the graduation ceremony at Seoul National University. Even their fateful paths are also similar.
* Reference: Everything You Need To Know About American History – Kenneth C. Davis
|▲ There are times when individual ‘goodness’ is called for a particular destiny that goes beyond following one’s conscience. Big Hit went on the road with its feet.
Previously, JYP’s attempt to enter the United States had to face unfair cynicism and ridicule in Korea because of its unsuccessful business success despite its clear purpose and vision. For those who remember that precedent, BTS is a kind of refresher that can overcome painful memories. Beyond the perception of being proud to be a Korean person, it allows business operators to secure a type of mechanism to press by tapping the toadyism and self-torture ritual that is latent in the Korean people’s consciousness.
Currently, Big Hit is completing an critical strategic step in overcoming the envy and jealousy of its peers and injecting their philosophy into the industry as a whole. In restructuring the business model, there is a strong tendency to deliberately create mutually cooperative cooperation with related industries in all directions. In particular, the definition of a new female-led artist group and its accompanying business model is expected to have another impact on the industry in the future.
■ IOC or MLB, will he take the fate of the first commissioner?
From the Late Period of Joseon to the present, the Korean entertainment industry has gone through numerous accidents and talents and consequently secured the current system and status. In the process, there were indeed many dark stories, even when comparing to other fields. In other words, the shadow reflected in the colorful spotlight was more profound and more mysterious.
Because of this, the workers have been fighting more intensely than anyone else. Even if some betray and some turn black, there has been a transformation called "If there is a high will, there is a follower." In this way, Big Hit, at this point, is a symbol of a particular inflection point in the wheel of history. As the three first-generation major entertainments have been doing so-called “tanking” for a long time, talented people have finally achieved the best success in the United States. The branch that has been reached in this way is expected to be the opportunity for Big Hit to move closer to the path the sports industry has taken in overseas history.
Using the label as the main factor, whether it will play the same role as the IOC or MLB, as well as related industries. This will be a baseline to gauge the future direction of the Korean entertainment industry along with the management performance of a company. The business of the second-generation entertainment represented by Big Hit, germinated from the soil created by the activities of the first-generation entertainments, is now at the point of committing to the next generation.