K-pop’s world domination seems to get closer by the day. Just months after the folks at Big Hit Entertainment celebrated their star group BTS’ chart-topping success with album Map of the Soul: 7 — which became the South Korean icons’ fourth consecutive LP to go Number One in the U.S. — the Big Hit team is raising glasses to a different measure of success. On Monday, the label-and-management company became the biggest shareholder in fellow South Korean company Pledis Entertainment, home to influential boybands Nu’est and Seventeen.
While Pledis will retain its independent status as a label, Big Hit, which is expected to use its wealth of assets to help the company grow, plans on putting serious effort into Pledis’ overseas expansion. Seventeen, which headlined shows at Berlin’s Mercedes-Benz Arena and London’s SSE Arena Wembley in early March, has a YouTube channel that boasts nearly five million subscribers. The Nu’est Instagram, meanwhile, has more than a million followers, and band leader JR’s personal account has more than a million on its own. While both groups have yet focus intently on marketing initiatives in America, they did already perform at L.A.’s KCON at the 20,000-capacity Staples Center last summer.
“I am thrilled to be joining forces with Big Hit, a company that’s spearheading the Korean entertainment industry,” Pledis’ CEO Han Sung Soo said in a statement. “This will mark an opportunity for growth for both the label’s artists and entire staff members. We will do our best to give back the ardent love fans have shown us with quality content and greater success for the artists.”
This news follows Big Hit’s 2019 acquisitions of label Source Music and game developer Superb Corp., which created Yumi’s Cells — a music-driven, mobile experience that recently became the top game on South Korea’s app store. The latter acquisition suggests that, much like record labels in America, Big Hit sees the value in further connecting the music and gaming industries. The company doesn’t seem to be done with its fearsome growth phase, and Big Hit’s new degree of control over another K-pop powerhouse gives it the star-studded roster of a major U.S. label as well.