Chief producer

It should come as no surprise that Yang Hyun-Suk—the man who helped launch PSY’s global breakthrough—has helmed some of South Korea’s most successful acts: He’s a former K-pop star himself. The executive started in Seo Taiji and Boys in 1992—a male group credited with shaping Korea’s modern pop scene—but focused on producing after the trio disbanded four years later. For Yang and YG Entertainment, 2013 began with boy band BigBang wrapping its first world tour in Seoul in January, completing an 11-month, 12-country trek after performing for 800,000 fans, according to the company. BigBang leader G-Dragon embarked on an Asian tour in March, visiting eight countries in six months and playing in front of 570,000. PSY followed up global smash “Gangnam Style” with “Gentleman,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard Korea Hot 100, and was one of three YG acts to top the chart in 2013. In November, BigBang launched a Japanese tour that played to 771,000 fans by the time it wrapped in mid-January. “The entertainment industry is not limited to a particular country or community,” Yang says, “but has the ability to be successful in any country. Due in part to PSY’s success, G-Dragon, Taeyang, BigBang, CL and 2NE1 have received huge attention and, thus, expect visible results in 2014.” —Jeff Benjamin