BTS’ South Korean label/management agency is reportedly considering an IPO following the group’s immense success.
In a story published in Bloomberg on Sunday (Dec. 17), Big Hit head Bang “Hitman Bang” Si Hyuk said there had been talks with shareholders on an initial public offering, or IPO, but there are no current plans or set timeline.
It was the first time Bang confirmed the company’s desire to go public, though Big Hit has seen immense investments in the past. If the agency were to go public, Bloomberg confirmed that it would be the biggest offering in the K-pop industry in two decades thanks to the influx of revenue based around BTS’ prosperous career.
While still a relatively small agency that currently houses only the widely-popular BTS and the vocal duo Homme, Big Hit generated about $30 million in revenue last year. In comparison, industry leaders SM Entertainment, home to the likes of EXO and Red Velvet, and JYP Entertainment, which houses TWICE and GOT7, made $300 million and $90 million respectively, according to Bloomberg.
Bang launched Big Hit Entertainment in 2005 after helping to found JYP Entertainment in the 1990s. The fledgling company struggled initially but saw moderate success with the pop balladeer groups 8Eight and 2AM in the late 2000s and early 2010s, and began producing dance-oriented acts beginning in 2012, starting with the now-defunct girl group GLAM and BTS in 2013. This year saw a major breakthrough for BTS after years of growing attention, and the septet is now one of the most popular musical acts in the world; the boy band came in at No. 10 on Billboard’s end-of-year Artist chart and has the highest-ever-charting song by a K-pop group on the Hot 100 chart.
Bang also said that he plans to debut another boy band based on what he called a “success formula” through which other K-pop bands could replicate BTS’ break into the American music charts. It is not the first time the Big Hit founder has discussed his hopes for pushing Korean artists further into the stateside market: he also touched on his desire to recreate BTS’ international popularity for other K-pop acts when accepting the Presidential Citation at the Korean Content Awards ceremony earlier this month.
Though the Big Hit founder did not confirm, Bloomberg suggested that Bang was likely referring to attempts to replicate BTS’ success through social media-based popularity. Thanks to frequent interactions on social media platforms, the boy band took home the Top Social Artist this year at the Billboard Music Awards and was the most-talked about artist on Twitter in 2017. With 502 million retweets and likes, BTS dominated the social media platform in 2017. Comparatively, Donald Trump saw 213 million and Justin Bieber 22 million impacts, reports Bloomberg.