SM Amusement founder Lee Soo-guy on K-pop long term, running business enterprise

It truly is been much more than 3 many years given that Soo-guy Lee founded SM Entertainment, one of South Korea’s audio businesses known for bringing K-pop to the world.

The leisure corporation, originally founded as SM Studio in 1989, became one particular of the initially to kickstart the world wide Hallyu wave — much better acknowledged as the Korean wave.

But Lee’s tunes was not generally dependent off Korean pop tunes.

“I became a singer when I was 19. Even though I was well known, I recognized that the viewers was genuinely peaceful when I sang for the reason that I sang folks music,” he instructed CNBC’s Chery Kang in an job interview for The CNBC Dialogue.

SM Entertainment’s Soo-male Lee (fourth from the ideal) posing with K-pop supergroup SuperM.

Gabriel Olsen | Getty Images Amusement | Getty Photographs

“But when overseas bands arrive to [South Korea to] execute, they absolutely took above the phase and admirers went wild. When I went to test out the live performance, it appeared like the supporters ended up a lot more enthusiastic than in mine,” mentioned Lee, who is founding chairman of the organization.

A vision for K-pop is born

Lee said that’s when he began to assume about having South Korea’s pop audio to the environment.

“As I examined in the U.S., I uncovered a large amount and imagined it would be awesome to market Korean tunes and singers abroad. That’s the start off [of SM Entertainment].”

In excess of the several years, the 70-calendar year-outdated made a procedure he calls “society technological know-how” — through which he recruited and nurtured expertise in a systematic way of casting, instruction, creating, and management.

The procedure is powering the song generation of SM Entertainment’s K-pop prime bands — these kinds of as Tremendous Junior, Girls’ Technology and Crimson Velvet. 

SM Leisure has represented K-pop artists like boy band Tremendous Junior.

Chung Sung-jun | Getty Illustrations or photos Entertainment | Getty Pictures

“There is a published ‘culture technology’ handbook somewhere in my office,” he claimed, detailing that it brings together each tradition and technologies in a “logically formulized” way.

“The manual will allow for employees to find out and transfer ‘know-how’ out of it. Because I’m an engineer, it is to be understood by logic. It lays out formulas,” Lee mentioned, sharing that he has a Master’s degree in laptop or computer engineering.

“So, I can say that I am an engineer somewhat than an artiste.”

We will need to be at that world class stage, and we are concentrating on what’s missing and what variety of distinctions we can make…

Soo-person Lee

Founder, SM Amusement

Even as SM Entertainment’s music proceeds to go global, Lee states it can be significant to frequently innovate and remain in advance of the competition in the new music business.

“We have to have to be at that earth class stage, and we are focusing on what is missing and what sort of distinctions we can make” from other genres of tunes,” he advised CNBC.

Lee performs with producers and songwriters from the U.K. and U.S. on accompaniments, track tunes, kick drum and bass, which he adapts to South Korean and Asian culture.

As for the significance of China’s impact in the K-pop field, Lee admits that income will have a “effective impact,” but claimed he stays self-confident creativity that arrives from generating will have “infinite price.”

The concern of mental wellness is some thing that remains a focus for his firm, Lee suggests.

“‘Be humble, be form and be the love’ is what we train our abilities and people today in SM … Things are a whole lot improved now and world-wide administration providers are making an attempt to study about it.”

Lee also explained his organization is “connecting them to counselors and health professionals so that they can get assist at any time. We may well not have the exact same economies of scale like CNBC, but we uncovered these points are really critical.”

Potential of K-pop

As for the long term of K-pop, “I assume the metaverse that everybody is talking about these days is the future,” Lee claims.

SM Entertainment proven a metaverse planet called SM Culture Universe, and launched its first metaverse woman band, Aespa in 2020. The group is made up of four genuine-everyday living associates – Karina, Wintertime, Ning Ning, and Giselle – and their corresponding virtual counterparts.

SM Enjoyment founded a metaverse globe called SM Society Universe, and released its initial metaverse female band, Aespa in 2020.

Alexi Rosenfeld | Getty Visuals Enjoyment | Getty Photographs

“SM Entertainment is building ‘Play-2-Create’… folks can find their imaginative aspect and develop in the metaverse. They will understand, ‘Oh, I can create. I can make music. I can generate dance moves. I can make outfits. I can model artists.'”

To know the idea of “Engage in-2-Build,” the corporation partnered with metaverse providers like The Sandbox previously this yr.

Players can produce NFTs and game titles bordering “K-content” in SMTOWN LAND, a digital land in The Sandbox underneath SM Enjoyment. NFTs are non-fungible tokens which are unique electronic belongings, like artwork and sports buying and selling cards, that are saved using blockchain technological innovation.

Lee believes that any place can build a little something as productive as K-pop, but the metaverse will be critical.

“You can not produce a genre by copying K-pop. Every person will check out it as K-pop. Now, you have to have to clearly show it in the metaverse.”

With out on the lookout at you in the mirror, you have no strategy what you’d search like when dancing, even if you danced really hard…

Soo-gentleman Lee

Founder, SM Leisure

“I think we just need to allow the enthusiasts turn into producers and shoppers at the same time. Let them create… Young men and women will have the large satisfaction of development and will end up generating enormous amounts of mental house and written content.”

For all those aspiring to grow to be K-pop artists some day, Lee has this piece of advice: “Self-evaluation is incredibly important.”

“Without on the lookout at yourself in the mirror, you have no idea what you would appear like when dancing, even if you danced truly difficult … It is when you can see and feel what you never do perfectly that you study.”

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