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Pop powerhouses Big Hit, YG, Universal Music team up for streaming platform

All News 11:04 February 10, 2021

SEOUL, Feb. 10 (Yonhap) -- K-pop giants Big Hit Entertainment and YG Entertainment as well as global music powerhouse Universal Music Group have inked a partnership to nurture a streaming platform aimed at helping artists go global, the companies said Wednesday.

Big Hit, the agency behind global sensation BTS, said YG and Universal have agreed to invest together in KBYK Live -- a joint venture established by Big Hit and U.S. streaming service provider Kiswe.

With the deal, the three companies plan to showcase their artists and a range of musicians on VenewLive, a streaming platform ran by KBYK Live, to help them reach a global audience, they said.

The move is expected to strengthen their artist portfolios, which include A-list K-pop acts like BTS, BLACKPINK, Big Bang, Seventeen and AKMU. Universal Music, meanwhile, manages several labels under its wing, such as Interscope Records, Capitol Music and Republic Records, which represent pop stars Lady Gaga, Billie Eilish, Taylor Swift and Maroon 5.

The deal is the latest in ongoing efforts for agencies and labels to bolster their platforms to reach more listeners. In May, Big Hit signed a deal with Kiswe and has collaborated for digital events like BTS' successful online concert "BANGBANGCON The Live." In September, the two companies launched the joint venture KBYK Live and platform VenewLive.

This image, provided by Big Hit Entertainment on June 14, 2020, shows a screenshot from the online BTS concert "BANGBANGCON: The Live." A multi-view feature was available for fans to enjoy a more lively concert experience. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The livestreaming platform provided 4K/HD-quality streaming for fans watching concerts from home as well as new features like multi-view streaming and live chatting. KBYK Live said it plans to expand the features to merchandising and enhanced chatting for a more customized viewing experience.

"VenewLive has already live-streamed several large-scale performances last year and provided unique immersive fan concert experiences that can be offered through our cutting-edge technologies, including 6-angle multi-views, 4K resolution, and various interactive features," said KBYK Live CEO John Lee, adding "Our technology will be the basis for enabling fans to feel closer to artists, and help artists express their energy on a digital stage."

"We are delighted to join Big Hit, YG and Kiswe as partners in KBYK as we look to help further evolve the opportunities and live streaming experiences for UMG artists and their fans today, and into the future," said Boyd Muir, Universal Music Group vice president, chief financial officer and president of operations. "This past year has shown that the need for reliable and innovative live-streaming has never been greater. VenewLive offers some of the most creative and memorable opportunities for today's artists to globalize their art and performances, tailored to enhance the community and fan-experience."

This image, provided by Big Hit Entertainment on Feb. 10, 2021, shows the logo for VenewLive, a livestreaming platform powered by KBYK Live, a joint venture between Big Hit and U.S. streaming startup Kiswe. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE)(Yonhap)


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