SEOUL, June 4 (Yonhap) -- In a sign of the growing importance of K-pop fans, major agencies and labels here are launching venues dedicated to them at their corporate sites.
While companies have temporarily operated pop-up stores and exhibitions for K-pop fans, the recent openings of these permanent venues mark a shift in how they view fans for business growth.
Hybe, the company behind BTS, Seventeen and Tomorrow X Together, in May opened Hybe Insight at its new company headquarters in central Seoul.
The 4,700-square meter space spread across two basement floors at Hybe Yongsan is a "music museum" for its artists and fans, according to the company.
The venue decorated in a futuristic concept allows fans to get a peek of behind-the-scenes moments and get to know their favorite artists better through videos and miscellaneous souvenirs from concert tours and activities.
In addition to running on-site guided tours for visitors, the venue also operates pre-recorded audio tours featuring some of Hybe's musicians.
"Hybe Insight is a museum where (visitors) can get to know about Hybe's musical footprint that Hybe, artists and fans made together," the company said upon opening the venue. "It will be a special space for artists and fans to interact through music and expand their musical experiences."
Earlier this week, YG Entertainment -- the K-pop powerhouse that manages BLACKPINK, AKMU and Treasure as well as top-tier actors and actresses, like Kim Hee-ae, Choi Ji-woo and Gang Dong-won -- also opened a fan space near its new company building in western Seoul.
Named the "SameE," the building located across from YG's new headquarters, has events and exhibition venues, a cafe and a souvenir shop for visitors.
YG said the name comes from the notion that artists and fans can simultaneously stay at the same space, adding that the whole project was based on the concept that fans are alter egos of celebrities.
Recalling how fans had waited outside the company's headquarters to see their favorite stars, YG said, "Fans no longer have to bear the heat and cold (outdoors) and (can) enjoy various facilities indoors."
The company said it will use the venue to carry out projects that will help highlight the philosophy that "artists exist thanks to fans, who are alter egos of artists."