CJ E&M, South Korea’s leading entertainment conglomerate, is to launch a joint venture music company with Big Hit Entertainment, the agency behind K-pop sensation BTS. The move appears to be CJ’s most concrete move to own music IP.
“The two companies have agreed to set up a joint venture, but we still have to complete legal steps. All details except for the total budget are subject to change,” CJ’s spokesperson told Variety. According to documents submitted to the Fair Trade Commission, CJ will provide 51% of the $6.25 million (KRW 7 billion) starting capital.
The new company, tentatively named Belief, is intended to discover and train raw talent who will debut as global idol bands.
CJ currently has subsidiary music labels such as AOMG, Jellyfish, Music Works and B2M, which it has secured through acquisition. CJ has star-development platforms and know-how, but little IP to call its own.
The company provides multiple platforms for independent and amateur artists to make debuts in the mainstream music scene. It operates TV audition programs such as “Superstar K,” two seasons of “Produce 101,” “Boys24,” “Idol School.” The latest is “Produce 48”—a collaboration with Japan’s idol girl band AKB48. Winners of those shows have offered management contracts with labels that are not CJ-owned, or established as temporary bands whose individual members return to their original agencies once the group contracts expire.
Girl band Fromis 9, composed of finalists from 2017’s “Idol School,” is the first and so far only artist that CJ has launched under its own label, Stonemusic Entertainment.
Independent management agency, Big Hit has come into the spotlight with the international success of BTS, which recently hit number one in the Billboard 200 chart.