Soo-Man Lee
Robert Kenney/AP
Korea (South)

S.M. Entertainment



Founder of Korean music behemoth S.M. Entertainment, Lee has been credited as the man who sparked the K-pop industry. Inspired by MTV to launch Korea’s first babyfaced “idol” boy band, H.O.T., he championed upbeat dance music mixed with stylish visuals that had never existed in the country’s pop scene. The group soared, officially launching the “Korean Wave,” a term initially used to describe Chinese fans’ craze for the genre but now expanded to mean the incorporation of Korean culture worldwide. Successful S.M. acts now include Shinhwa, TXVQ, Girls Gene-
ration and, its latest phenomena, Exo and NCT. Lee was also an early recruiter of Korean-American and Chinese trainees, which has become an important trend for K-pop 
to appeal overseas.


  • S.M. Entertainment
  • S.M. Studio
  • We Hate All Kinds of Violence


  • California State University–Northridge (CA, USA)
  • Seoul National University (Korea)

Variety Honors

  • 2017 Variety500 Honoree
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News from Variety

Post Malone and Swae Lee Drop New Song ‘Sunflower’ From ‘Spider-Man’ Soundtrack

Post Malone and Swae Lee Drop New Song ‘Sunflower’ From ‘Spider-Man’ Soundtrack

Post Malone and Swae Lee dropped a new song on Thursday called “Sunflower,” which apparently includes in its title the name of the forthcoming film soundtrack from which it comes (the song’s full title is “Sunflower (Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse)”). The single re-teams Post and Swae after the two joined forces for “Spoil My Night” from Post’s album “beerbongs & Bentleys.”Sony Pictures Entertainment and Republic Records have teamed up for the first time to create a “contemporary musical companion” for...


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