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SM Lee Soo Man's Empire, Great Experiment or Reckless Self-confidence?

By Staff Writer | August 21, 2012 05:52 PM EDT


SM Entertainment CEO Lee Soo Man's dream of nation-building has begun. On August 18, SM artists held their 'MUSIC NATION SMTOWN' concert at the Seoul Jamsil Olympic Stadium with over 40,000 fans. There were flags of all different nations being waved in the crowds. This launched the start of a 'virtual nation' where their goal was to use 'SM's music to unite all nations together.'

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This year's "SMTOWN Live World Tour III" in Seoul brought fans from the U.S., Canada and 30 other countries together. Fans from many parts of Europe were also at the concert. Around 4,000 fans bought the global travel package for this concert.

This global package was first put out on the market from SM's travel brand, BT&I and sold out completely. This travel package was also used during the SM ART Exhibition and the "SMTOWN Live" concert.

There were packages such as the premium package ($1,680), Youth package ($229), and Family package ($499) for a total of 7 different package options. The 28 people that did buy the premium package were taken to the Seoul Intercontinental Hotel where they were greeted with full service.

SM's art exhibition was another experiment that ended successfully. This exhibit ended on August 19 and took a whopping $5.6 million dollars to create. Within the 10 days of the event, a total of 30,000 people came to see it.

Although they did not make as much profit as they had wanted, they plan to open this exhibit in Thailand, China, Japan, U.S., Europe and other parts of the world starting next year. KB National Card and VISA as well as Samsung and Hyundai will all be collaborating with SM for this event.

SM, For SM, by SM

When looking at the global packages made by SM, it is reminiscent of Hallyu star Ahn Jae Wook and his way of keeping his fans. Ahn Jae Wook held camps with his fans in order to gain and keep his fans. The 'MUSIC NATION SMTOWN' had fans hold flags from each country and held a parade before the concert. There was even a flag for the SMTOWN Nation.

On this day, fans were given 'passports' in order to enter the performance. These little additions to the 'SMTOWN Nation' made fans more curious about this 'virtual nation'.

SM Entertainment CEO Lee Soo Man knew what the trends were and jumped on the bandwagon faster than the others. He knew that Europe had many K-Pop fans and therefore hired a European producer for SM music.

He also partnered with global companies and left his brand, 'made by SM' on many products, allowing his name and brand to expand worldwide.

Focusing too much on the SM brand rather than the artists? How will this effect SM in the long run?

Recently, it has been seen that SM has been focusing more on marketing their SM brand rather than working on the SM artist's activities.

However, with this continuing, it could become a double-edged sword.

By focusing more towards the brand, they will be able to spread the word of K-Pop and SM globally. Some say that SM's music is like 'copies from a factory' but it is true that SM has helped in making K-Pop more known around the world.

However, with the focus more toward the brand, the artists of SM will have to suffer. Many say that rookie group EXO has been affected by this. EXO debuted in both Korea and China but only received criticism such as "having the general points but nothing special."

Recently, SM has begun to film a drama and also scouted MC Kang Ho Dong to begin their entertainment brand of SM.

As of now, they are continuously growing globally, but could it be that they are too focused on the brand rather than the artists? Sometimes it is better to move towards a bright future rather than what the trend is right now.

Tagged :  SM Entertainment, SMTOWN, Lee Soo Man, virtual nation


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