It has been greater than 3 a long time since Soo-man Lee based SM Leisure, one in every of South Korea’s music companies identified for bringing Ok-pop to the world.
The leisure firm, initially based as SM Studio in 1989, turned one of many first to kickstart the worldwide Hallyu wave — higher generally known as the Korean wave.
However Lee’s music was not at all times based mostly off Korean pop music.
“I turned a singer after I was 19. Though I used to be well-known, I spotted that the viewers was actually quiet after I sang as a result of I sang people songs,” he informed CNBC’s Chery Kang in an interview for The CNBC Dialog.
“However when international bands come to [South Korea to] carry out, they fully took over the stage and followers went wild. After I went to take a look at the live performance, it appeared just like the followers have been extra enthusiastic than in mine,” stated Lee, who’s founding chairman of the corporate.
A imaginative and prescient for Ok-pop is born
Lee stated that is when he started to consider taking South Korea’s pop music to the world.
“As I studied within the U.S., I discovered quite a bit and thought it might be good to advertise Korean songs and singers abroad. That is the beginning [of SM Entertainment].”
Through the years, the 70-year-old developed a system he calls “tradition expertise” — by way of which he recruited and nurtured expertise in a scientific approach of casting, coaching, producing, and administration.
The system is behind the track manufacturing of SM Leisure’s Ok-pop high bands — similar to Tremendous Junior, Women’ Era and Pink Velvet.
“There’s a written ‘tradition expertise’ handbook someplace in my workplace,” he stated, explaining that it combines each tradition and expertise in a “logically formulized” approach.
“The handbook will enable staff to study and switch ‘know-how’ out of it. As a result of I am an engineer, it’s to be understood by logic. It lays out formulation,” Lee stated, sharing that he has a Grasp’s diploma in pc engineering.
“So, I can say that I’m an engineer moderately than an artiste.”
At the same time as SM Leisure’s music continues to go world, Lee says it is essential to repeatedly innovate and keep forward of the competitors within the music trade.
“We must be at that world class stage, and we’re specializing in what’s lacking and what sort of distinctions we will make” from different genres of music,” he informed CNBC.
Lee works with producers and songwriters from the U.Ok. and U.S. on accompaniments, observe songs, kick drum and bass, which he adapts to South Korean and Asian tradition.
As for the importance of China’s affect within the Ok-pop trade, Lee admits that cash can have a “highly effective affect,” however stated he stays assured creativity that comes from producing can have “infinite worth.”
The difficulty of psychological well being is one thing that continues to be a spotlight for his firm, Lee says.
“‘Be humble, be form and be the love’ is what we train our abilities and folks in SM … Issues are quite a bit higher now and world administration firms try to find out about it.”
Lee additionally stated his firm is “connecting them to counselors and medical doctors in order that they’ll get assist anytime. We might not have the identical economies of scale like CNBC, however we discovered these items are essential.”
Way forward for Ok-pop
As for the way forward for Ok-pop, “I believe the metaverse that everybody is speaking about as of late is the long run,” Lee says.
SM Leisure established a metaverse world referred to as SM Tradition Universe, and launched its first metaverse woman band, Aespa in 2020. The group is made up of 4 real-life members – Karina, Winter, Ning Ning, and Giselle – and their corresponding digital counterparts.
“SM Leisure is constructing ‘Play-2-Create’… folks can uncover their inventive facet and create within the metaverse. They may notice, ‘Oh, I can create. I could make music. I can create dance strikes. I could make garments. I can type artists.'”
To understand the idea of “Play-2-Create,” the corporate partnered with metaverse firms like The Sandbox earlier this 12 months.
Gamers can create NFTs and video games surrounding “Ok-content” in SMTOWN LAND, a digital land in The Sandbox beneath SM Leisure. NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are distinctive digital property, like paintings and sports activities buying and selling playing cards, which might be saved utilizing blockchain expertise.
Lee believes that any nation can create one thing as profitable as Ok-pop, however the metaverse can be key.
“You can not create a style by copying Ok-pop. Everybody will view it as Ok-pop. Now, you want to present it within the metaverse.”
“I believe we simply have to let the followers turn out to be producers and customers on the similar time. Allow them to create… Younger folks can have the massive satisfaction of creation and can find yourself creating large quantities of mental property and content material.”
For these aspiring to turn out to be Ok-pop artists some day, Lee has this piece of recommendation: “Self-assessment is essential.”
“With out your self within the mirror, you haven’t any concept what you’d appear to be when dancing, even for those who danced actually onerous … It’s when you possibly can see and really feel what you do not do effectively that you simply study.”
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