It has been greater than 3 many years since Soo-man Lee based SM Leisure, one in every of South Korea’s music businesses 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 often called the Korean wave.
However Lee’s music was not at all times primarily based off Korean pop music.
“I turned a singer once I was 19. Though I used to be well-known, I spotted that the viewers was actually quiet once 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 overseas bands come to [South Korea to] carry out, they utterly took over the stage and followers went wild. Once I went to take a look at the live performance, it appeared just like the followers had 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 lots and thought it could be good to advertise Korean songs and singers abroad. That is the beginning [of SM Entertainment].”
Over time, the 70-year-old developed a system he calls “tradition expertise” — via which he recruited and nurtured expertise in a scientific approach of casting, coaching, producing, and administration.
The system is behind the music manufacturing of SM Leisure’s Ok-pop high bands — comparable to Tremendous Junior, Ladies’ Era and Crimson 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 quite than an artiste.”
Whilst SM Leisure’s music continues to go world, Lee says it is vital to repeatedly innovate and keep forward of the competitors within the music business.
“We should be at that world class degree, and we’re specializing in what’s lacking and how much distinctions we are able to make” from different genres of music,” he informed CNBC.
Lee works with producers and songwriters from the U.Ok. and U.S. on accompaniments, monitor 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 business, Lee admits that cash could have a “highly effective affect,” however stated he stays assured creativity that comes from producing could have “infinite worth.”
The problem of psychological well being is one thing that continues to be a spotlight for his firm, Lee says.
“‘Be humble, be sort and be the love’ is what we train our abilities and other people in SM … Issues are lots higher now and world administration corporations are attempting to study it.”
Lee additionally stated his firm is “connecting them to counselors and docs in order that they’ll get assist anytime. We could not have the identical economies of scale like CNBC, however we discovered these items are crucial.”
As for the way forward for Ok-pop, “I feel the metaverse that everyone is talking about these days is the future,” Lee says.
SM Entertainment established a metaverse world called SM Culture 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’… individuals can uncover their artistic aspect and create within the metaverse. They’ll notice, ‘Oh, I can create. I could make music. I can create dance strikes. I could make garments. I can model artists.'”
To appreciate the idea of “Play-2-Create,” the corporate partnered with metaverse corporations like The Sandbox earlier this yr.
Gamers can create NFTs and video games surrounding “Ok-content” in SMTOWN LAND, a digital land in The Sandbox below SM Leisure. NFTs are non-fungible tokens that are distinctive digital belongings, like paintings and sports activities buying and selling playing cards, which are 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 should present it within the metaverse.”
“I feel we simply have to let the followers turn into producers and customers on the similar time. Allow them to create… Younger individuals could have the large satisfaction of creation and can find yourself creating large quantities of mental property and content material.”
For these aspiring to turn into Ok-pop artists some day, Lee has this piece of recommendation: “Self-assessment is essential.”
“With out taking a look at 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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