Bang Si Hyuk Reiterates The Slowdown Of K-pop's Growth At Kwanghun Forum

Bang Si Hyuk Reiterates The Slowdown Of K-pop’s Growth At Kwanghun Forum

“…if you don’t see it as a crisis, you shouldn’t run a business.”

Recently, HYBE’s founder and chairman, Bang Si Hyuk, attended a debate forum hosted by the Kwang Hun Clubwhere he discussed everything from HYBE’s attempt to acquire SM Entertainment to BTS’s enlistment to even the future of K-Pop.

Earlier this month, Bang did an interview with CNN where he stated that the growth of K-Pop as a music industry is showing a slowdown globally. Calling it one of his primary concerns, the HYBE chairman spoke with certainty that the “fizzling out” of K-Pop in the global market is very clear if you look at the “export indicators and streaming growth.”

Following this interview, K-Pop fans showed vehement disagreement with Bang’s statement. They accused him of manipulating the public perception of the industry to cover up the effects of BTS’s absence on his company.

Fans React to HYBE’s Bang Si Hyuk Saying K-Pop Is “Showing The Slowdown”

But Bang reiterated the same in his keynote speech at the Kwanghun Forum. He mentioned that the sales of the top four entertainment companies based in Korea account for only 2% of the global market. In comparison, major US labels like Universal, Sonyand Warner Brothers each have a market share of 15-30%. The numbers he cited match the estimates provided by a recent report on the global music market, which showed Universal’s share in global sales stands at 31.9%, followed by Sony’s 21.9% and Warner Brothers at 16.3%.

Transcription of Bang’s keynote speech at the forum | MOVES

During a Q&A session, when Bang was asked about the future of K-Pop, he frankly answered that anybody in the business could clearly see the slowdown.

Regarding the K-pop crisis, the slowdown is clear, and if you don’t see it as a crisis, you shouldn’t run a business. In Southeast Asian countries, there is a clear negative growth.

—Bang Si Hyuk

He also boldly stated that BTS’s absence as a group from the industry is one of the biggest reasons for this slowdown. BTS’s massive success has created a trickle effect in K-Pop, without which its market becomes very restricted. This issue, according to Bang, will not be salvageable even when the group makes a return.

The first and biggest reason is the absence of BTS. There is a big trickle-down effect because of BTS, but if you subtract that, the market becomes very narrow. So, if you ask, ‘Will it be resolved if BTS returns tomorrow?’ I would have to say that I disagree.

—Bang Si Hyuk

In Bang’s strategy, the problem will be solved only when the industry produces more superstars, requiring complicated efforts and increased production.

Complex attempts are required so that many superstars can emerge, and we need economies of scale for promotions with presence.

—Bang Si Hyuk

Lastly, Bang stated that in order to ensure that K-Pop’s growth can reach a sustainable level in the global market, the “K” tag needs to be diluted and expanded slowly. The identity of K-Pop should not be restricted to a genre. Technically speaking, K-Pop music is just pop music genre-wise, but to Bang, it becomes K-Pop because of the distinctive culture visible across everything else.