On August 13, Big Hit Entertainment held its bi-annual corporate briefing event over livestream via Big Hit Labels’ Youtube channel. Among many topics discussed, the company’s Artist Indirect-Involvement business model and its success shone light on the company’s strong ability to carve out new avenues in their ever-growing business strategies.
Big Hit Entertainment’s Global CEO Lenzo Seokjun Yoon travelled alongside BTS during the group’s extensive world tour and accompanied them on many overseas schedules. “When the artists are directly involved in more activities and projects, their health and quality of the content are bound to be compromised.” Yoon shared during the briefing. “Such an environment is not suitable for artists or the company.”
With nearly 80% of the company’s profits derived from advertisement and album sales driven via direct artist activities, Big Hit strived to alleviate the physical burden on its artists and created the Artist Indirect-Involvement structure.
Led by Big Hit IP, new spin-off content was created based off of various different activities that artists have done to create new, organic content. By using existing artists IPs (music, photos, music videos, etc.), Big Hit IP was able to develop secondary IPs such as characters and music-based product lines to continue generating profit without the artists’ direct involvement. All while providing the fans with all-new, top-tier experiences.
The newest edition to this business strategy was the release of TinyTAN, chibi-style alter egos of each of the BTS members. The characters were briefly introduced in the previous corporate briefing and teaser clips were aired during BTS’ “BANGBANGCON: The Live” virtual concert. According to Big Hit IP’s General Manager Suk Rhee Seung, the characters can ”enter the real world through a magic door to visit those in need of healing and encouragement.” In the characters’ “debut” video, they helped a woman working part-time in a coffee shop to earn money to become a professional pianist. TinyTAN also released its own lifestyle product line and will collaborate with many global brands, including the recently announced collaboration with fabric softener brand, Downy.
Graphic Lyrics Novels
Back in June, Big Hit released BTS “GRAPHIC LYRICS” series on the multifaceted platform, Weverse.”GRAPHIC LYRICS” are a five-volume books that expresses the lyrics of BTS’ “Butterfly,” “Run,” “House of Cards,” “Save Me,” and “You Never Walk Alone” in illustration form. The volumes were published simultaneously in Korea, North America, and Japan and could be purchased individually or as an entire box set. After one week, the series ranked in the top 10 weekly bestseller list on Korea’s Kyobobooks for both online and office sales. Through the “Graphic Lyrics” fans are able to delve deep into some of BTS’ hit songs and experience them again in a new light.
Of course, another key factor of the Artist Indirect Involvement business strategy is the release of official merchandise in tandem with live concerts and events. Rhee explains,. “[The products] are created so that the concert-goers can keep their exciting memories captured within the product. To some, it may seem like just a T-shirt, but for those who wholly enjoyed the concert, it will be a treasured souvenir and symbol that embodies the memories of that special time and place.” This type of consumer behavior even surpassed expectations with the high merchandise sales from BTS’ virtual live concert, “BANGBAGN CON: The Live.” According to beNX President, Seo Wooseok, “756,000 tuned in at the same time from 107 regions and 746,000 official merchandise items were sold.”
With the Artist Indirect-Involvement business strategy, Big Hit and its subsidiaries are given unlimited IP potential to deliver new and engaging content to fans, all while alleviating potential burdens on the artists’ themselves. The level of customer consumption is impressive, and is arguably the key drivers of Big Hit’s content branding strategy. As stated in the briefing by DJ Kim, “These are brands created and developed by the artists and company, but it was the customers who consume these brands who built up their value.” As the company continues to move forward with their plans to go public on South Korea’s KOSPI, we will continue to look forward to the company’s forthcoming product releases.