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Universal Music, YG Invest in Big Hit’s New Live-Streaming Platform

Universal Music Group (UMG) and Okay-pop large YG Leisure have invested an undisclosed sum in an up-and-coming international digital live-streaming platform established by BTS backer Big Hit Leisure and cloud video tech agency Kiswe, the businesses introduced Tuesday.

Main Okay-pop agency and YG rival Big Hit first linked up with New Jersey-headquartered Kiswe in an MOU final Might. In September, they established a three way partnership referred to as KBYK Reside, and collectively launched a live-stream content material platform referred to as VenewLive inside the month.

Now, YG and UMG have joined in with an fairness funding of undisclosed dimension, in search of to work with the pair to additional develop the platform’s attain, enhance purposes of its distinctive multi-view expertise, and showcase their very own artists. The transfer builds on the success of Big Hit’s digital live shows through Kiswe’s expertise in 2020, and can assist the companies discover new methods of engaging paying viewers because the COVID-19 pandemic stretches on, stopping in-person exhibits.

“This previous yr has proven that the necessity for dependable and progressive live-streaming has by no means been better,” mentioned Boyd Muir, UMG’s government vp, chief monetary officer, and president of operations. “We’re delighted to hitch Big Hit, YG and Kiswe as companions in KBYK as we glance to assist additional evolve the alternatives and dwell streaming experiences for UMG artists and their followers in the present day, and into the long run.”

YG Leisure chief working officer Sung Jun Choi mentioned that he was “enthusiastic about this funding… [which] has secured a high-quality platform with main applied sciences” for the corporate’s artists. The transfer will assist YG in its quest to “present extra interactive experiences and new companies to international followers, he added.

The KBYK Reside platform is ready aside by its use of Kiswe’s expertise, which permits followers to decide on between a number of views on an ongoing dwell occasion, beforehand employed by the agency extra extensively in the realm of dwell sports activities. For musical performances, the tech permits followers to customise their viewing of full stage productions with a collection of completely different doable digital camera positions and angles obtainable to toggle between in actual time. It additionally affords premium options that may increase digital ticket costs, corresponding to 4K decision, dwell chat capabilities and packages that simulate the synchronized motion of fan gentle sticks central to the Okay-pop stadium present expertise.

“VenewLive affords a number of the most inventive and memorable alternatives for in the present day’s artists to globalize their artwork and performances, tailor-made to reinforce the group and fan-experience,” defined Muir.

These prospects had been showcased by the record-breaking live shows final yr using Kiswe’s tech placed on by Big Hit’s important breadwinning supergroup, the seven-member sensation BTS. June’s “BANG BANG CON: The Reside” set a Guinness World Report for “most viewers for a music live performance live-stream” by gathering some 756,000 paying viewers from 107 international locations. In October, the band then broke its personal report with its two-day on-line live performance “Map of the Soul ON:E” (pictured above) which introduced in 993,000 viewers from 191 international locations and territories.

“VenewLive already live-streamed a number of large-scale performances final yr and supplied distinctive immersive fan live performance experiences that may be supplied by means of our cutting-edge applied sciences, together with six-angle multi-views, 4K decision, and numerous interactive options,” defined KBYK Reside CEO John Lee. “Our expertise would be the foundation for enabling followers to really feel nearer to artists, and assist artists specific their power on a digital stage.”

The willingness of UMG and YG to get entangled the platform marks a vote of confidence for Big Hit’s tech-forward method to leisure.

“Big Hit’s makes an attempt to maximise the fan expertise usually are not restricted to leisure, but in addition [extend to the implementation] of assorted applied sciences,” mentioned the corporate’s international CEO Lenzo Yoon, explaining that VenewLive is part of that effort. “Our dream and aim is to supply essentially the most superior expertise at present obtainable in order that followers can expertise the artist’s content material in one of the simplest ways doable beneath any circumstances.”

He added: “We are going to proceed to review how new applied sciences… can have a constructive influence on strengthening our fan expertise and actively introduce them.”

Late final month, Big Hit introduced that it could make investments round $63 million into YG subsidiary YG PLUS, and enhance its on-line fan group platform WeVerse by linking up with South Korea’s Google-equivalent, the search engine Naver. The latter is investing $320 million into Big Hit subsidiary beNX, which developed the proprietary WeVerse app.

Cloud-based video agency Kiswe has places of work in New York, London, Hasselt, Seoul and Singapore. It was based by its present chairman Jeong Kim — a Samsung board director, co-owner of Monumental Sports activities and Leisure, and former president of Bell Labs — and its chief architect Wim Sweldens, the previous president of French telecom Alcatel-Lucent Wi-fi and founding father of Alcatel-Lucent Ventures. Kiswe’s present CEO and president Mike Schabel additionally hails from Alcatel-Lucent, the place he was beforehand normal supervisor of the Small Cells enterprise.

“We’ve got been growing video streaming and fan engagement expertise since 2013 and are excited to make use of [it] to [help artists] lengthen past the boundaries of a stadium [and] carry out to their international followers, and for these followers to really feel like they’re a part of the live performance,” Schabel mentioned.

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