Music Updates

HYBE America CEO Lenzo Yoon Talks US Launch, Pacts With UMG & Scooter Braun

In May, the company received approval from South Korean regulators to merge its fan-community platform Weverse with the popular V-Live streaming service after acquiring it from Korean tech giant Naver.

The moves all helped HYBE improve its second quarter revenue by nearly 80% to 278.6 billion KRW ($244.1 million), according to HYBE’s earnings report released last month.

In an email interview with Billboard, Yoon says he feels “great responsibility” as the company continues to move and think more globally. He says his new role as CEO of HYBE America is part of a company restructuring in July that led to a “localized CEO system” with hubs in Korea, Japan, and the U.S,. to be led by Yoon and Braun.

Yoon, a 2021 International Power Player, won’t disclose details of larger-scale projects like the stateside boy-band show with Universal (he says a global audition is planned and that “a lot of ideas are being exchanged” with a target timeline to air next year) or if HYBE and the SB Projects roster are planning collaborations. But he is locked in on corporate acceleration.

The growth continues this month with the first HYBE release from new signing fromis_9 under HYBE Labels’ Pledis Entertainment, with international distribution help from UMG-owned Ingrooves. (The act is HYBE’s only active girl group.)

“I try my best to respond promptly to pace and change while maintaining balance to not lose direction and stability,” he says.

In his Billboard interview, Yoon discusses HYBE’s recent partnerships, how his goals align with Braun and how his view on the future of live-streamed concerts.

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