Global record labels are speeding up their efforts to find new faces in the Korean music industry.
Universal Music Korea, the Korean arm of the world’s biggest record label Universal Music Group, has recently signed an exclusive contract with the Korean rock band LUAMEL. The five-member male rock band made their debut in 2018. The band’s new song “Path” has made a rare achievement for a rock band, hitting 160,000 views on YouTube two weeks after its release.
A female singer and songwriter msftz, who made her debut early this year, has signed with SONY Music Entertainment Korea. Having majored in composition as an undergraduate student at Sookmyung Women’s University, msftz has everything from the looks to composing and writing skills. SONY Music is signing skilled singer and songwriters such as BOYCOLD and Demian. Warner Music Korea has signed former JYP Entertainment singer Park Ji-min, targeting both domestic and overseas markets at the same time. Park Ji-min will continue to promote under the name Jamie.
Global record labels are finding, training, and managing new faces as well as signing domestic star singers. After signing with R&B singer and songwriter Dean in 2016, Universal Music Korea has supported the debut of female singer SSAY and male duo 1415.
A rapid change in the music industry is behind the current trend, where record labels are transforming from passive distributor to active agency. K-pop is enjoying great popularity in the global market and music is now being promoted through social networking services, such as YouTube and TikTok.
“With the rise of K-pop, global fans of Korean idol groups have started to take interest in Korean music in general, including band music and R&B,” said an official from Universal Music Korea. “We think rookie artists have a shot at winning popularity in the global market if we utilize our network and knowhow as a distributor, such as global platforms.”
Global record labels are aiming to increase their presence in the domestic market using the world’s No. 1 music streaming service Spotify, which is planning to launch its service in Korea soon. For example, msftz is at the top of the “In the K-Indie” playlist on Spotify although she is yet to have many fans in Korea. “We have better chance at targeting both domestic and global markets now so we’re releasing English and Korean lyrics of Korean rookie artists,” said an official from SONY Music Korea.
Universal Music Korea has recently signed another female singer and songwriter, and she plans to make her debut in September. “We’re increasing our talent scouting pool in order to find new faces who have attractive looks and musical talent for the global market,” a company staff said.