South Korea’s leading U.S. and Europe management agency, REELS Corporation Inc., said on its website on December 9 that the artist on their partner’s label topped the Billboard chart for the first time since their debut.
They were founded in July 2020 and are only 4 months old, but they have achieved tremendous growth. Their CEO, Sunghyun Yoo, was a famous marketer who was in charge of marketing such as LVMH, Matchesfashion, YOOX, Net A Porter, etc. at an affiliate of the Korean conglomerate Hanwha Group.
They took control of the U.S. market in a short time. According to an interview conducted in Korea, he spent more than a year traveling between the U.S. and Europe for the project and met with many music industry officials.
They say they aim to earn Recording Academy Membership (Grammy) within 2021 and nominate artists with partner labels for the Billboard Music Awards. Most importantly, it depends on how fast REELS Corporation Inc. can dominate the Korean market. They have already acquired PRESSREELS, a famous American magazine, through aggressive M&A. The magazine is registered as a partnership with Google News and already has a lot of traffic.
Billboard No. 1 proving REELS Corporation Inc.’s POWER
It is very important that they are ranked No. 1 on the Billboard chart. Because it took only 4 months for many Korean K-pop artists and entertainment companies to achieve what was difficult even after years of hard work.
How were they possible? According to the explanation on their website, ‘localization strategy’ is the most important factor. Until now, K-pop’s overseas marketing strategy has mostly depended on ‘Youtube’ and ‘twitter’. That is an undeniable fact. However, they suggested a new direction. “Do big pop stars like Ariana Grande, Nicki Minaj, and Katie Perry make as many YouTube videos as Korea does? No, follow the way they do locally.” This is the solution they put forward.
They offer a variety of solutions. They advised that the XXL-like magazine should be used to curate Amazon Music, iTunes, and actively use playlists for Spotify and YouTube. In addition, they advised to actively promote artists through various overseas broadcasts and appear in various interviews and blogs. REELS Corporation Inc. is working with several local managers with artists such as Lady Gaga and Chris Brown. Along with the managers, they actively promote their artists on the radio.
Already, American Music industry is on the side of REELS Corporation inc.
There is something that K-pop entertainment should consider the most important. That is, the American music industry is on the side of REELS Corporation. The reason is very simple. Structural problems and expertise. The Korean music industry system is very unique, One company is exclusively responsible for producing music, marketing, publishing, and so on. It’s a very different system than the U.S.
REELS Corporation is building a perfect position in the middle(About American Music Industry – Korean Music Industry). It’s a perfect company that solves mismatched interests due to industrial differences.
The large entertainment group in the United States, which has already requested anonymity, is pushing REELS Corporation inc. to the fullest extent. According to them, there were several reasons why they chose REELS Corporation inc.
First of all, it was “the most perfect partner condition”. REELS Corporation inc. does not disclose artists and labels that they have marketed to the outside world. Most of the time, a lot of marketing companies go out and talk about the artists they promote to make even a little more money. But they don’t. The reason is to protect the ‘Artist’s brand’. They value artists more than money, and sincerely wish them success in the U.S. So it was the most perfect partner condition.
Next is detail and professionalism. They’re a group of experts. Talk about the current status of artists in Korea with curators, editors, and promoters in the U.S. and consider and execute marketing of albums from 2 to 3 months ago. Their meticulous strategy has surprised the big label and entertainment industry in the U.S., and that’s why they have higher expectations for them.
Will they be able to produce the next BTS and BLACKPINK?
All experts rate their abilities highly, but there is only one problem. It’s a fund. The entertainment industry needs astronomical funds. However, they are just starting companies as startups.
Their expertise is acceptable, but their financial strength is one of the most disturbing factors. Korea is very reluctant to invest in entertainment startups. In that situation, they are doing well, but many American experts have bluntly stated that if they don’t solve the funding problem, they won’t be able to do better.
According to our coverage, they are meeting with various investors to talk about various things, but they have practical difficulties. Due to the large change in sales depending on the artist’s release schedule, most investors from a financial perspective are holding off on investment. However, it is known that the company is engaged in discussions with various Korean investors because of its high attractiveness in terms of strategic investment.
Countless U.S. music industry figures have said that if this problem is solved, they can create the next generation of K-pop world stars in the U.S. market, following BTS and BLACKPINK.
Rather, some expect REELS Corporation Inc. to perform better than YG Entertainment. According to a marketing director for an American music label, REELS Corporation Inc.’s strategy is more localized than the marketing strategy BLACKPINK uses to make inroads into the U.S., suggesting that strategic investment between REELS Corporation Inc. and YG Entertainment might rather be a way for BLACKPINK to surpass BTS in the long run.
However, it did not provide a concrete plan. The director advised that for K-pop, dealing with REELS Corporation Inc. with all possibilities open would be the best way to make a debut in the U.S. market. But, Korea labels also need to be careful of them. Under the structure of the Korean music industry, labels should have strong sovereignty of their own, but it should always be considered that too dependent on REELS Corporation Inc. could be passed on.
Of course, it wouldn’t be a problem if we formed a long-term partnership and continued to work together as labels and agencies, but REELS Corporation Inc. commented that for short-term results, it could rather be “poisoned chalice”
Will REELS Corporation Inc. be ‘Momentary’ or ‘Permanent’?
At the end of this article, the most important thing we need to look at is their sustainability. We should look forward to seeing whether they will be able to take root and succeed in Korea and the Global. Perhaps, the American music industry will expect their success. But, the Korean music industry may not think so.
Because Korea labels would only want to be supplied by their own artists. We’ll have to wait and see how they’ll get over this difficulty.