SM artists to join Weverse, visualizing platform collaboration
SM Entertainment artists will be joining the fandom platform, Weverse, of HYBE. This is the result of HYBE’s announcement last month that it would seek platform collaboration with Kakao and SM.
According to the entertainment industry on the 14th, HYBE and SM have agreed to place SM artists on Weverse and are coordinating the specifics related to this decision. HYBE and SM are expected to announce the agreement soon, including the entry timing and method.
SM artists have been active in a fan community called “Gwangya Club.” All artists from 1st generation artist Kangta and BoA to 4th generation artists such as ESPA and NCT are using this platform. With this decision, these artists will move their activity platform from Gwangya Club to Weverse.
The agreement includes plans for distributing SM artists’ albums and goods (planned products) through “Weverse Shop.” Weverse Shop is an e-commerce service operated by Weverse Company. Weverse is also expected to secure the operating rights for paid fan club services of SM artists.
Industry officials view that HYBE, which withdrew from the SM acquisition battle, has gained sufficient opposing power through this collaboration. This is because Weverse now has a way to bring in the powerful fandom of SM artists who are building strong fandoms in Asia. The competitiveness of the fandom platform depends on the quantity and quality of the entry artists. With about ten SM artists with huge fandoms joining Weverse at once, it is expected that its growth will accelerate.
SM’s subsidiary, Dear U, which operates the fandom communication platform, Bubble, is expected to be somewhat affected by this decision. Dear U is a subsidiary of SM, with SM Studios holding 42% of the shares. SM artists have joined Gwangya Club and Bubble to communicate with their fans.
Dear U has become involved in a power struggle with Weverse since its acquisition of NCSOFT’s fandom platform, Universe, at the beginning of the year. Thirty-six artists who entered Universe are currently joining the platform sequentially. While both companies are working to increase the number of entry artists, Weverse’s entry of SM artists all at once is expected to ignite the competition for securing artists. It is expected that SM artists will not stop using Bubble even after joining Weverse.
An industry official said, “There is additional growth potential in terms of the business structure and revenue model of the entertainment industry beyond the existing models such as album sales and concerts through this collaboration.”