Hybe Sets Record as First K-pop Agency to Exceed 2 Trillion Won in Annual Sales

SEOUL—Hybe, a prominent South Korean entertainment company, announced on Monday that it has become the first K-pop agency to surpass 2 trillion won ($1.5 billion) in annual sales for the year 2023. This landmark achievement was reached despite the hiatus of group projects by BTS, one of its leading acts, due to the members' mandatory military service.

According to Yonhap News Agency, Hybe's revenue for the year amounted to approximately 2.178 trillion won, marking a 22.6 percent increase from the previous year. The company also reported significant growth in operating profit, which surged 24.9 percent to a record 295.8 billion won, and a net profit of 186.6 billion won, up 288.5 percent from the year before.

The increase in revenue was attributed to strong album and concert sales from major artists under Hybe, including Seventeen, Tomorrow X Together, NewJeans, Enhypen, and the solo endeavors of BTS members. Specifically, revenue from direct artist involvement jumped 51.4 percent to 1.4715 trillion won, while revenue from indirect artist involvement saw a decrease of 12.1 percent to 706.6 billion won.

The company's music labels experienced a notable boost in album sales, totaling 970.5 billion won last year—a 75.8 percent increase from 2022. Concert revenue also grew by 39.1 percent to 359.1 billion won, as live event markets began to recover from the impacts of COVID-19. However, merchandising and licensing, along with content sales, experienced declines of 17.7 percent and 15.1 percent, respectively.

Hybe's artists dominated the Circle Chart's annual album sales chart for 2023, with Seventeen leading the pack with 15.94 million copies sold. Other artists like Tomorrow X Together, NewJeans, and Enhypen also featured prominently on the chart, alongside BTS members Jungkook and V who had significant solo sales.

The absence of BTS group activities did not hinder the individual successes of members Jimin and Jungkook, who both debuted at No. 1 on the U.S. Billboard's Hot 100 main singles chart. Tomorrow X Together and NewJeans achieved top positions on the Billboard 200 albums chart, contributing to a near doubling of combined album sales by Hybe artists from 22.2 million copies to 43.6 million copies last year.

Hybe also highlighted the expansion of its concert activities, with the number of artists holding concerts growing from four to seven teams and the total number of concerts increasing from 78 to 125. Noteworthy tours included BTS Suga's sold-out solo concert tour, Seventeen's "Follow" tour, and the first North American stadium and Japanese dome tours for Tomorrow X Together and Enhypen, among others.

During a conference call discussing the earnings, Hybe utilized artificial intelligence audio technology developed by its subsidiary, Supertone, to engage participants. This technology, which involves transforming written text into spoken audio using CEO Park Ji-won's voice, underscored the company's commitment to innovation and its vision for the future.

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