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Hybe hits record high Q1 turnover

The multi-label firm shows growth despite BTS' absence

By Choi Ji-won

Published : May 2, 2023 - 17:37

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Hybe, the company behind BTS, hit a record high first quarter turnover this year, with the multi-label company's annual album sales amounting to over 9 million copies, the company disclosed on Tuesday.

According to the report, the firm's first quarter sales came to 410.6 billion won ($306.8 million) while operating profits clocked in at 52.5 billion won, up by 44.1 percent and 41.7 percent on-year, respectively.

Hybe mainly attributed its record earnings to the artists' album sales. The impact was more significant for the artists' "direct sales," said the company, which totaled 234.5 billion won in the first quarter, up 53.9 percent on-year.

Hybe is the nation's first multi-label company which kicked off with BTS' label Big Hit Music, and now houses several music labels, including Pledis Entertainment, Source Music and Belift Lab.

The company said its artists recorded 9.11 million albums sales in the first quarter, more than quadruple the amount sold in the same period last year.

Playing a significant role this quarter was Jimin of BTS, who released his first solo album "Face" on March 24.

Jimin's album "Face" sold over 1.45 million units in the first week, a record-breaking figure for a K-pop solo artist.

The album's title song "Like Crazy" took the No. 1 spot on Billboard's Hot 100 main singles chart as the first song by a K-pop soloist to top the chart. The album also notched up to No. 2 on the Billboard 200 main album chart, the highest spot reached by any K-pop solo album.

Tomorrow X Together, another boy band that debuted under Big Hit Music in 2019, also contributed largely to the earnings with its fifth EP "The Name Chapter: Temptation" released in January.

According to the nation's leading album sales tracking platform Circle Chart, TXT's latest album racked up sales of 3.14 million copies in the first quarter, the highest number scored in the first quarter in Circle Chart's history. The album also landed No. 1 on Billboard 200, becoming the fifth K-pop album to top the US album chart.

NewJeans, a five-piece girl group from Hybe launched under label Ador, continued to shake the nation with its new single "OMG." Being crowned a million-seller with debut in July 2022 with debut EP " New Jeans," the rookie act returned this January with "OMG," which renewed the group's sales record to 1.3 million units.

Seventeen of Pledis also contributed significantly with its previous albums. Even without any new releases, the 13-piece logged an album sales of 1.27 million in Q1, presumably from the impact of the group's 2022 world tour and the annual fan meeting in March, according to Hybe's report.

The indirect sales -- not directly participated by artists -- also rose by 32.8 percent to 176.1 million won last quarter. The indirect sales include those resulting from various businesses incorporating intellectual property (IP) of the affiliated artists, such as merchandise and goods and games.

Hybe conducted a conference call on Tuesday following the earnings announcement and stated it will continue to strengthen its profit chain through its multi-label system.

"Hybe will continue supporting the growth of its artists and IP-related businesses," Hybe CEO Park Ji-won said during the call, adding, "we will give our best in providing the best fan experience through the concerts and contents created based on our IPs."

The upturn outcome is especially notable as the company was forecast to be negatively affected by the absence of its frontman group BTS, which went into an indefinite hiatus last June for the members to focus on their individual career and carry out military duties.

Hybe further painted a rosy outlook for its second quarter as well, with artists already returning to the limelight with new releases and tours.

BTS' Suga recently dropped a new solo album "D-Day," with which he is currently touring around the world.

Seventeen is also rewriting K-pop history with its 10th EP "FML," which racked up a record high pre-sales of 4.64 million copies, first day sales of 3.99 million copies and first week sales of 4.55 million copies.

Le Sserafim of Source Music on Monday dropped its first LP, "Unforgiven," while Enhypen of Belift Lab is also set to release its fourth EP on May 22.

KOZ Entertainment, another label under Hybe headed by rapper-producer Zico, is set to unveil a new boy group Boynextdoor on May 30.