The Korea Herald


Virtual K-pop idol group Plave to go global this year

By Hong Yoo

Published : April 23, 2024 - 15:47

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Plave (Vlast) Plave (Vlast)

Plave, the virtual K-pop boy group launched by Vlast, aims to expand its reach overseas this year.

“Our goal for Plave this year is to go global. We are currently in negotiations with an agency abroad for the group’s launch in foreign music markets. We are close to inking the deal,” said Lee Sung-gu, CEO of Vlast, during a press conference in Seoul on Monday.

Vlast is a virtual intellectual property startup that created and manages Plave.

“We are creating a whole new genre called virtual entertainment with Plave. When the group first went on a local TV music show and started to attract fans last year, we became confident that Plave could be loved globally, so we’ve begun preparing for the group's global debut. We still have some technological issues we have to work on such as how they could star on foreign TV shows,” Lee added.

Vlast also secured investments from the K-pop powerhouse Hybe and YG Plus, an album distributor subsidiary of YG Entertainment, to promote the group’s global endeavors.

“We are also hoping to get their insights on promoting a K-pop group abroad. We hope their help can accelerate the process,” said Lee while declining to give details on the size of the investments.

In Korea, Plave has succeeded in capturing the hearts of many listeners with its music and performances.

The group notched the top spot on a local TV music show with the lead track of their second EP in March, becoming the first virtual idol to do so.

Plave even held a fan concert at Olympic Hall in the Olympic Park in Seoul earlier this month.

Lee attributes such success to the human characteristics of the members.

“When creating this IP, we focused on making characters with a warm human touch, even though the technology behind them could be complicated,” Lee said.

The members of Plave, as a result, have humans behind their virtual characters: Yejun, Eunho, Bambi, Noah and Hanmin.

Yejun, Noah and Eunho are in charge of composing and writing the tracks to their songs, and Hanmin and Bambi are in charge of crafting the choreography.

“The human members behind the virtual characters are fully immersed in these characters. Our job is to enhance the technology to better depict the charms of these members through the virtual characters. These talented members are our most valuable assets,” said Lee.

Lee Sung-gu, CEO of Vlast, holds a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Vlast) Lee Sung-gu, CEO of Vlast, holds a press conference in Seoul on Monday. (Vlast)

The mastermind behind the virtual idols says that the company's only concern these days is augmenting their artistic capabilities and repertoire.

“We began as a startup of 20 employees specialized in visual content creation. Now we have around 50 employees to try and improve our expertise in the entertainment sector. The most frequent request that we get from our fans is more Plave-related events that they can enjoy,” said Lee.

Vlast is working on introducing a beta version of visual content that “can only be done by virtual idols" this year to showcase the diverse ways of enjoying virtual idols to a wider range of people, according to Vlast.

“The virtual idol market has big potential. But for it to grow, much more technological development is necessary, not just to be implemented within the companies creating virtual idols but also in other entertainment fields to be able to feature virtual idols across diverse channels,” said Lee.